ANOTHER weekend has come and gone, another defeat by the old enemy. The result on Sunday, whilst not a hammering by United, was still ultimately a defeat. A bad first 45 minutes cost us the match. The last 45 was by no means perfect but it was better. Personally I’d say I was only genuinely impressed with the last 20 minutes.
As a lifelong Red, I hate nothing more than losing to United, even more so than I hate losing to Everton.
Most United fans agree that losing to Liverpool is worse than losing to City – maybe that’s a generation thing. I’m sure with the title on the line between City & United the younger fans and glory hunters in Surrey may disagree, but ask a United player or a lifelong United fan, they’ll agree losing to Liverpool hurts like no other.
With defeat comes anger and today with social media it comes thick and fast. As a lover of Twitter and all things social I had to just look away from my timeline due to sheer hysteria happening on my screen. Even the eternal optimists such as Kristian Walsh of ESPN issuing stark warnings to Brendan Rodgers to learn the big game lessons and learn quickly; something I don’t disagree with. Yet if an Alien came from another planet and looked at Twitter yesterday they would have been forgiven for thinking Liverpool just lost the title.
It’s time for a reality check here. Liverpool FC are a team not only in transition, but a team struggling to find their way again. 3 years of mismanagement from Hicks & Gillett bringing the club to its knees was enough to stint our progress back 5 or 6 years. New owners finding their feet (albeit far too slowly for me), and a new manager trying to get back to the values of the initial vision brought in by Shankly.
Over the last 24 hours I’ve heard comments like ‘Brendan Rodgers is the worst manager ever’. Any fan saying that can’t have watched us under Roy Hodgson. Not only was his football awful to watch, he didn’t get the Liverpool Way. Praising his team after being thrashed by Manchester United was not the smartest move. Indeed even last year under Kenny I saw some of the worst performances I can remember. At times I also saw some brilliant one’s too. To be clear I’m not slating Dalglish, who is and always will be my hero. I’m simply stating fact.
As much as I hate to say it, if you look at the greats in football and make no mistake, Alex Ferguson is a great in the game, he was just one game away from being sacked; a late goal in the FA cup over Forrest giving him a stay of execution. That goal seemed to transform the fortunes for United, consistency their main issue got better, not only did they go on to win the FA Cup that year, they went on the challenge for the title, the following year winning the Cup Winners Cup and then the hard work paid off in 1993, their first League title in 26 years. Since then they’ve been the force in football in both English and for a time, the world (they’re not the European force anymore), but they’re still winning all these years on.
I’m not trying to compare Rodgers to Fergie, but if you look at the Fergie’s career you’ll maybe see a lesson. Not only is football a game of fine margins, it’s something that isn’t always solved by a big name. It requires character, football nous and learning when you get things wrong. Fergie has done that, he’s changed his way of working, formation, coaches and players in order to progress. But he was given time initially and he’s proven himself now. What he does all too well is bring the right balance between superstar players and excellent players. Something we forgot to do at Liverpool, with everyone having to be world class.
Real Madrid proved that model didn’t work in the long term after Beckham joined the famous Galacticos!
As fans we should be upset by Sunday and we’re right to demand more. But demand within what is reasonable. Demand the manager learn, demand more from the players and demand more from the owners. Most of all demand we find a way to win. At the end of this season if they don’t respond and in the summer we don’t invest then judge then if you have faith or not; but for now be patient and give Rodgers time in order to stamp his philosophy on the team.
Mediocrity will and never should be accepted with Liverpool, but it’s a long road back to glory – personally I believe we’re on the right road, ultimately it’s up to Rodgers & FSG to make sure we stay on it.
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