This has been doing my head in (a great old Scouse phrase if ever there was one). It has been doing my head in since the final whistle against Burnley and hopefully getting in down in writing will ease the pressure in my head and the all-consuming disappointment of losing. Daz has been asking me to write something for him for a while and I have really wanted to, but my writing has been focussed on a new book, but now I can’t even focus on that as The Reds have started to slip. Hopefully, I can release the writer’s block.
Just 3 or 4 years ago it would not have felt like this. It wouldn’t have been great after such a defeat, but not as bad as this. The last 3 years has made me become such a bad loser, that is what winning all the time does to you I suppose. The last 3 years have been amazing it’s been just like a PlayStation game, a career mode where you can take the Reds to glory on semi-professional. Life’s not like that though is it.
Teams have worked Liverpool out. If you are a coach, its not hard is it, you know what they do and how they do it, you can have a game plan and if you execute it you stop them. Executing the game plan against Liverpool over the last 3 years has not been easy but teams are now doing it more successfully. Stick with Liverpool, hang in the game, match their effort, have 2 banks of 5 and a keeper, and let them have the ball. Many teams have tried that approach over the years but the difference now is we have stopped finding a way through, the injury time winners, the belief, it’s just not there at the moment. It happened to City, City would go full-on for the first 15 minutes and blow teams away, then it stopped, people worked it out. Now The Reds need to work it out, find a different way of winning, we just need to work it out and quickly.
One of the last things I did before Covid gripped the world in February 2020 was, along with mamy other Reds sit up high (like back row high) in the Wanda Metropolitano and watch Liverpool toil for 90 minutes against a well drilled Athletico Madrid side, who after nicking an early goal sat on the lead for over 85 minutes. We had all the possession and did little with it, sound familiar? The return leg though was a different affair and the Reds absolutely battered them, how they came away with a result is still beyond me. They set up the same way but the initial energy just blew them away.
Liverpool look to have lost that energy post Covid and is it any surprise? We know for a fact Thiago, Trent, Salah and Mane have had Covid, it wouldn’t surprise me if a few more have as well. What are the long term affects for a professional athlete never mind a mere human being? We have lost the man who dictates the pace of our game at the back, in Big Virgil, and if that wasn’t a big enough blow we lose Gomez and Matip and we are now playing our key midfielders at centre half, losing the midfield energy. Since we lost Virgil our defence has been immense but the knock-on effects have been immense. I think you can get away with it for a while, playing out your skin that is, but at some point it catches up, and this is it, we are seeing now it is catching up with the lads. In all our recent games has anyone outplayed us? No! Has anyone had more possession? No!
But and it is a big but, there is no point winning the possession stats if you don’t do anything with it, and all of a sudden confidence is shot, not just theirs, but ours. Suddenly, we are questioning the team, individuals, even Jurgen himself. We are questioning these boys, the boys who have given us everything over 3 years. Now it’s time to keep the faith. It is right to question when things go wrong, that’s what you must do, but some of the stuff I have read since the final whistle, oh my word, some absolute nonsense being written. Don’t think for one minute that our Footy What’s App group wasn’t full of upset and questions about certain players and Jurgen himself, it was and it was a busy night reading messages. Just think on 5 weeks ago Pep had lost the plot, we were laughing at Olly at the wheel and look how things have turned, it can turn back so quickly, so let’s keep the faith cheer on the Red’s and believe. If a poor run means you question being a Liverpool fan, you are the wrong type of fan, football is not for you, maybe that’s modern fans for you, or maybe I’m just an old man believing in my team.
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