Oh God Doctor I am at that place once again, you know the one, where my mind begins to beguile me, hallucination with misconception – Convinced of a 19th League Title on the horizon, as close that I can touch it, I can see my reflection mirror like from its shiny silver – oh how I have missed you. My eyes paint a picture of Steven Gerrard striding up the stairs of the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon to collect our 6th European Cup in 2014.
From what I am reading and hearing from Liverpool supporters on many forums, the above is as much a reality in many a mind as it is farfetched in as many more.
We have indeed found ourselves in this position before, where the incoming manager is left drowning in a flood of over the top expectations, how personnel that the previous season could not perform to the standard required, will suddenly under Rodgers become World beaters – Brendan Rodgers was quite right to dissect the Liverpool fan base, alongside all footballing fans, from all clubs, into three categories – Those that can support, those that cannot support and finally those who refuse to support, regardless of any results.
What the football fan fails to comprehend and what he or she is lacking – is patience. Liverpool is a prime example, a club built on foundations of togetherness where success was shared amongst the masses and for that matter failure.
Liverpool fans have a great understanding of football, what it takes to impress, a renowned group of footballing connoisseurs – with it a great expectation and with bated breath they await their very own Phoenix rising from the flames.
Unfortunately for Brendan Rodgers, before a ball has been kicked in anger, his own Liverpool managerial experience yet to commence on the field – we read such quotes as “He reminds me of Shankly” “He has a connection with the supporters already” “The best Manager since the last one” and it goes on, but hopefully you get the idea, where Swansea has been linked in such a skew whiff way, like a Times crossword the answer becomes Brazil or Holland, wow TOTAL FOOTBALL .
I fear the instant age that we now find ourselves in, may force upon Rodgers an unnecessary pressure on his fledgling shoulders. What is the probability that after 3 training sessions with his new squad – Stewart Downing suddenly becomes a World beater or perhaps Jay Spearing begins to realize that he is not Zidane.
Liverpool down the years, even through less successful times has always had that ethos of passing and moving – a footballing team, the suggestion now is that Brendan Rodgers will somehow bring this to the club – for me it was there on many occasions under Dalglish last season and through his tenure – was the way we played really an issue?
Having said all of the above I think of all the young managers who were available to the owners, the selection of Brendan Rodgers was the correct decision - With that ballsy resolution to what at times was a pantomime, not always the fault of the owners, more a media frenzy coupled with a dotty old chairman from Lancashire who became intent on reminding the country through the medium of Sky Sports, that he was indeed still alive and well, living in an old folks home in Wigan – Dave Whelan.
What will be of interest in concern of Liverpool’s new manager, will be how and if he is prepared to blood young talent – Where it became increasingly difficult for the last regime – as it found itself under such pressures, that would not allow such folly – It was as if Dalglish had listened to Hansen too much on the golf course – “You Win Nothing With Kids”. Essential to the growth of the club there can be no intermission of the conveyor belt, we have to constantly strive to produce our own – how this is done will prove problematic as it did for Benitez and also Dalglish.
One would hope that Rodgers has already a plan of action in place, to enhance the opportunity to blood our crop of great young players, with a suggestion that many will be farmed out to clubs with a similar style to that required by Liverpool – Already Swansea, Norwich and Reading have been mention. This is a direct opposite approach to that of Dalglish, who preferred to keep young players at the club.
If we take a moment to look back to when Rafa Benitez became the club’s manager in 2004, the comparison with the squad that Brendan Rodgers now has at his disposal is favorable, if additions were to be purchased of strong mind and quality, then realistically a strong challenge and assault on the top 4 is a very achievable target – We must however accept that Rodgers must be allowed the opportunity to instill his footballing philosophy, giving the time and patience for it to flourish successfully.
Those that remember Benitez with his bloody zonal marking, were we ever truly happy to accept that – but looking back now for three seasons Liverpool’s defensive record would indeed be impressive. Benitez would buy time for all his experiments by being a perpetual qualifier of the Champions League – somewhere Dalglish would fail.
So Doctor do I book my hotel room for Lisbon 2014 whilst there are rooms still available – Or am I prescribed something awfully strong to help with such delusions…..I think not, for never forget we are a special, very special club and William Shankly taught us to always dream, those dreams would lead me to Rome, Wembley, Paris and Istanbul – Hotel booked.
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