Liverpool’s Small Club Mentality

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“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome”

– Isaac Asimov

There is a myopic idealism amongst many Liverpool fans that once Daniel Sturridge makes his long awaited return everything will fall into place and the Reds will once again get Champions League football. The void left by the former Chelsea man has been used as an excuse for how the season has turned out. How the club is once again in transition, a transition that doesn’t seem to have an ending. Could it be too farfetched to think Liverpool Football Club could be in permanent transition?

Small Club

The League is in a poor state this season, and yes the man with no song would have eased the clubs lack of goals this season, but after a spending spree in the summer the clubs progress shouldn’t halt when one player gets injured. It highlights how Ill prepared they were for the current season, a season they’d longed for since the days of Champions League gone by. That short lived foray in Europes Elite competition highlighted how out of depth the club was as a whole. How lack of experience cost a team, and manager, in their infancy.

If the return of Liverpool’s number 15 is to inspire a charge at the Champions League, then Liverpool need to replicate, or even better, the form of last season; 14 wins and 2 draws gets you a top 4 finish. Last season Sturridge was assisted by the mercurial Uruguayan, a player with a wealth of experience. This year it’s all down to the England international. Will the pressure alone be too much? Will his body be able cope with the demands? Or will Brendan Rodgers offer him some assistance and find a way to get the best out of both him and Balotelli? The latter question may well impact the future of Brendan Rodgers.

You also have to consider the fact the rivals for top four, Arsenal and Utd, both have more players coming back to full fitness. Arsenal have Walcott and Ozil to name but two of the players returning whilst Utd have a whole backline coming back to fitness. Both teams have had more injuries this season, yet both teams are better placed than Liverpool currently are.

As touched upon earlier, the club seems to be in a never ending period of transition. Why? Well, world class players don’t stick around at Anfield. When they do leave they’re rarely ever replaced and the club ‘make do’ with above average players. That’s the truth of it and could well be highlighted in the summer when Mr Liverpool himself, Steven Gerrard, leaves. The first player I remember leaving and not being replaced was Michael Owen, we’ve since seen the likes of Alonso, Mascherano, Suarez, Hyypia and even Reina leave without being replaced adequately enough. Cast your eyes towards Manchester United 2009/2010 season, they lost Ronaldo and Tevez, didn’t replace them in the same summer and lost their Premier League crown. That was one season, Liverpool haven’t replaced their stars, ever.

The Gerrard debate needs to be put to bed, stop talk of replacing the Liverpool legend, it can’t be done. You need an attraction, a match winner and a personality. The club need a marquee signing that fills the void left by him. This player doesn’t have to be a midfielder, it would probably help more if they weren’t as to stop the Gerrard comparisons. The midfielders mentioned; Milner and Delph, would be decent squad players. The former, if the club get Champions League football, would be a good addition with the experience he brings, but by no means should either be the only midfield reinforcements the club bring in.

Lucas Leiva has certainly been reminding Liverpool fans of his DM’ing abilities as of late, he’s also having a positive influence on the field too, so much so that some fans don’t want him to be sold. Let me remind you, Inter Milan are offering real money for a player the club should have sold years ago. A player who only seems to ‘excel’ when the club are doing poorly. Could Lucas’ resurgence be due to the formation being implemented currently? The 3421 formation offers Lucas extra protection which means he has to do less leg work. The classy Sakho behind him, Moreno and his pace covering whenever needed and the tenacious yet skilful Coutinho ahead of him.

Due to the history of not replacing players, fans are pandering over Lucas. Selling the only recognised defensive midfielder in the squad leaves the fans questioning if the club will buy another, and if not, will we see a Gerrard-Henderson pivot once again. The effectiveness of Lucas is being blown out of proportion because there isn’t anybody else in that mould to compare him to.

Another player whose influence on the team is wrongly viewed in the media as positive is Martin Skrtel, the master of the last ditch block, a skill he had to develop due to his poor positioning. News broke that the 30 year old is to be offered a new deal, and with that the vice captaincy, in the summer. How times have changed for the Slovakian, a man dubbed not good enough in the summer of 2013, Rodgers tried to sell him but had no offers. This just one summer after the club rejected a big money offer from Man City. This highlights the stagnation at Liverpool, how a man dubbed not good enough and the opposite of how Rodgers wanted his defenders to defend (high line proactive defence) is now going to be the vice captain. Alarmingly, this also draws attention to Rodgers being a poor judge of players, having tried to offload, come summer, the current captain and vice in the past. Both players seemingly not good enough for Liverpool are now leading the line just shows how inexperienced this current squad is.

If this is true, and Skrtel is to be VC it once again shows how little Sakho is rated at Liverpool by the manager. A player who could be at the heart of the Liverpool defence for another 10 years, with experience of leading a side having been the youngest ever captain at PSG and being the current VC of France. An ideal VC for this currently young Liverpool squad.  Having lost the leadership qualities of Pepe, Agger, Gerrard, Suarez over the past 18 months the club should be trying to get as much leadership experience into the squad.

The culmination of all of the above points and it’s little wonder the club is in ‘another’ period of transition. The club already have an excuse for another season of transition next season with the Gerrard sized hole in the team. I for one am fed up, it’s time to start acting like a big club.

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  1. The core problem is WE HAVE IDIOTS RUNNING THE CLUB,Ayre / Transfer Committee / Scouting Network / And the MUPPET MANAGER !!!! All our to blame for the disgraceful below average DROSS being brought into the club,and every time that IDIOT Ayre has had a chance of getting quality into the club ( HE’S SCREWED UP NEGOTIATIONS ) THE IDIOT COULDN’T NEGOTIATE HIS WAY OUT OF A PAPER BAG !!!
    How is Fabian Delph going too even try fill in for GERRARD,FSG want only cheap players on low wages and if things don’t change soon ( WERE FOREVER SCREWED )

  2. good article but Sakho is poorer than Skrtel.
    in reality i cannot see any our of players making the grade at MAN.U-Man city or chelsea.

  3. Liverpool haven’t replaced their stars, ever….Suarez for Torres? The other players you mention were all part of the last time Liverpool finished second under Benitez. Have you forgotten so quickly what happened next? Court cases, massive debt, Hodgson, new owners, new managers, FFP, the list goes on. Exactly how quickly do you think building a sustainable success can be done? Are you an expert in transfer scouting? Perhaps you have financially managed a global brand or have all your coaching badges? Why don’t FSG just read your post and ask your advice? We are no longer the LFC of Shankly and Paisley – That society, that football world is gone. We can not compete with Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City for the foreseeable future, not because we have a ‘small club mentality’ but because they are RICHER! You can think we are ‘big’ until your keyboard warrior fingers are worn to the bone, but it won’t change a single thing.

    • One article makes me a keyboard warrior? Are you yourself any of the above mentioned, if not then it’s rather hypocritical on your part just because you disagree with my opinion?
      Suarez was bought to play alongside Torres, not as a replacement.
      My distaste for our spending stems from this summer. Suitably placed to make one big signing to improve the side and we ended up spending big on average players. Even though disagreed, I still appreciate the fact you read it.

    • We can not compete with Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City for the foreseeable future, not because we have a ‘small club mentality’ but because they are RICHER!

      Then how does Atlético Madrid consistently beat Real with a payroll 1/4(probably) the size?

  4. I have always thought of the couch as small club coach. He cannot attract big name players. He said it himself.The owners should offload him in the summer and get some one in who can do the rebuilding of Liverpool as a big club not as a small club

  5. Fine…..a well spoking statement have been expecting to go deep into the heart of liverpool fc, i honestly dont understand what is going wrong with our boss B.R, it seems is still seeing liverpool as low standard team as of swansea city, hell NO, liverpool is far bigger than that, in the sence of using that mentality for liverpool in terms of buying players, why is it that this days liverpool never complete the deals of big names player, all will barely heard is “liverpool in race for this! Liverpool plotting big move for that!”, buh will never see the deal done, so annoying!! For instance….after the fore-told of the exit of our memorable suarez, rodgers edge toward the signing of rickie lambert, how awkward! Anyway all i just have to say is for him aiming for big and active name players, not low quality players, may God help him, YNWA….

  6. There is the nub of the argument Sam…’average players’. This is a matter of opinion, but it has to be a qualified opinion as in coaching experience, seeing the players up close on a daily basis, understanding their personalities, their age, culture, potential, personal ambition. Neither of us are qualified in this aspect, but I am not asking the club or leading the fan base to believe that ‘thinking big’ is a realisable, or even logical, solution. You can ‘think’ it all you want. Asking to ‘act like’ a big club is another matter. What does that mean exactly? I don’t want Liverpool to either ‘think or act’ big. I, like you, want them to ‘be’ big, or at least, given the financial reality of today’s football world, to be successful with both trophies and league positions that allow the club to compete season on season. Did Man Utd ‘act big’ when they paid, and are paying, a massive amount, that they can afford, for Falcao? They can afford it, so it’ s not ‘acting’ it’s being big. We are not in that league, so acting big in an effort to appease frustrated supporters who hark after the past, of which I am part, as a fan of forty years, and throwing out ridiculous money on the hope that one player, considered world class, but could easily fail, is the sort of gambling philosophy that destroyed Leeds and almost destroyed us with Hicks and Gillet. As a poster on this website you have a responsibility not to fan the flames as in the case of one of the comments on here, which has a very clear ‘burn everything to the ground’ emphasis. We are all passionate about the club and all want the same thing but I believe your post is misguided and thank you for replying.

    • I fully respect your opinion and of course, player quality is always opinion based. I take any feedback on articles on board as I’m appreciative of people taking the time to read them. I don’t intend to antagonise people, nor to start revolutions. I’d never pass off an opinion based article as fact, and I don’t consider myself to be someone who fans the flames. We all want Liverpool to move in the same direction, my frustration from the summer spending stemmed from finally having money for the first time in a long time, and not adequately, in my opinion, replacing what was lost.
      I think my next article you may like a little more, based on how selling the club to potential signings isn’t as easy as many think.
      Once again, thanks for reading.

    • I’ll ask again, shouldn’t we aspire at the least to be like Atlético Madrid? They beat Real on a consistent basis. Their payroll is no where near Real’s. They would have won CL last year with a healthy Costa. We couldn’t have brought in someone like Mario Mandžukić? He would have replaced Suarez and he’s a proven goal scorer. Instead he signed with Atlético Madrid.

  7. how pathetic Liverpool’s mentality has become, the club doesn’t look attractive to any top player. Brendan has been and is an ‘Ok’ coach who doesn’t look to attract top players, throw Mourinho, Pep or Klopp into picture and Liverpool gonna look attractive. Getting Fabian Delph sums up the small mental state of the club

    • Brendan has been and is an ‘Ok’ coach who doesn’t look to attract top players, throw Mourinho, Pep or Klopp into picture and Liverpool gonna look attractive.

      What about Simeone? Given how his teams play defensively, and how they can consistently beat Real Madrid, I’ll take him.

  8. we must admit that Rodgers is a small club thinker coach after failing to sign top class player. letting pepe agger n all of the worst Mr Liverpool Gerrard leave without handily them with caution signal who he is. am confused or rather amused on how these club management are working towards perfection.

  9. It’s a great write-up, but I am afraid i disagree with your opinion. Replacing like for like (either in terms of position or fame or perception) does not really justify the end. You may be right regarding the fact that Liverpool have not replaced its winners in the Premier League era, however, one big example of huge failure of a like-for-like replacement (in terms of player reputation, the big player reputation) is Balotelli replacing Suarez. It was a desperate attempt at what exactly you have commissioned in your article and look at how it has fallen on its face. And to add to that, Suarez was never a like-for-like replacement for anyone, he was added to the squad looking at his potential and probable be a second striker to Torres (arguably the best striker in the league before his move to Chelsea). We need to believe in the ideas of a young manager, BR, who is trying out things to make this a great club for another era, not for the next year. Food for thought, just imagine if Sterling, Sturridge, Origi, Coutinho, and Markovic all fulfill their potential in the next season (which on an average is the Time for foreign players to settle and prove their worth), what a young and exciting squad you will be having versus the old ManU, once a star squad.


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