The return of the king to Anfield has brought back the memories of the golden years of Liverpool Football Club. Pictures of silverware being held aloft by Liverpool’s loved son are back in every fan’s eyes. The red men have reverted to the “Liverpool Way “, what they were best known for. We have dominated teams at Anfield, have the most miserly defence in the premier league. There is a renewed beacon of hope with the arrival of our new owners, The king and The Prince-Luis Suarez. Not long ago were we languishing at the bottom. There was an air of negativity around Anfield. The minnows-Blackpool, Wolves, WIgan came home and returned with a share of the spoils if not with everything. The Dark Age that saw us staring down the barrel has soon been forgotten.
One thing has not changed though. Anfield is just not a fortress any more. Sunderland showed the way to new boys Norwich, Swansea and the pathetic Blackburn, and it brings me to the title of this article. Despite the drastic developments at Liverpool in the last year, it seems to me that “This is Anfield” is not intimidatory anymore.
The great Liverpool sides won at home, drew away and that brought us our rich haul of silverware. The present is in stark contrast to what it was then. Liverpool could be excused for the fact that the team needed a couple of months to gel and develop an understanding, then there has been the misfortune of being denied by the woodwork, and shoddy refereeing. We are into the festive period now and there are simply no more excuses to cling onto. A poor return of 11 goals in 9 home games is unacceptable for a team with ambitions of champions league qualification. The stats are made to look worse when you consider that the teams in the relegation zone have scored more. In all these games, we have started with a high tempo, putting the opposition in the backfoot. The domination that seems to last until half time doesn’t seem to pay dividends though. Poor finishing have cost us more than 15 points. We have not maintained the same intensity throughout and that has given the opposition to get back into the game and take away valuable points.
The new acquisitions-Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam for all the opportunities given to them have flattered to deceive. Adam has faded away after a few promising performances in his partnership with Lucas Leiva. He has not had the same impact in the holding midfield role left vacant by the latter. He has been lumbering around, misplaced passes, slow movement, fantasy through balls that are not read by his team mates and aimless long shots describe his performances best. His trademark free kicks and precision corners are a thing of his Blackpool past. Far too inconsistent in the red shirt, he seems to have the infinite trust of Kenny, something I fail to understand considering his poor form in the last 4 games. If Andy Carroll doesn’t find a place in the starting XI due to poor form, so should Charlie Adam.
Stewart Downing reminds me of Ryan Babel( Not just because he wears the same number as the former Liverpool man did). His stats of zero goals and assists in 19 games don’t tell the entire story. The man has made numerous runs in either flanks but seldom has he beaten the full back to deliver a pin point cross. He has been a picture of inconsistency and flattered to deceive. Henley the 17 year old Blackburn fullback bossed the English international, condemning him to another unimpressive performance in a red shirt. However from time to time there have been flashes of what he is capable of. With a bit of time in the bench, hardwork in the training let’s hope he overcomes his dented confidence and starts repaying Liverpool the money they paid to land him.
Finally, I can’t help but accuse the new acquisitions of lacking the passion and desire that a Liverpool player must have. They have to work harder to prove that they have it in them or else they will end up in the list of baggage that LFC has carried for the last decade. It was the pride, passion and desire of Steven Gerrard, Carragher, Xabi Alonso, even Riise and Smicer that won us the Champions League at Istanbul, that won the game against Olympiakos, or the Fa cup final against West Ham-(doing the impossible). The present squad has more quality than it ever had in the last decade. But it seriously lacks those qualities that define Liverpool FC. Any amount of support and assurance from Kenny doesn’t convince me on this.
A word to our owners and Damien Camolli- Analytics, Sabermetrics, Money ball can evaluate effectively the quality, ability and potential of a player. But it does not measure the amount of pride, passion and desire he has.
These qualities have been conspicuous by their absence in the Anfield atmosphere. There were glum faces at Anfield on Monday. The performance did not inspire any cheers. As much as the fans need to get behind the players, the red men owe a performance of hard work, pride passion and desire to the fans.
Let us make Anfield an intimidating fortress again. There is not long before we move to newer pastures in search of long term success.
I reiterate my faith on our players and King Kenny. With a little more of hard work at Melwood we shall soon start watching the exciting display of the beautiful game that our club is known for.
T T Raghuveer
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