What’s Gone Wrong At Liverpool? It’s A Perfect Storm

“Always the victims, it’s never your fault.” That is a chant that Liverpool supporters are having to listen to from opposition fans virtually every single match week. With a few exceptions, it is something that visiting supporters are singing with increasing gusto, feeling as though they’re getting a ‘rise’ out of those inside Anfield. The truth is, they’re mostly not getting a rise. All they’re doing is causing deep upset and distress to people who have been through far too much of both already. I will forever be in awe of the Hillsborough families. To cope with what they have been through with such dignity is fair more than I’d have been able to do. It could have been the families of Leeds supporters, had they suffered the same fate in 1987. But for a decision to put Liverpool fans in the Leppings Lane end, it would have been Nottingham Forest supporting families. Having played the two teams in quick succession and heard that song sung, I feel shame for them both.

There are so many reasons why opposition fans shouldn’t sing it, that goes without saying. Mainly, though, they are singing songs about the deaths of innocent men, women and children. Think about that. In order to get a rise out of people over a football match, you are singing a song that mocks people for dying. How pathetic have you got to be to not only do that, but then take to social media in order to defend the singing of it, claiming it’s about something else. It’s not. You’re singing about people who died. The youngest was a ten-year-old. They died because of police neglect, which was covered up by the state and to this day no one has been successfully prosecuted for their deaths. It could have been Leeds supporters. Forest fans. People who follow Everton or Tottenham or any number of clubs that were regularly reaching finals when football fans were treated like scum. You’re singing about people dying for ‘football banter’. It’s time to call it out.

A Confluence Of Mistakes

Last season, Liverpool Football Club came within minutes of winning the quadruple. It would have been the finest achievement of any side, ever. We know it didn’t happen, but the fact that we came so close is proof that this side is far from being rubbish. The manager who led them to the brink of eternity hasn’t suddenly become crap overnight. The owners that facilitated the charge aren’t on the same level as Hicks and Gillett. What has happened this season isn’t a Liverpool side being ‘found out’. Instead, it is a culmination of several factors that have led us to this point. First and foremost, coming so close to winning it all and missing out on the two biggest trophies, especially in the manner in which it happened, has left the players physically and mentally exhausted. They played every single minute of football it was possible to play last season, barring extra-times. It is hardly a surprise that so many of them look utterly exhausted this time around.

As soon as we made the Champions League final, plans should’ve been put in place to strengthen the squad in the summer. Indeed, the midfield was always going to need to be strengthened over two successive summers, so I’m not entirely sure why more wasn’t done this time around. Plenty will point to the owners, but the funds were reportedly in place to allow us to sign Aurélien Tchouaméni before he went to Real Madrid. That there weren’t four or five alternatives is damning on the recruitment staff. That the manager spent the summer telling anyone who would listen that he was happy with his midfield certainly didn’t help matters. To be left scrabbling around and signing Arthur Melo on deadline day is yet another sign that things aren’t working behind the scenes at Liverpool. That isn’t on one person, but is instead a responsibility that needs to be shared around. Looking for convenient scapegoats lets too many other people off the hook.

There’s No Easy Solution

Just like there is no one reason why Liverpool are struggling at the moment, there is no simple solution. Changing the manager is hardly going to help, not least of all because Jürgen Klopp is one of the best managers in the world. The best answer on that front is that the German finds the solutions we need to the questions that we’re being posed. Part of that will involve the owners supporting him in the transfer market when it opens in January, with the World Cup providing the perfect opportunity to regroup. The problem with that is that Julian Ward and his team have yet to prove themselves capable of doing what Michael Edwards did for years and making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. There are a growing number of people that would like to get rid of the owners, but they offer no sensible solution about the kind of owners they would like. Let me be clear: I’d sooner lose the right way than win thanks to a murderous regime sports-washing its reputation.

Perhaps now is the time for the manager to put his faith in the youth, with the likes of Stefan Bajcetic given a chance to prove he’s better placed to serve us right now than Fabinho is. The issue on that front is that too many young players leaves the team looking rudderless. In the short-term, then, a combination of youth and experience might be the way to go, with the manager pointing out that we’ve been suffering from injuries from the start of the season and needing to rush people back before they’re properly recovered. It has been the perfect storm of errors and misfortune, with the club positioned in such a way that we need everything to go perfectly in order to fight against Manchester City for the title. Everything has been far from perfect recently, which is how we’ve ended up where we are now. There is still time to rescue this season, but we need every single thing to go our way if we’re to have any chance whatsoever of finishing in the top four. Miss out, and the immediate future is looking bleak.

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