Confessions of a Liverpool Fan – From Believer To Doubter

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There’s nothing out there in the various podcasts, social media sphere, online articles, etc. that has not already been said about Liverpool’s recent stretch of mediocre performances. Like others, I detect the range of emotions expressed by Liverpool supporters. Truth be told, there are times I want to believe those who espouse the view that we’re doing reasonably well under the circumstances and we’re only 1 or 2 or 3 points away from such and such a place on the table, etc. – and that we’ve been a top four contending team.

But I can’t.

I just can’t anymore as I feel I’m buying into a false narrative that every bone in my being tells me is not true. Now I realise there are all sorts of explanations and interpretations folks who insist on the aforementioned narrative could marshal to convince us.

And lest I be misinterpreted, before I go any further, I should note that my thoughts are not merely about the perpetual debate between us Reds who are seemingly simplistically lumped as the optimistic vs the pessimistic ones.

I cannot subscribe to the view anymore that we have a strong squad of players who have the chemistry, psychology, and tactical nuance to play together consistently well as a unit. By “consistently well” I mean the team we put out there each game is able to execute its game plan – and preferably win. That, by any account, is not what Liverpool have been this year.

It is not a pessimistic assessment of our dilemma, it is my candid acknowledgement. Nor is it because I want to be pessimistic; it is, as I said, an acknowledgement of what I observe. I cannot tell myself anymore, that if only we were not unlucky today with (fill in your example), or if only the referee had (again, fill in your preferred example), or … You get the point.

Then I ask myself, when I look at the way Spurs, and the two Manchester teams are playing, and the fact is, their fans could also (conveniently, if necessary) point to each game and pick out a handful of instances where they had “luck” or some referee or player decision went their way, they may have scored even more goals or won more convincingly!

But yet, those teams are playing with more consistency as a unit, and the chemistry and intensity they play with is evident for all to see. Mind you, they all also have players who are injured, rotated, “not in form,” etc. Yet, they are consistently playing as a coherent unit.

Then, there’s the psychological bit. Unlike Liverpool, the current top three teams are psychologically far more adept at coping and adjusting to moments of adversity on the pitch and, dare I say, are tactically more nuanced.

That psychological fragility in the Liverpool side is there for all to see – and it’s been seemingly baked into the collective psyche of the squad for a while now – even before Jurgen arrived. Of course, there’s no need to labor this point, which we see in regular frequency in defence and the midfield. Even when we do seem, in the rare instance, to show some steel in a particular game, quite predictably, the defence (and midfield) tends to revert to its old self in due course: as if it’s reverting to the norm for what should be a given about a Liverpool team (with the occasional exceptional performance by a particular individual notwithstanding).

To this, I’ll add one other observation: I’m convinced our team lacks a convincing spine. Again while we can all single out specific individuals for criticism, more critically, we fundamentally lack a spine comprising of a domineering centre-half and a commanding midfielder – with the footballing acumen – to manage the game for the team.

As a supporter, I’ve become numb by the sheer blandness and predictability of our mediocrity. The absence of energy, intensity in the play, only amplifies the lack of chemistry among the players. It seems all too formulaic yet pedestrian.

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  1. Wow. Fickle much.

    I bet you’ve never been to Anfield ever. This “article” is textbook TV watching sofa plastic fan mantra.

  2. Klopp’s Muddled Thinking

    (A) After Liverpool played Sevilla in the Europa League final, it was obvious that Moreno’s performance was the last straw. Carragher, a club legend, tweeted to the effect, with an expletive, that anybody at LFC, must sign a left back.

    Instead Klopp played a right footed midfielder at left back for virtually a whole season (2016/17) only to then laud Milner in the summer as virtually a new midfield signing.

    Confused? Well, hang on, it gets more convoluted. Klopp, after 4 transfer windows, signs a left back, Robertson, who puts in a man of the match performance against Palace (not difficult I know) & has a solid game in the Carabao Cup against Leics.

    His “reward” is that he doesn’t even make the bench for the league game against Newcastle.

    Worse still, Moreno makes a come back in to the starting 11, based on a few good pre-season games, in particular against Bayern Munich. One “fan” I know, metaphorically speaking, ejaculated in his pants at Moreno’s performance against Bayern in pre-season. The clue, darling, is in the word “pre-season.”

    Although Moreno’s rashness has been curbed, he still manages the headless chicken impersonation quite well. If anyone needs specific instances this season where he has been poor, I can provide them. So, let’s not justify Klopp’s selection with the language of mediocrity.

    Statements such as: “he has been ok” & “he’s the least of our worries” only self-perpetuates the culture of mediocrity.

    A top 4 club shouldn’t tolerate a headless chicken or a brain fart in its back 4.

    However, there are fans (aptly named Dick, sorry, Armhead) on Twitter who indoctrinate the flock with their generic, baseless & unsubstantiated claims that he played well, say for example, against Sevilla. Probe a little deeper & one will find that these fans are hollow in terms of their evidence.

    Some fans however don’t succumb to generalisations. Some of us are sad revisit a game & try to discern the errors leading up to a goal.

    These initial errors are not always picked up. Virtually everybody forgets the major errors that COULD have led to a goal. If a goal does not occur, it does not mean there wasn’t an error. Eventually luck runs out & such errors do lead to goals. Moreno, believe it or not, has made a number of errors this season.

    (B) Which manager insists on only a 1st choice signing with no back up plan? Answer: Jurgen Klopp (it seems).

    It’s acknowledged that nobody can be certain that this is Klopp’s stance, but once the varying reports are pooled & analysed, it’s clear that FSG were willing to stump up the money for an alternative but Klopp foolishly opted for first choice or no choice. He must now pay the price for such a rash decision.

    I understand that the type of centre back is critical to the way Klopp plays, but surely he should have known that an interim stop gap was required to replace Lovren/Klavan until the right CD became available.

    In any profession the incompetence of an individual is unlikely to preclude the employer from making the utmost effort to bring some type of upgrade?

    In Klopp’s case, the least he could have done was to bring in an upgrade on what he has until he can sign what he wants.

    Sadly, he hasn’t and they currently have the 3rd worst defensive record in the league.

    (C) First Mignolet is Klopp’s number 1, then it’s Karius & then it’s Mignolet & at one point the suggestion was that nobody is number 1. In other words, Klopp was talking shit again.

    It now transpires that one plays big games in the CL, the other in the PL.

    Does any sane individual think that Conte, Mourinho or Poch would do such a thing this season?

    It’s either a case of Klopp is STILL unsure who he’s number 1 is, which is farcical, or that he needs to satisfy his ego by giving his signing more goalkeeping time.

    Others suggest Mignolet finds it difficult concentration wise to play so regularly. What? Did I hear that right? Professional goalkeeper finding it difficult to play back-to-back games.

    Whatever the reasons it’s an unsatisfactory situation.

    (D) Question – Why would you substitute your best player this season twice in a row, in games you need to win, when he (Mane) has just returned fresh from a 3 match suspension? Having played poorly in his last 2 games, Mane still managed an assist.

    In the game against Spartak, he replaced Mane with Sturridge and against Newcastle, he was replaced by Solanke!!! Really?

    (E) Needless to say Klopp’s substitutions generally occur when it’s too little to late. Fancy making your first substitutions with less than 20 minutes to go.

    Before any fuckwit says it’s only happened a few times, without being able to back it up, I can assure it’s happened many times.

    Anyway when Ox replaced Salah with 6min to go I was baffled. By the time you scratch your balls, adjust yourself to the tempo of the game, the game is over. I am not saying that substitutions so late are always ineffective. The general point is that even Klopp’s first substitution is too late. When has a Klopp substitution definitively changed a game, or rather, when was the last time his substitutions definitively changed a game?

    (F) If I am not mistaken Liverpool rarely score in the last 15min of matches. All the energy is expended in the first half, so against Spartak & Newcastle, the team looked like a busted flush in the second half.

    But guess what? This is not something new. It happened against Sevilla in the Europa League final. Liverpool came out all guns blazing, cocks out, ejaculated and went to sleep in the second half. Fergie alluded to Liverpool’s lack of game management in this match.

    So what does Klopp do? He keeps playing the same way and makes his substitutions late to compound the problem. Don’t be surprised if the injuries pile up in the latter part of the season.

    These are just some of the reasons why I no longer have faith in Klopp, but if mediocrity rocks your boat, then so be it. I put it out there: Klopp, in my opinion, will not win us the Premier League or the Champions League.

    The sooner fans of this cheerleader realise, the better.

  3. Completely agree with Pete. What is the pint of this article? We have a decent squad but we haven’t the same finances as some the bigger clubs (yes we are not a powerhouse at the moment). We play some of the best football in the league often and whilst we have issues, especially in defence, look at the squad Klopp inherited. How much better are we now? Rome wasn’t built in a day and fundamentally if you have nothing good to say, especially with the platform you have, say nothing

  4. Actually, a good article. You have hit on many good points that others fail to either see or acknowledge. We definitely lack spine and leadership, mental toughness and a defiantly winning mentality. It’s the difference between skilled players and great players. Every player in the leagues is highly skilled but the best have an inherent drive and winning mindset in every move that they do. We lack that big time throughout the team and Klopp has our team overperforming. that can not and will not be sustainable and I think we are seeing that this year so far. No amount of “man coaching” will turn good players into league winning players.

  5. Thanks, John. I’ll return the compliment and say I share your point that premier league players are indeed highly skilled. The drive & mindset, as you say, can’t be underestimated. The issues that have been lately mentioned, such as the systematic patterns of lapse in concentration, switching off at specific moments, etc. are all not new to this team. They were suppose to have been addressed. These all speak to that fragility I am referring to. Do players in other highly performing teams occasionally switch off? Certainly. But having that “mental toughness” and a “winning mentality” you mention typically helps in overcoming these occasional lapses. Not in our case.

  6. Well said Sunil. I thought Klopp was up there with Guardiola and Mourinho. He isn’t top three. He’s top ten. He’s no idea how to build a defence. He’s being rude to journalists and entering the Twilight Zone of previous Liverpool managers. Plus he thinks Firmino is a striker. Disturbing.

  7. Great article. We’ve not got the players. The spine is mediocre starting with the captain. We’re playing poorly and there’s far too many fans who’ve backed themselves into a corner to be critical of either Klopp, Hendo or FSG. Two of those are average, klopps a good coach but needs the money.

  8. Muhammad,

    I appreciate your thoughts. There’s much to unpack in what you say. I want to remark that it’s important that there be a willingness among Liverpool fans to consider and respect perspectives such as yours. All too often, because some of us are critical of the team’s failings or not willing to gloss over problems as we see it, apparently we’re not true fans of the club. Thanks for putting your perspective out there.


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