By Sabrina Fende (@jeanXgrey)
After the latest defeat I am still sitting here, wondering, what the heck is going wrong with our team, as I am sure (almost?) every supporter around the world does. Being somewhat free of the influence of the British media I only get my own opinion and the ones from certain supporters that I have chosen to follow on Twitter.
Yes, you can argue that the players that have been bought during the summer are simply not of the material to replace the likes of Luis Suarez. That’s the most obvious bit. But it’s too easy to blame it all on that.
There’s also the issue of the manager’s choices regarding line-ups and changes. Those have often been criticised and rightfully so. I have done so myself on one or the other occasion.
But the truth, or what I believe to be the truth, lies somewhere deeper and our very own Jamie Carragher has put a finger into that wound tonight: leadership. We lack it. In my opinion, what we lack most regarding a leader is the passion to pull a team forward, even when times get hard. We pride ourselves for having won in Istanbul – a feat that many would’ve deemed impossible after going down 3-0 against possibly Europe’s best side at that time. Yet, we managed it and that was mostly due to the unparalleled passion of our leaders, mainly Carra himself and Steven Gerrard.
I can only speculate what has gotten into our Captain this season, but there have been three major moments that, in my eyes, might’ve led to his decline.
First and second of all we have lost two major players, both of whom have on many occasions encouraged the team to move forward, to push hard, to never give up: Luis Suarez and our vice-captain, Daniel Agger. With those two departing, the team has very obviously not only lost two quality players (one quite obviously more so than the other), but most importantly two outstanding personalities on the pitch. You would’ve had to be blind to not notice them, whether watching on the telly or at Anfield. Maybe they managed to hide that fact that our Captain lost a piece of this presence over the years, or maybe it was the third event that has led to this.
When Steven Gerrard slipped against Chelsea last season, as much as I’d like to forget that moment and never have to lose another word about it, I think something got seriously damaged in him. I think he has finally lost the belief that this is the club with which he can achieve anything. Or maybe he has lost faith in himself. Neither of us would ever be able to tell, but I can’t shake the feeling that this incident lies at the root of his problem. Because I know, as little as supporters blame him for it, he does blame himself quite a bit, and if only unconsciously.
What we have gotten to replace our departing players or the ageing Captain can’t be enough though. How can Dejan Lovren, who quite obviously can’t be arsed with anything, replace one of the most passionate players our club has ever had? And even-more-arsed Balotelli is supposed to be a proper replacement for Suarez? Or was that supposed to be Rickie Lambert?
Maybe it does come down to a very questionable transfer policy over the summer, but I will stick to what I have always said: It’s too easy to just blame the manager. After all, there’s 11 men on the pitch who are to play the game, score the goals and make sure the opposition doesn’t. Brendan doesn’t need to make saves, clearances or create chances. So, no, kicking him out now would not be the solution, though I doubt he will see the end of the season if things don’t pick up quickly.
I believe now would be the time to throw all caution and names overboard and play the youngsters. Look at what we’ve done in the cup tie! That hasn’t been too bad! Maybe if you played a team of the ones usually keeping the bench warm, and maybe even adding the likes of Rossiter, they would show more heart and passion for the club. And maybe that would also animate the current starters to get their heads out of their arses. One can only hope.