It’s been a somewhat bizarre week since Tuesday and apologies for lack of a piece since the Lyon game. Not sulking just away with work then ill.
If the papers are to be believed Liverpool FC the club that is 117 years old is on its last legs. Lose to the Mancs today and all that will be left of Anfield, if you walk past it on Monday morning will be a smouldering pile of rumble! Rafa will be back in Spain and no doubt opening negotiations with Real Madrid. Our wonderful owners will be selling copies of the Big Issue in St Johns Precinct. Steven Gerrard will be preparing for a life of appearing on Strictly Coming Dancing and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Jamie Carragher will be running a pub in Bootle!
There are over reactions and then there are reports about Liverpool Football Club. Perhaps it is just me although I am disappointed at our current run of form (or should that be lack of it) I do not think it justifies some of the nonsense that has been written about us over the past few days.
It is easy to criticise and speculate about what has happened, what might happen and then write us off. Seemingly our situation gives everyone intent on doing just that plenty of opportunity. We’ve had a blow by blow account of what is wrong with Liverpool from Rafa’s tactics, his man management, occasional penchant for a rant right through to minutia such as Tuesday’s substitution of Benayoun for Voronin. This, according to one paper which is highly “respected” on Merseyside (I didn’t buy it), was the time that the Kop turned on him. Yes right! No doubt today he’ll be booed in way that makes Nick Griffin feel like The Beatles in their pomp!
On top of that was article after article about the owners and what the lack Champions League progress will mean for the finances. Ex players have also jumped on the bandwagon. Jermaine Pennant’s recent efforts in managing to get into print and criticise Rafa have been momentous it is a pity he didn’t apply himself in the same way when he was with us!
However, people can say what they want I guess the main thing is to retain a sense of perspective. I’m certainly not going to go to join the vultures circling above Anfield simply because we have lost a few games. Supporting Liverpool is not just about the good times it’s sticking by them, players and manager, when things occasionally go wrong. It is about having patience, riding the storm and hoping they will came out better for it. Criticism is valid and appropriate and at times it can be inappropriate as frustration easily takes hold. However, it doesn’t mean that that we should destroy everything that’s been built up since Rafa came. We are not Spurs or Newcastle who seem to change managers as regularly as their underwear at the slightest sign of things going of the rails. I believe those who seek to judge this club and its fan’s patience by these “knee jerk” standards are, to be perfectly frank, pissing in the wind!
All of this is compounded by the visits of today’s opponents. I can’t recall what has been said but the usual suspects, such as Gary Neville and Fergie, have been hobnobbing away and “treating” the papers to the usual dose of gripping, enlightening and pithy patter. Of course there is the added interest of Michael Owens return to Anfield. Will he be booed or cheered? I hope it is the latter and we manage to rise above the poor standards and lack of appreciation clubs such as West Ham reserve for the return certain ex players. We always seem to however, if Owen scores and does an Adebayor in front of The Kop? I don’t think he will, but if he did he’d probably injure something doing it!
This match is always big however much more has been poured into the mix this time. Rafa’s future, Liverpool’s future, our title chances, Michael Owen, the Cantona eighteenth title issue, beach balls etc etc However, nothing will be decided after today and guess Rafa will be trying to make sure that his players simply concentrate on wining the game and arresting the poor run. That is the most important issue, in fact it is the only issue. The rest just ranges from mindless, irrelevant piffle to something that can wait.
Prediction? There has been a lot mention about our ability to bounce back and get ourselves out of awkward situations. Well this is one and will it be another time when we stick two metaphorical fingers up the vultures? I’ll go with it, 3-1 but whatever the score is I hope the team, and Rafa, knows it retains our support.