Liverpool’s winding journey to Dublin 2011 was ended prematurely two days ago, after a goalless draw against Portguese outfit Braga. In a game where the Reds strolled around looking as if they had the tie sealed, there were simply no excuses for a side which looked predictable and terribly devoid of inspiration.
It is now plainly obvious that Liverpool have to undergo major surgery to recorrect what went so horribly wrong this season. Mid-March, and we’re not in the running for any silverware. 5th is the best we can hope for, and till then, it looks out of sight too with each passing game. Dalglish’s return won’t salvage a happy ending, as much damage was done to a side dismantled of confidence by January.
What lies ahead for us now? For me, the next nine games will define the future of certain players at Liverpool. Are some past their prime? Are some just not good enough? Do some even deserve to be here in the first place?
These questions will be asked. The next nine games provide the ultimate platform for players to showcase their attitude and character. Have they given this season up, or do they still believe? It remains to be answered.
Fast forward summer 2011, and whatever reshuffling of the pack that takes place will have a defining part to play in the future of Liverpool FC. The upper echelons at Liverpool will sit down and engage in meaningful discussions on the direction the club should be heading. Transfers? Stadium redevelopment? Youth policy? European Football?
There can be no denying the fact that summer 2011 takes on extra significance for Liverpool FC. While other clubs will celebrate and bask in new milestones, there will be no happy faces at Melwood. Only solemn ones, because they let the fans of the world’s most supported football club down. They will work to recorrect the wrongs.
And so will John Henry. Damien Comolli. And whether or not Kenny will stay on as manager, he’ll work alongside these people in tandem. They will identify their targets who will bring back the days of the mantra pass and move. But will these players put up with the absence of European football?
For me, Liverpool’s name is synonymous with European football. Five time European champions, and the most successful British club in Europe. But the absence of it for one season won’t kill. Liverpool is a club embedded with rich history, tradition, and the most loyal fans in the world. It’s a privilege and honour to play for Liverpool. If one joins Liverpool just because of the lure of Europe, then he’s getting himself into a terrible mess.
Whoever joins Liverpool, must understand Liverpool. The opportunity to play at Anfield on a weekly basis, the chance to score in front of the Kop, and the lure to follow in the footsteps of various Liverpool legends.
And that’s why I don’t believe an absence of European football will hurt. Liverpool, are after all a side regaining its foothold after being financially raped by their previous owners. The work is in progress. With this absence, perhaps it will come as an opportunity to reflect, to reinvigorate, and to reinvent a new future.
And to focus on the League, and come August 2012, we’ll be back where we once belonged.