Monday Oct 6Posted by: James Nelson Comments Off
We go into the second international break of the season on the back of a distinctively average start to our campaign. Three wins, three losses and a draw in the league, with ten goals scored and ten goals conceded. One win and one loss in our Champions League group, and we’ve scraped through to the fourth round of the League Cup.
So not great by any means, but nothing is yet a disaster. We’ve got important players to come back from injury after this round of internationals, whose presence was sorely missed in some of our poorer performances so far. Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen should be nearing a return by our next game, Mamadou Sakho might not be far off, and Glen Johnson should be in better shape after his run-out against West Brom. So provided our players survive this latest venture with their national teams, we should be left with a relatively healthy looking squad.
New players have had two or three months to settle in to their new environment, and have now experienced multiple examples of the sort of games they’ll be facing as Liverpool players; including an away game to the reigning champions, home to a lower league side in a cup tie, and a taste of those esteemed Champions League nights at Anfield.
They now know what the club is about, they’re learning how we work, and importantly they are seeing that mistakes are just as brutally punished here as anywhere else.
We also may be fortunate in that, after the internationals, we come up against QPR. Who, let’s not beat around the bush, we should be beating comfortably given the start they’ve made back in the Premier League. But as a fan, I’m allowed to say that. What I’m looking forward to the most is seeing if the players have learned from their mistakes, and will treat this game like there’s a trophy at stake. Because now’s the time we need to kick on and show what we’re really about. No more ‘We’re in transition,’ no more ‘Players are settling in.’ We’ve had a disappointing start, but I’m willing to give them that if it’s the kick up the backside the team needed to get things right. What we can’t do is let it become a disappointing season, purely on the basis that the £100m+ we spent on players needed time to bed in.
After seven league games we find ourselves in 9th position, which ironically is the position we started the season in due to our standing in the alphabetical table. Obviously there’s a big difference between being on no games played, therefore no points, to seven games played and nine points off the leaders. But at such an early stage, I don’t like to look at the table too much anyway. We all know Chelsea have had a great start, and we all know QPR and Newcastle have been poor. And our form has been the epitome of a mid-table side. But a single more point and an extra goal here and there, and we’d be up in fourth. So the table is only telling us what we already know at the top and bottom, but in between it can be very misleading.
Instead of regrouping in a couple of weeks and dwelling on points already dropped, we have to make a new start and just take what’s happened as a vigorous learning curve in preparation for the real deal. It’s still far too early to talk about where we can or can’t finish in the league, especially considering the slow start many other teams have made as well. Our Champions League group is looking fairly open, and we’re still in the League Cup. Everything is still to play for. So dust yourself off LFC, and go and show us what you’re really capable of.
By James Nelson (@_James_Nelson_)
Sunday Oct 5Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
By David M.
With everyone talking about the movie “One Night in Istanbul” at the moment, I just wanted to stress how important it is for us, as Liverpool FC fans, to think about what significance actually lies underneath that magnificent night in 2005.
That successful night is so similar to what we are experiencing in the Premier League and Champions League now.
On the 25th of May 2005, Liverpool were lining up to face AC Milan in the biggest showcase of club football. What happened in the first 45 minutes bordered on unbearable.
Liverpool were all over the place defensively, offensively and in the middle. To add to this, Milan were completely the opposite. But what happened next, was – and is – exactly the inspiration for this article.
In the second half, although the score was 3-0, Liverpool did not emerge as a beaten team. They did not defend to prevent the football equivalent of a cricket score. They wanted to win.
We all know what happened that night, and the “never say die” attitude worked an absolute dream. “Don’t give up. It’s not the Liverpool way”.
That night we were a team of fighters, all behind our ever-present leader. What I am saying here, is that our current form is not going to last. We still have that same leader. We have all the makings of a great team. Perhaps we miss the goals of Suarez… but only for now. And most of all, we have a great manager.
Last season, Brendan Rodgers, took us to a place that we did not dare dream of in September 2013. So why am I hearing groans and grunts of “Rodgers Out”? There appears to be rumblings of huge pessimism at the moment, but we have only played a few games, and we are breaking in a virtually new team.
A lot of people gave up at half time in Istanbul, but the team demonstrated that things can turn around, even if it looks unlikely.
With Daniel Sturridge injured and not leading the line, and Mario Balotelli up there on his own, at the moment, we don’t seem to be as lethal in attack. But Mario has never played with any of these lads before, so it is a little unfair to single him out. He is an excellent player, and will perform really well, once he finds his feet (both pink and blue!). Winning is about confidence, and negativity from the best fans in the world is not helping.
So what can we do? We all saw Steven Gerrard leap as high as he could, to bring us a goal back in Istanbul. But do we remember what happened directly after? He turned to all the fans, shouting and encouraging them to get behind the team. When we saw him do this, we chanted, we cheered, screamed and applauded. But most of all, we supported. There was no negativity, because we started to believe.
So, next time the lads come out, with that beautiful bird across their chest, and hearing eleven names being announced over the tannoy, why don’t we applaud every name, sing like we are winning… and you never know what may happen.
Us – as fans – can get our lads going. They are our heroes; they are our players; they are our team.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, but have faith and stay positive. Don’t forget to cheer, support and believe, through good and bad.
Gerrard, Balotelli, Sturridge, Sterling, or any other member of the team: “We are Liverpool and we do not give up”. Let’s see the flags waving and hear the crowd singing in Anfield and every other ground we go to this year. Let’s show the other fans how it’s done.
We have a great manager and great players. Let’s show them we believe in them, always and forever, and make some noise.
Our voices will make the difference. It could be 1-0 at Stoke or 5-0 at Spurs, but things will turn around, often when you least expect it. Let’s cheer in hope, in support and in defiance! YWNA