If that was going to bother me though, I wouldn’t be writing this so this one’s for the more pragmatic supporters who are well aware that we aren’t what we used to be as a club and as team.
Those all conquering sides of Shankly and Paisley are a thing of the past.
Back then Manchester United used to be jealous of us for being the first team from the north-west to clean up more or less everyone in our path. The shoe’s on the other foot now and has been for the last twenty odd years.
The last piece I wrote here got a fairly scathing reaction from certain people who perhaps don’t realise that football works in a much more complicated way than simply a manager who waves a magic wand – never mind, we all have our opinions.
But, watching an interview with Michael Owen a couple of days ago, shone a bit of light on the differences between the way Liverpool and Man United have managed their players, particularly youngsters behind the scenes.
That’s the most important part – behind the scenes. I’m sure every manager gets his players fired up in the dressing room before a game, or at least tries to do so anyway.
At United though, (and it’s not just on Michael Owen’s word that I’m saying this but other former Red Devils have said the same things more or less) there’s been a pragmatism about handling youngsters – giving them time and nurturing them.
At Liverpool it seems like if you’re a youngster but destined to be a top player from what you’ve shown so far, you’ll be thrust straight in to the limelight.
Brendan Rodgers has come out earlier and admitted that Raheem Sterling’s performances have dropped because he’s burnt out from being played more or less in every game at the beginning of this season.
Owen had the same thing. He’d played an awful lot of games already before he was even 20 – his words not mine.
At the same time, Ryan Giggs ended up playing a lot less during those tender years. The likes of him were eased in to the setup. Same with David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
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At Liverpool we seem to have a sort of desperation about us, ignoring the bigger picture and always trying to grab whatever we can to automatically take us back to the ‘good old days’.
Believe you me, that’d be the bees’ knees if it really did work like that, but it doesn’t.
Right now there are massive amounts of opinions flying about that Brendan Rodgers is the worst mistake Liverpool have made since letting Xabi Alonso go.
The same people probably think Kenny Dalglish should still have been in charge, because he got us to two cup finals. Firstly, a cup run doesn’t show improvement in a team. It’s just a day when the players either turn up or they don’t.
Last season we did, this season not so much.
Secondly, Dalglish was incredibly arrogant managerially and wouldn’t make any changes even when the game was blatantly calling out for one. Has everyone forgotten his tendency to only make a change in the last 10 minutes of the game, while we’re trailing by a goal or stuck in a 1-1 rut?
We need to accept reality. We aren’t what we used to be and the only way we can return to the good days is if we have consistency and then bring the right players in.
They won’t always set the stage on fire immediately on arrival but with time and with the right mentoring, they will.
Remember Lucas Leiva when he first came along? He was as ordinary as a pea. Now he gets injured and we have our head in our hands. It took a few years for it to get to that didn’t it?
I’m even going to go out on a limb here and say possibly get Owen involved in a role like that. He wants to mentor youngsters and he’s got experience at being one coming through the Melwood ranks.
We need to accept the reality that we are mediocre right now while acknowledging at the same time that we don’t want to remain so.
There’s a difference between doing that and thinking ‘we’re Liverpool and we should be winning everything. If it doesn’t happen, sack everyone.’
Currently the team is mid-table and middle everything under Rodgers.
But just because Rodgers remains calm after every game doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with draws and things like that.
Give him some time and at least allow him to set up a platform where the players are familiar with each other and really start gelling as a team.
That was never going to happen in his first season, which by the way, still isn’t over.
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