Re-writing History, A Look to the Not So Distant Past
Posted by alonsoisared on April 26, 2015, 07:44:17 PM
One thing I think everyone can agree on, is that the last month has been shite.
After returning to form since Christmas, Brendan's Reds had closed down a ten point gap, winning big games at Anfield against Spurs and Man City, and on the road at Swansea and Southampton. 12 points from those four coupled with a defence and a goalkeeper that suddenly forgot what it was like to concede a goal, in with a fighting chance for FA Cup glory and all was looking well again. Our manager, after finding himself under scrutiny after a tough start to the season was being championed once more for his ability to mix things up and get us playing again, both within the media and our support. A couple of bad results against United and Arsenal followed up with a horrendous showing at Wembley has seen a huge tide change in our support. This feels very different to the pressure earlier in the season; many appear to have completely lost faith in the boss.
Questions immediately started arising about the bottle of this side. Yes, once we were miles back and the pressure was off, we started playing again. But as soon as we were back in with a sniff of it, we buckled and threw it away. This team does not have the character. "If we had the character, we would have won the league last season."
Every time somebody mentions last season, part of me wants to sit in a little corner and weep quietly to myself. How could it have ended in such bitter disappointment? Another part of me wants to tell anyone and everyone about just how fucking great we were.
We have come close to winning the league in my lifetime, but this time it was different. I can look back fondly on 08/09. After a couple of months of extreme frustration over Christmas and into February we went on a monumental run where we just couldn't stop winning. I don't need to reel of the wins, but it was great fun. Now and then i'll watch highlights of the win at the Etihad that year, the win at Old Trafford, the Madrid game, the late winner at Portsmouth, and i'll still feel joyful. Whenever I see Torres leaving Vidic on his arse before slotting home the equaliser I never once fail to clench my fists. And don't get me started on that Fulham game. Get in there Yossi you little beauty.
Last season though, it is just too fucking painful. I would love to look back at Spurs home and away, United home and away, Everton home, Arsenal home, Fulham away, West Ham away, Man City at home, Norwich away and feel pride, the same way I do about 08/09. Unlike 08/09, this was genuinely in our hands. For many of us, it was our first proper
title challenge. We'd never seen our team sweep the rest of the country and the rest of Europe aside like some the older folk had, finally it looked like our time had come. Coutinho's winner against Man City on the most emotional occasion and I was sat at home thinking for the first time...fuck me, I think we might actually do this. With three games to play, we had it in our hands.
And then, came Chelsea. I just had a look on the official site and apparently tomorrow is a year since that afternoon. Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea. I'm shaking my head just fucking typing it. 12 wins on the bounce, only to be scuppered by that horrible bastard and his horrible bastard fucking club. I remember the overwhelming disappointment that day, I also remember partly thinking there's still a great chance that Palace or Everton could do us a favour. What I certainly don't remember, is anyone questioning the bottle or the leadership of Brendan Rodgers.
Fast forward a year (or 364 days) and in the frenzy to label our team as a bunch of bottlers and our manager as a chancer who came close to winning #19 because of the ability of Luis Suarez and the fact that our competition was shite, I have also seen a lot of people reference how last season ended to emphasise their point. Apparently, we bottled it. For me, this is completely re-writing history and I do not understand why people are doing it. I can only guess that there are a lot of people in our fanbase who have never taken to Brendan, and now is the time to twist the knife.
Again, take your mind back to last season. Chelsea with games in hand were in front but blew it with bad results at Palace, Villa and at home to Sunderland (amongst a few others). Man City had it in their hands but surrendered it in the space of a few days after dropping points to Arsenal and Sunderland at home. The Reds though, well we just kept winning. Everyone questioned, going into the last ten games, whether our inexperienced team and our inexperienced manager could handle the pressures of a title race. I remember after coming through that Sunderland game at Anfield (the same Sunderland who would go on to take points off both of our competitors) Carragher making the same point on Sky. Everyone questioned our bottle, but we looked completely fearless, completely unfazed.
The bollocks we showed to get through at Fulham with the late winner after going behind twice, away at West Ham where it could so easily have gone tits up after a foul on our keeper was ignored to stun us at half time. We saw out the last twenty minutes of that game without hardly giving them a touch of the ball. Nobody was questioning our character then. Neither were they questioning our character when we got through several other "must win" games in that run. Which takes me to the Manchester City game. That was our biggest domestic game for twenty years, coinciding of course with the Hillsborough anniversary, the talk of Gerrard's last shot at the league title. We stormed into a lead with fearless, attacking football. Man City showed their class to get back in but did we falter? Did we lack the fight? Did we shite ourselves and surrender? Did we fuck, Coutinho smashed us back in front and the mighty reds had the title in their hands. Nobody was questioning our bottle or our character then.
When we brought in Brendan Rodgers, we were not bringing in a man who had won masses of silverware in the past. We weren't hiring the finished article. We were not hiring somebody for the short term, who would come in, win a couple of trophies and piss off elsewhere. All of this is now being used against him as soon as the chips are down. Every manager starts with no medals won but I firmly believe that Brendan has shown that he can take us forward. We didn't win anything last season, but it is impossibly unfair to not give our man credit for what he achieved. And although we have gone backwards this season, we are still in a far healthier position than we were before he came in. We were in free fall for 3 seasons under 3 different managers. I worried earlier in the season that free fall might return but to turn it around post christmas, for me, showed the character we have seldom shown in the last decade when things have started to go wrong.
I believe it to be incredibly unfair to label this manager and his squad as bottlers. We should not forget how much we overachieved last season, which largely is accepted to be because of our character, will to win and because of our young manager who's style became the envy of many clubs across Europe. We have won enough big games in the last couple of seasons to suggest to me that while we do have a problem at the moment, mentality isn't it. To see our own fans play down last season is mystifying to me. That season earns any manager the opportunity to fix his errors a season on. We took the piss out of Spurs enough when they sacked AVB, imagine if he took them from 7th to within a whisker of the title, playing breathtaking attacking football, and then sacking him the season after having lost their best player. We would be laughing our cocks off.
Brendan Rodgers deserves time. We deserve to see the plan when we brought him in honoured and brought to fruition. It was going to take time, so let it take time. We have already had more than a glimpse of how he can get us playing. I really fear we would only end up kicking ourselves if the baying mob that have appeared in the last month get their way.
View Comments | Post Comment