We’ve Got The Dreamers’ Disease

Posted by Lacey on September 19, 2006, 08:39:54 PM

Welcome to no-mans land. The abyss. That space between two places that no-one quite understands.

25th May, 2005

The symbol of the impending end of 15 years of hurt? Rafa proving his reputation as a minute miracle man, the man who de-throned Real Madrid and Barca in one season at Valencia, had managed to win the Champions League with Liverpool in a season, the re-throning of a giant awaits surely…A city holds it’s collective breath.

13th May, 2006

No Premiership title, but a year of hard grafting, scrapping, left us as close nearly rans, an astonishing 28 points closer to Champions Chelsea and with another big cup under the belt of Rafael Benitez, this time in the form of the F.A. Cup. We believed again. 16 years we waited, we worked, we dreamed, 16 years and now as the time neared we….jumped the gun?
A summer signing spree, mainly focusing on the injection of pace and attacking flair and quality into a rugged defensive team possibly further ballooned beliefs, egos even? We were back after all, and now the world would have to bow back down to us…surely? We are..not QUITE there yet I am sorry to say.

An excellent defensive team, solid, unbreakable at times, we even rivaled Chelsea for clean sheets last year. This year, 4 first team attackers added, anticipation reached fever pitch. This was it..surely. So why now, even at this early stage, do so many of us feel that unfathomable sinking feeling? That anti-climax. Like our dream is not quite going to plan.

That is not to say of course, that it’s all gone to pot, but there is that uncomfortable feeling around that we are not quite reaching our potential again, we have been here before lest we forget….STOP!!!...patience. Patience is the most important virtue for a fan at the moment. We have our solid base at the back, we have the players to add the flair, width and pace up front, all the ingredients are there…and yet no fireworks I hear you say? The single most important word in Rafael Benitez’s vocabulary, and it should be in yours, get a pen and paper, I want you to remember this, here in lies the secret of Rafa’s success, what he is looking to create at Liverpool, what he’s been telling us all along…Balance. Balance is the key.

Defensive? Attacking? Nay! …say ‘Balanced’

As a team, we have had our character defined and redefined so many times, by so many people. The press, rival managers, past managers, past players, current players, rival fans, pundits and ourselves alike. For the last 7 or so years Lfc has been a club without a style, and a lot of people ready to label us. Under Gerard Houllier we were a defensive and boring team. In Benitez’s first two seasons we were probably the most effective defensive team in England, not boring but alas, not Barcelona. However, this season our label is changing to a much more attacking team they say, more willing to throw caution to the wind they say. 4 new attackers in the starting 11, pace, width and excitement, and yes, our defence does seem somewhat more frail as a result, but now we are focused on attack, we are developing an attacking team…right?

Nay. We must surely show Rafael Benitez more respect than to openly believe that after two years, he would completely change his approach, dismiss all the gradual building he had done to create his defensive side. So what then? We are not developing an attacking team, we are developing an attacking side, to a BALANCED team. You want a label for the Liverpool fc of the early 21st century? Balanced, perfectly. Benitez has at times tried to keep our sights in focus, however following the long wait, and the excitement of the last two years perhaps we may be excused for getting a bit ahead of ourselves. We asked Benitez in an online interview, ‘is this Liverpool team as good as your Valencia team was? Or better even?’ to which Rafa summised, without hesitation or deliberation.. “no. absolutely not. Not yet”

Are we striving for a superbly defensive, efficient side? No. Are we striving for a quick, innovative side? No. We are looking for the balance between. A team that moves fluidly from intelligent, solid defending to quick, slick, wham bam attacking football.  We are no team of superstars, we are a collection of grafters, even our attacking players are those who have displayed their fire, their desire and willingness to throw everything they have at teams. Work till their socks are stained with Liverpool’s blood.

Are we as good as Valencia were, not a chance, those of you who remember ‘those games’ when we got a taste of a rafalution before our own one was ever dreamt showed us a level of football we have still yet to achieve. But that is our aim. Is this another optimist on a delayal quest, oh maybe in another 2 years we might be closer we say…no, we are there…we are so close we can almost touch it…but we must not yet expect it. We have reached the fine tuning and tweaking stage of the Rafalution. The point at which Rafa has his team, Rafa has his staff, Rafa has his backing…now we just need to be focused on our jobs, it is only now that Rafa will look to unleash his very own brand of football upon the Premiership. Why wait? Because we weren’t ready, simple as.

Are we going to be boring, oh god no, Rafa’s kind of football is really, some of the best in the world. It is Special. It takes a great level of understanding, belief, work-rate and talent to be able to play it. But we are there now. It is now we can be allowed to play with freedom, play with style, play with conviction, courage, intelligence…in all truth; ‘Rafa’s football’ is no more than an extension of the man himself. It is beautiful football. We saw that at Valencia, if you were too young, or perhaps never took the time to see what Rafa had done before now, you may not know what to expect, but by god you will love it.

The time for belief is now, but alas again we build this momentum of belief and get ahead of ourselves, jump the gun, over step the boundary. We won the Champions league, for a number of reasons, but find me someone that can honestly tell me he doesn’t believe that the belief and passion instilled by the ‘12th man’ didn’t play a BIG part. We must not lose sight of our jobs as fans. Moaning and groaning when things don’t quite work for us now is not the answer, we are not there yet, and Rafa would probably tell you we have proved nothing yet. If we lose the 12th man we weaken ourselves. Sections of us do seem to have contracted the ‘Dreamers Disease’ the belief that we should be one step ahead of where we are, and to trip over ourselves as we go seems unimaginable.

We’re close, very close. Dreams are nearing reality. But not yet, not yet.

© Lacey 2006

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