Of course, it’s hard to argue with the fact that it was definitely an improvement on the 1-0 defeat we suffered at the same ground in our last game of last season.
But to argue that a goalless draw at Swansea City is a good result for Liverpool FC sounds a lot like something Roy Hodgson once beamed during his post match press conference following Liverpool’s ‘legendary’ 2:1 victory against the Turkish behemoth from Trabzon in 2010.
In fact, the more I hear the word ‘outstanding’ following another disappointing result (whether goalless draw or toothless defeat), the more I’m beginning to wonder whether Brendan Rodgers is beginning to read from the gospel of Roy Hodgson himself.
Way back in 2010, many of you may remember that the current England manager set about on a campaign to systematically delude Liverpool fans into believing we were a sub-par club, that should be happy to finish in the top 10 and expect nothing more from our season than a good cup run occasionally.
He did this by squandering money on shocking purchases such as Christian Poulsen (who I actually felt sorry for, at the time), Joe Cole and Paul Konchesky. That’s right, Paul Konchesky was once a Liverpool player; I tried to banish that unwholesome fact as well.
Roy followed this up by declaring results – such as the win in Turkey – as ‘legendary’ and ‘historical’. Then he would kowtow to the Scottish wino down the motorway after his best player was on the end of one of his verbal assaults, post-match.
None of this worked, of course because, as a breed, Liverpool fans know the score. And given the absolutely dire results and poor-bordering-on-abysmal results, no amount of pressure from the Southern tabloids just pleading with us to give one of their old boys more time was going to pull the wool over our eyes.
Now, before I get a slaughtering for getting on the manager’s back, I’m not criticizing him or the team, not without grounds at least. I thought we played great at Swansea [and for parts of the Spurs game], just as we did against Young Boys and also the weekend before, v Wigan. However, I refuse to be informed that a goalless draw away at a club that he left for us – as the bigger club – is a good result.
But then, not only against Swansea, a couple of days later, the manager told the cameras – post-match – that we should’ve won, that the players were magnificent, that we were… outstanding. Yes, there’s that bloody irritating word again.
I am also concerned that the pressure of being Liverpool manager and not exactly getting off to the start he might have hoped to is getting to Rodgers and he is now trying to bring our expectations down by constantly bigging the teams’ performances up, regardless of results. It would be refreshing to hear him come out after a game like today and tell the associated press that, yes the performance was good enough but the players really need to begin to take their chances.
But hearing a Liverpool manager say “I’ll never say coming here is two points dropped because it’s a difficult place to come. Our performance level is continually improving. We’re just chipping away at climbing up the league, and we’ll do that.” following a goalless draw away at a team like his former side smacks of attempting to polish a turd.
Of course, any attempts to criticize statements such as these is often met with contempt (from both press and our own fans) so I need to make one thing clear: I am more than happy to give Rodgers time, provided we start to see some definite improvements over the coming months, and see some genuinely impressive signings in January; chasing after former Swansea loanees or Chelsea reserves isn’t good enough and is no longer acceptable.
I will also not sit back and let myself be kidded that our inability to win games has its positives, not every single week – change the record, Brendan. There are times when you’re unlucky and times when you deserve to win but when you’ve already drawn 7 of 14 league games this season and won just three, the manager needs to show a bit of realism too.
As the months draw on, Brendan will come to find that, while Reds are a forgiving bunch and also quite a patient lot, we’re not stupid and our patience isn’t endless. Results must improve, dead-wood must be moved on (not played at left-back, week in, week out!) and the squad must be improved when the money is available.
And in the meantime, please stop informing us all that we were outstanding and please, please… get the idea out of your mind that finishing a whole place higher than Kenny Dalglish last season will be an acceptable achievement.
Liverpool Football Club is a massive, world-renowned institution – please adjust your expectations accordingly, Brendan.
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