Before I say anything at all on this topic I should make it absolutely clear that I’m not a psychologist. This isn’t an attempt to dig deep into the psyche of a group of Liverpool supporters to identify how they tick. This is nothing more than a slightly tongue in cheek exploration of the reasons that a section of fans seem to revel in disliking the club and some of our players more than they enjoy seeing us win matches. You might see something of yourself in the habits that I discuss; I’m fairly certain that I’ll see something of myself as I get into the topic. What that says about me I honestly have no idea.
I’m also not sure if this is a recent phenomenon. I’m 34-years-old. I have been supporting the Reds since I was a young lad, perhaps before I even knew what football was all about. Yet I can’t really remember a time at which Twitter didn’t dominate the conversation for a lot of supporters of different clubs. In one sense there’s not much wrong with that: It’s a great and immediate way to converse with other fans that’s ideal for those that don’t get to head to the ground very often. There are definitely downsides to social media, though, and I’ll be having a look at some of them…
Reasons People Seem To Hate LFC
There is no issue more likely to rile football supporters than transfer stories. Unless you support Manchester City, Chelsea or one of the European Behemoths such as Real Madrid, your club will never be doing enough to bring in the players you believe that they should target. For Liverpool fans this has especially been the case in the modern era, with managers as far back as Roy Evans struggling to bring in the very best players in the country thanks to the financial explosion firstly of Manchester United and then of clubs in the Roman Abramovich era. Despite knowing all of this, I saw a tweet this week that really got my back up:
— Marcus Halberstram (@anaIdirgeprat) March 21, 2017
This Liverpool fan had actually taken the time to write a list of players that he readily admits every club in the world will be going after in the summer, then next to it he’s put a list of players he thinks LFC will end up with. I’m going to completely ignore the vulgar, crude and inappropriate use of ‘Aids’ as a hashtag at the end of the tweet. I’m also not going to dwell too long on the fact that an adult (I’m assuming) has bothered to write this out basically for nothing more than ‘bantz’ and a few hundred retweets. Instead I’m going to use it as an example of the sort of thing that you can see every day on Twitter, should you wish to.
I’m more than aware that Liverpool have missed out on some high-profile signings over the years. More often than not, especially in recent times, they’ve ended up at Chelsea if you look at the likes of Willian and Mohamed Salah. Yet I also remember the clamour this summer for the Reds to sign Mario Götze from Bayern Munich, with the former protégé of Jürgen Klopp unsettled and looking to move away from the German giants. When Götze appeared to want to wait to find out whether or not we were going to get Champions League football before committing his future to us, we seemingly walked away from the deal and looked at other targets.
Of those other targets we signed both Gini Wijnaldum and Sadio Mané, with the ‘moaners’ in the fanbase saying neither were good enough before a ball had been kicked. With nine games to go of the season there’s an argument to be made that either one of them could be named our player of the year. Götze, meanwhile, moved back to his former club Borussia Dortmund and has failed to make an impact, being ruled out for the rest of the season with a rare metabolic illness. How do those fans that decried the signing of ‘yet another player from Southampton’ and were furious that we didn’t being in the World Cup winner feel now, I wonder? Why do people feel the incessant need to slag off the club before they’ve even had the chance to act?
Me when Werner signs a new contract at RB Leipzig pic.twitter.com/kse0XEpyDW
— Klopp (@BundesligaLFC) March 22, 2017
There’s no doubt a sense of being hurt before, of course. You go into every summer believing that the club will make the signings needed to push us on to the next level, only to be greeted by the news that we’ve brought in Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam. Many supporters will also point towards out inactivity in the January transfer window and suggest that that’s where everything fell apart, but how many big clubs made exciting and interest moves back then? Who did Manchester United sign? Or Arsenal? Or even Chelsea for that matter? If you want the club to improve they need to bring in someone that is performing well at their club, so why would that club let you sign a player that is likely to bring them success?
The answer is that they won’t, of course, unless you pay a premium for their services. Yet why would that player want to leave? If they’re of a level that will improve Liverpool then it’s safe to assume they’re likely to be challenging for trophies in their own country or league. Would someone who’s hoping to win the Bundesliga, La Liga or the Champions League swap that in January for an uncertain few months with us? I’m not so sure. As I mentioned in my piece on FSG last week, the owners are willing to spend money. They’re just not willing to do so frivolously or if they can’t necessarily see the benefit of doing so.
It’s perfect find to criticise the owners for not splashing the cash when you want them to, but you can’t also turn a blind eye to what they do well. For every Mario Götze that we don’t sign there’s a Sadio Mané that we do. Net spend is a fatuous argument unless you want the club to keep hold of dross like Jordon Ibe and Jordan Sinclair just so that they don’t end up in the black after the summer. Yes we let the likes of Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez go and I desperately wish we hadn’t, but that was with a different manager under a different structure and to hold that against the club now is pointless. When it comes to transfers, wait until the summer is over before you decide to throw a strop. Even then, wait to see what impact the players we do sign have before you declare it all a disaster – you just might be surprised.
There have been times this season when I’ve wanted to scream. Towards the end of January, when we’d been knocked out of both domestic cups and lost at home to Swansea City, I needed to take a bit of time away from football and stopped listening to podcasts and so on. Yet at no point did I decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I realised that these things happen sometimes. As frustrating as it is to have to realise that yet another year has gone by without my seeing Liverpool win the Premier League, I never lost sight of the fact that we’re actually doing very well indeed and have progressed a suitable amount under Jürgen Klopp’s management.
— James Hillyard (@gasometre) March 22, 2017
In the entirety of the Premier League era we’ve had more points than we currently do on just two occasions. Over 25 campaigns we’ve been less points behind the league leaders at this stage only nine times. That’s to say nothing of the fact that Chelsea are on course for a 90+ point season, which is absolutely phenomenal. In pretty much any other year we’d be smack bang in the mix for the title and it’s telling that we’re just three points off second place. Manchester City have got more money than a small country available to spend on players and have done exactly that, yet we’re currently only a point behind them. Manchester United have a manager some still believe to be the best in the world in their dugout, have spent over half a billion pounds, but are behind us in the league as things stand.
Jürgen Klopp has done such a fantastic job that we’ve perhaps lost sight of how far he’s still got to go. This is only his second season at the club and his first full season. Managers need at least three summers to have any chance of putting their own stamp on the playing squad and the German has had just one. We finished eighth last season. Leicester City might have fooled everyone into thinking you can go from bottle of the table to top in a matter of moments, but that’s just not the case. If we can finish in the top four at the end of this campaign then that will be a huge improvement. If we can do that by gaining fourteen or more points than we got last time out then that is very real progress.
As it is, we’re not good enough going forward. Tad lucky with that penalty tbh. Come on!! #LFC
— GuntherFurlong (@GuntherFurlong) March 19, 2017
Yet some Liverpool fans don’t think that’s good enough. They want the Reds to win every single game and if they don’t then all hope is abandoned. One defeat means everyone needs to be sold and Klopp isn’t good enough. It’s madness. They seem to prefer it when we lose because they get to say ‘I told you so’. Much like those who criticise the club for their transfer dealings before they’ve actually had a chance to make any, so too there are those who feel the need to slag off the team when it’s announced or suggest that players aren’t good enough.
There are other ways in which people seem to hate the club; from certain players that they think are ‘frauds’ through to the owners who they refuse to give any credit to. I’m not innocent of reacting in the moment, but ultimately I want nothing but the best for Liverpool Football Club. It’s time to stop reactionary hate.