After eighteen days without a fixture due to the pre-Christmas freeze, Liverpool resumed where they left off against Newcastle with an ineffective, passionless, inept display against bottom-placed Wolves.
Quite understandably most of the after-match discussions, phone-ins, and column inches centred on the immediate future of the current manager Roy Hodgson, who quite far from upholding the club’s values with a steadying hand, has overseen some truly dreadful performances and an abdication of the old pass and move style , whilst along the way has publicly criticised his players, questioned the support of the fans and delivered some of the most bizarre public utterances in attempting to justify his stewardship.
His reign thus far has been so far removed from what Liverpool supporters have been brought up to expect, that it is almost as if the Anti-Shankly has been brought to bear on them.
As I stated above, every man and his dog has had his say on the manager, so I think it is unnecessary for me to go too deeply into that particular subject.
After seventy-one minutes of last evening’s match the fourth official raised the board to signify that number 3 was to be replaced with number 6. Fabio Aurelio to replace Paul Konchesky.
Sadly, but almost inevitably this change was greeted by a cheer from a sizeable portion of the home support, which must have had a devastating effect on the 29 year-old left back as he made the long trek across from the far touchline.
Now, I am not a huge Paul Konchesky fan, and if I was in charge of selecting Liverpool’s team I would favour Aurelio at left back, but although the lad’s performances have not been great to date, there is no way that they have warranted such a cruel reaction.
Paul Konchesky along with Christian Poulsen is suffering by association with Hodgson. Both were brought in by the manager having played under him previously. Both have decent if unspectacular track records. Both were thrilled to be given the chance to sign for Liverpool Football Club and stated as much when they arrived.
Agreed they have not been consistent in their performances this season. But that also applies to many of the club’s established stars, never more clearly evident than last night against Wolves.
Konchesky has never, as far as I am aware, been guilty of lack of effort. I presume he is training as hard as any other player. He has not shied away from the fact that his form is below par. After the Spurs defeat he stated
“I’ve got to up my game. Where I’ve played before has not been as high a standard as Liverpool, but this is a good pressure. The fans want you to be in the top four because that’s where Liverpool belong. Straight after (Lennon’s winner) I knew that I’d have to hold my hands up, but we also had chances to win the game. I was gutted (with the winner); being the last minute as well it didn’t give us any time to get back into the game. But that’s life, we’ve got to put it behind us, and I’ve got to put it behind myself for the next game.”
Another factor in the fans’ relationship with Paul Konchesky is the reaction to some unsavoury Facebook comments made by the player’s mother, Carol, in which she defended her son, and said words to the effect of ‘the scouse scum do not know what they’re talking about’. Regrettable, certainly. Ill-judged, most definitely. However these comments were made after her son was criticised after the Stoke defeat, at 3am in the morning, and probably in an alcohol induced state.
We can debate all day long the entitlement of a mother to react when her son is being singled out (in her opinion) for a disproportionate share of blame and abuse, but to use it as a rod to beat the son is not something I can condone.
The bottom line for me is that Paul Konchesky was given a chance to sign for the greatest football club in the world. He is fighting for form. He has not personally done anything to warrant booing. He does not pick the team.
More importantly he will, along with Poulsen, be at Liverpool Football Club after Roy Hodgson has left.
Let us not visit the sins of the mother/manager upon the player and whilst he wears the red shirt of LFC we should support him.
(…stands back and waits for the volley….)
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