What Has Happened To Liverpool's Fanbase?
Liverpool supporters pride themselves on being one of, if not the best, fan base in the world.
It is something that has been associated with the Reds throughout history, and while a certain level of bias will always be involved, I have often thought no set of fans are quite as passionate, intelligent and proud of their team.
Anfield creates European nights like no other, supporters come together tremendously in moments of adversity and managers and players across the globe heap praise on Liverpool for its dedicated following and world-renowned traditions.
All of this feels like another lifetime ago right now, though.
A summer without a major tournament drags on at the best of times, but the last month or so has been among the most unbearable I can remember as a Reds fan.
Having just qualified for the Champions League for only the second time this decade, and with one of the world’s best managers at the helm, you would have thought positivity would be in the air.
Don’t be silly.
Instead, every single day is just a monotonous, unbearable wave of negativity, mainly due to the increasingly painful transfer window that is driving many to distraction.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group are also taking a fair chunk of the gloom, with the ‘FSG Out’ brigade among the most bizarre set of people I have come across. Be frustrated and don’t rate them, but don’t be an oddball.
Anyway, back to the transfer window. To be completely blunt, it is one of the worst things about football nowadays, having once felt like a lot of fun. That element has long been sucked out of it.
As a football writer, it should give me plenty to report on and help keep my summer busy, but it is a two-month period that has become more tiresome by the year.
In a modern age where social media allows everyone to express their opinion – that is a good thing at times – the endless, 24/7 reaction to transfer news is genuinely sapping, with everyone seemingly both an expert and a reader of Jurgen Klopp’s mind.
It’s fair to say that Liverpool haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory so far this summer when it comes to the way they have conducted themselves, so no excuses should be made.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita were Klopp’s primary targets, but as each day passes, the more it looks as though the Reds will have to look elsewhere.
This is not good news at all, but the reaction among supporters – not all of them, there are still many reasonable ones out there if you look hard enough – has been pathetic.
Already, Liverpool’s summer is being written off as an unmitigated disaster, despite the transfer window opening just over a week ago. It is the equivalent of claiming the season is over after a win, a draw and a defeat in the opening three matches.
With rivals making inroads and spending big, the hysteria has only got worse, but let’s just see how things look on 1st September, shall we?
Where do supporters get the energy to spend their entire summer on their phone, laptop or other devices and whinge endlessly?
Perhaps it is a romantic notion in a world when technology is such an enormous part of day-to-day life, but go and enjoy the nice weather and allow yourself a bit of Liverpool-free time.
After such a productive season on the pitch, we should be so excited moving forward, with Klopp building the most exciting era at the club for years. Instead, some supporters are never happy, and never will be.
There is nothing wrong with demanding excellence from all concerned, and we should feel embarrassed about the Van Dijk situation, in particular, but some perspective is needed.
What I will say, assuming you have got this far into the article rather than hunting me down to tell me my head is in the clouds, is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
If you are genuinely fuming about Liverpool’s summer, and think the club is in a terrible place, fair enough – it just seems sad that no positives can be found from so many.
It is now just over a month until 2017/18 gets underway, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more desperate for a new campaign to start.That’s not necessarily because of the football, but because it will mean the end of this torturous summer is on the horizon.
Whatever happens with transfer dealings, Klopp will have a formidable-looking squad at his disposal come August – believe it or not, main targets have failed to arrive numerous times in the past, and Liverpool have been absolutely fine.
It kills me to say it, but I’ve never felt more ashamed of a sizeable chunk of Liverpool supporters as I do right now, and there are many I speak to who feel exactly the same, both in person and on social media.
Such impatience and petulance are on show these days, both with on and off-field issues, and it is helping absolutely no-one.
Liverpool’s fan base has shown so many times throughout history that their influence on the team can be more positive than any in world football.
We need to remember how special we can be as a collective, and stop this childish, negative approach that has become insufferable.