By Herbert Mukuru
THIS IS ANFIELD: The feel of Liverpool F.C’s home.
Ever had that great feeling of watching your favourite team come to play and you get sure that game is in the bag? Hmm, I know exactly how it feels. Am a strong Liverpool FC fan and to most of my friends, they refer to me as too young to be supporting a team that has existed even before my parents were born and besides it does not have anything to show for in the last 10 years apart from that famous Istanbul Night.
Well, let’s agree to disagree. This article is my opinions as a fan who believes his team has lost out on the glory that it had.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 19: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield on January 19, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
Liverpool as a team has never been short of strikers. That’s a fact that has demonstrated its self over the so many eras I have witnessed. Roger Hunt, Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Micheal Owen, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and now, none.
There are so many strikers who are meant to be on this list plus some who hold much zeal to have been Liverpool material but were too mediocre. The likes of El Hajji Diouf, Andy Caroll, Fabio Borini, (feel in whoever you want) All those names represent one thing, Gamblers.
It baffles me that a team of Liverpool’s glory has failed to replace Suarez for now close to 2years. All we did was to get that 75million pounds and spend it on totally mediocre players. In this common era and Liverpool has no 15 goal and plus striker?
They say great minds build great teams. For a club I have supported since 1999, it has managed to change ownership from the following to the following.
It is the impact of which era that might stand out i.e. trophies, managers, signings etc. When you look at teams like Chelsea, Spurs, Real Madrid, Manchester United plus others, they have managed to have somewhat permanent ownership which has eventually given the team a much needed boost in the transfer market.
For Liverpool, the George Gillett and Tom Hicks era seemed to have brought some silverware to the front and the current FSG owners have a long way to surely return that success of their predecessors. Ian Ayre seems to be the person who is running the work for them and he has managed to be the string puller of many signings to Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp, the new LFC boss.
Do managers make the team? Yes they do. Do players rally behind one another to have a manager sacked? Yes they do, ask Jose Mourinho. Liverpool has changed management in the modern era most times than its rivals Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton.
Chelsea is the other team that has had so many managerial changes. My arguments with management is in the choices made by the owners of a specific era the manager came in. Billy Shankly (Good), Bob Paisley (very Good) King Kenny Daglish part 1 (Good).
Now over to the one’s I saw coach. Gerrard Houlleir (Good), Rafael Benitez (Very good), Roy Hodgson (poor and clueless), King Kenny Daglish part 2 (Average), Brendan Rodgers (Mediocre and lacked experience to win the first English Premier League (EPL) for the club), Jürgen Klopp (To be judged soon).
With the list of all the managers above, it is safe for you to also throw your opinion on the men in the hot seat. Why Liverpool has not yet won a Barclays premier league trophy to this day, I don’t know why?
A whole host of them have been made by the managers above. We as fans sometimes rush to draw conclusions on certain signings but there are those I would like to throw some light on, who again in my opinion are/were not Liverpool material. By Liverpool material I mean, certain pressures are meant to build up if you’re playing for a big club like this one. Andy Caroll buying him for 35million pounds, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana has failed to hit the heights of southampton, Dejan Lovren to me has never lived up to the expectations of playing for Liverpool, Sakho (hmm) he looks solid but so prone to mistakes.
There are many more players I can single out basing on all the times they have played a game for Liverpool, the list is quite endless.
THE 2013/2014 SEASON
What a spectacular season it was. Brief recap of the 12-13 season ended when we were no.7 and Suarez was found guilty of his desire to outmuscle players.
See the thing about this great talent is the hope, anger, desire and rage he got. Suarez to me lives, eats, breathes football and with the great teammates he was surrounded with,you could see cause for his actions. So the next season kicked off with Daniel Sturridge as the lone striker.
Simon Mignolet, fresh debut and he saved a Jonathan Walters penalty in the dying minutes of that season opener. Liverpool set the ball rolling and we were in for drama in the upcoming games. The following 2 games were won by the same scoreline. Midway through the season Liverpool were tittle chasers and top by Christmas.
You all know the statics of the teams that have been top of the log by December 25, have gone on to win it. Manager Brendan Rodgers didn’t allow that tittle talk to dwell into the minds of his players because we had big fixtures in Chelsea and Manchester City to play just before the year sunk.
By the time these fixtures were played, Liverpool had lost it’s lead on top of the table and they were up against history.
Could Liverpool be the first team top of the table by Christmas and fail to win the tittle? January was a bit of a mixed month for Liverpool because they (players) really needed to discover themselves.
From February, Liverpool went on a winning streak and heavily defeated teams like Arsenal, Spurs, Norwich, Stoke et al.
You see, the beauty about this Liverpool team was that it was not afraid to bang in the goals with it’s formidable partnership SAS. This combination got the best out of all Liverpool squad players because chances were created, assists made and Sterling, Henderson, Glen Johnson, Sakho, Jon Flanagan all played to their best ability.
It was a routine for the fans to wait for the team bus from Anfield road and sing the famous Liverpool songs. Surely the players believed it was their time and they played so much in their minds because some matches were so nervy to watch. We bang in 5 goals and the opposition bangs in 3. That pressure was so intense in that any mistake could sink Liverpool’s tittle hopes.
Over to the game that in my opinion rounded off Liverpool’s season. Liverpool vs Chelsea was billed up for the greatness in the game. SAS VS Oscar, Hazard, Teacher vs Student. This game had it all, it was a given for Liverpool by the ‘legendary’ Jose Mourinho in his previous Champions League game against Atletico Madrid because he lost a number of his first team players to injury.
In fact, his Chelsea side was eliminated from this stage in the champions league. In his press conference, he asserted that he would bring out a weak team to line up against a team which had a full week’s rest. Team sheets were out and indeed for the first time in my life, I believed Jose and did not throw any bunter towards him.
Liverpool in all it’s previous 11 winning streak started strong by having the first say. Chelsea were not to be pushed back. They sat deep and defended and in the modern saying of that time, they packed the ‘BUS’.
Rodgers’ tactics and in this experience demanded for the team to push on and on in a game that needed a draw for you to have one hand on the prestigious trophy that has eluded Liverpool to date.
A misplaced Sakho pass to the back tracking Liverpool Captain Steven Gerrard ensured that Chelsea were 1 up going into half time. Guess you know what that result meant to the table considering the fact that Man city had little weaker opponents to contend.
Chelsea managed another goal when all Liverpool players were caught on the counter and boom, we were staring at the first losers of being top by Christmas and not winning it. Everybody was left shocked and here in Uganda, I cried. I could not believe we just lost it.
The 3-3 Crystal Palace game was not where we lost it, it just played a minor role in us giving up completely because it showed the desire Suarez had to win it with us. He had promised Liverpool that if he got them into the Champions League again, he would be on his way out. That season in a nutshell proved to the world that Liverpool was again a big power house to deal with.
Barcelona were reported to be interested in signing Luis Suarez. Now remember the seasons before Liverpool were engaged in the Suarez vs. Arsenal transfer battle which was won.
Here we had Barcelona, desiring to add more fire power to its squad and which opportunity Suarez to date some analysts believe was engineered with his world cup bite on Chellini.
Could Liverpool allow their name to be rolled over in a matter of months?Didn’t think so. July 11, 2014, Suarez was a Barcelona player going for 75 million pounds.
Hot deal! Hot money! What would Liverpool do? Reinforce. Who comes in and who goes out? Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, Mario Ballotelli.
It is important to note that the players that came in were all first starters in their previous teams and surely they were expected to step onto the gas immediately. What they offered was what I could call small team performances because their teams had less exceptions.
Rodgers decided to hang onto these players for most of his matches and I do not even know where most of them are. Surprisingly, we bought most of them expensively and sold them just to cut our losses.
Gerrard the leader of the team was reduced to a bench warmer in a move that angered most fans and to date, I blame Rodgers for forcing him out of Liverpool. There is a reason as to why Andrea Pirlo at that age still played for Juventus (experience).
When he announced that he will be quitting, Liverpool after 27 years of service, I was not surprised at all. How did Rodgers leave Gerrard on the bench for the Real Madrid, Manchester United games? Ridiculous.
For a manager to say he is managing one’s game time and you fail to play one individual in a big game baffles me. When you look at the games that Gerrard did not play, you could see that Rodgers was nothing but a mediocre manager. Liverpool was beyond him now.
Raheem Sterling’s move to a great rival in Man city also left a sour taste in my mouth. All his words were aimed at him getting silverware which Liverpool would not provide under Rodgers even if he was still manager to date. Sterling did not see the reason to play in a team without any one apart from Martin Skrtel and Daniel Sturridge who by the way was already injured.
Today’s football is based on results and for any manager who doesn’t deliver has been shown the exit. We now leaving in the sack race era and many impatient owners become quite impatient if you cannot deliver.
Rodgers had turned us into quite a small team and the teams we used to put to the sword were giving us a hard time. West Ham, Crystal Palace and many others have continued making Liverpool their boggy team.
The young lads from the academy show great glimpses of a unified Liverpool and if only many can come through and help on push the great Liverpool forward.
Jürgen Klopp has come in and managed few wins from this poor side and I will surely give an opinion about him the coming season after recently assuring the fans plus the press that he holds the rights to the signings he will make.
Rodgers appeared recently on Sky Sports and he said that Liverpool was much involved in the signings and he did not have a final say. Less like he was forced onto some players and overall the players in my opinion were not Liverpool class.
ISSUES TO SOLVE:
- Can Liverpool finally land that one wonderful 30 plus striker? Like I said before, we have always had that knack for such a striker. Is the current Forward Benteke one? Not at all.
- Will the truth about Daniel Sturridge be revealed. I’m thinking he can be like Robin Van Persie and eventually rise to stardom? What makes me doubt that happening is the fact that his injuries are inherited. Both Father and Uncle suffered similar injuries and had to quit the game early. What does Liverpool do for such a player with such great striking ability?
- Will Jürgen Klopp return the lost pride to Anfield? This famous stadium used to be a fortress and when the fans sang You Will Never Walk Alone, it could suddenly send shivers down my spine. Am anticipating for an improved Liverpool at home.
- Does Liverpool have a real leader? I ask so because from the times of Hypia, Carragher, Gerrard, you could feel the impact of certain players plus their captain. No disrespect to Jordan Henderson but I feel when Liverpool is playing, it lacks a leader on pitch. Someone with great command. Martin Sktel maybe would have done it for me.
Klopp is the right man for Liverpool but I suggest he gets more time. I wish he could just bring some sort of stability to the team and we eventually move on.
With all the above, I cannot wait for Liverpool to turn the corner with silverware because it is what has been on many fans lips.
The writer is a Liverpool fan at large.
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