We’ve been here before, and we’ll be here again but I think that now the time has come for us to stop looking back and reminiscing about what has been in the past and start looking forward.
After the away game in Russia last week Liverpool weren’t looking in such a healthy position with a 2 goal margin to overturn at Anfield.
It was perhaps not surprising that many fans and, maybe even less surprising, that many pundits began pulling up memories of European come-backs. The one that stands out, of course, is the 3-1 victory over Olympiakos in 2004 that kick-started Liverpool’s ailing season and was, I believe, the catalyst for a remarkable Euro run which ended with Liverpool as European Champions.
I really can’t blame any fans for wanting to think back fondly to those days and recall what was, in the hopes that some small reminder of that wonderful night might give the lads the boost they need going into Thursday’s home leg.
However, as we’ve found in the past, the weight of history can be too much for some players and history doesn’t weigh any heavier than the Red shirt of Liverpool FC.
Throughout the 90s, many Liverpool players wilted under the pressure of the shirt and the very recent successes that the club had enjoyed.
On in to the 2000s and while we came close on several occasions, we just couldn’t seem to sustain that success, when it appeared to just be around the corner. For whatever reasons, we just couldn’t seem to kick-on after 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed league finishes.
Then the great achievements in the Europa (then the UEFA Cup) and Champions League were never really built upon and opportunities were missed but, as I said, there were many extenuating circumstances which shouldn’t really be a problem under the current owners. That’s a discussion for another day.
So, while I’m not the current manager’s biggest fan, I believe that we’re not helping matters by putting more pressure on the players to pull off another Olympiakos or AC Milan as we did in yesteryear. I’m saying this now, despite having been guilty of it myself in the past (and probably again in the future) but I think it’s necessary if we’re going to pull off another great turnaround.
Sure, we all want that and we all want us to stuff Zenit on Thursday but I believe we need to go into the game without the past clouding our minds and just give all of our support to the players to ensure they can go into the game with clear minds and the full backing of Anfield on a European night.
With 40-odd thousand home fans singing and shouting we can intimidate the Russian side with something they have never experienced before: Anfield on a European night, when the odds are stacked against us. If they can be put on the back foot from the first whistle, we may just stand a chance of putting out one of the strongest sides in the Europa, and send out a message that this Liverpool team really do mean business.