Liverpool Football Club has the richest history amongst all football clubs in Great Britain, and we are dubbed as one of the most knowledgeable sets of fans. We know about our history and we’re often criticised for being proud of it. We know our club, and we definitely set the bar of expectations on our players.
We’ve been blessed with so many great names. And most who begin their career as a Liverpool player dream nothing more than to be added to that list. But often we tend to forget that our expectations can hamper the progress of these players, whether it’s an academy graduate, or a newly signed player.
Not all are alike. There are some players who somehow forget they’re in a new surrounding and just hit the ground running, but there are also those who need to feel at home.
Moving to a different club is not the easiest thing in the world, and it gets more complex, depending on where you’re coming from. You could be from the same country, which could make it slightly easier, or you could be from a different one, and it gets a bit more difficult.
But we seem to judge these players a bit too early. We judge them by a few measly games, or even worse, by their transfer fees.
Forget the footballing part of the equation. Just how hard is it to move to a different city?
There are people from all over the world, especially from third world countries who come to Europe to have a better shot at life. But it’s not magic. There’s so much things to get used to before it starts to feel like home.
The new language, their culture, food, and lack of their friends and family. These are just a few of the things off the top of my head that could seriously affect the process of settling in a new surrounding for a person. That’s takes a toll on a person as it is.
It doesn’t stop there for football players. They probably need to adapt to the lifestyle the club demands you to have, your daily routines, the difference in training regimes to what you were previously used to, and your diet.
And to top it off, some of us make it even worse by slamming the gavel on them before they get the chance to feel comfortable in their new environment. Sure, paying thirty odd million for a player could probably make a small case that he should be producing from the get-go. But these guys aren’t robots, this isn’t the Matrix where you can just plug in a drive and boom, the guy can speak fluent English!
It’s kind of like the memes you see about friends on Facebook. As new friends you’re always polite and still trying to understand each other. But a few months or years down the line, they become your best mate and you can throw the harshest of banters, but he or she won’t get offended because they know there’s nothing more to it than just a joke.
That may or may not have been a bit of a stretch in trying to relate these two things, but you can’t forget that at the end of the day, footballers are players, and they need to feel welcome and comfortable in their new surroundings before they can show who they really are, on or off the pitch.
Firmino is an example. Took him about six months before he started showing us what he’s capable of, even if he has Coutinho and Lucas around to help him get used to everything, he still took some time to adapt.
Jordon Ibe is another. Raheem Sterling left and only a few were bothered because we all put Ibe on a pedestal so high, that he could barely keep his feet on the ground trying to exceed our expectations.
For our future signings, or academy graduates, let’s allow them to make a mistake or two, a bad game or two, without labelling them as a flop. Karius is one of the most talented keepers in the Bundesliga, voted only second to Manuel Neuer by his colleagues, and he’s only twenty-two. Give him breathing space and let him settle. We’ll reap what we sow.