An unconvincing victory after a long spell of bad luck proved to be insignificant for Liverpool FC, and instead of a miraculous lifeline into the Champions League, they were faced with elimination and a lot of ridicule.
Not only are they now left to deal with not being in the top four of the premier league, injuries, and a manager under scrutiny, Liverpool are also facing financial issues that seem to be getting worse.
As a Liverpool fan, what follows this defeat is embarrassment. It’s not fun to be mocked and to picture Sir Alex Ferguson’s delighted sneer at the final whistle of last night’s game. We all know of his attempt at working his mind games on Rafael and it might be believed that he had some effect in leading Liverpool's downfall. However, all that is left to happen now is the blame game.
Who are we going to blame now? Ferguson? Benitez? The players? The physiotherapist?? Every time something goes wrong, people look for someone to turn the blame to. It can’t always work this way. Global warming isn’t the result of one factory’s pollution, but a combined effort in destroying planet earth.
How long will this continue? Maybe someone needs to get to the bottom of this, but what we really don’t need right now is someone to point fingers at.
If you look into it one person at a time, you’ll realise that no person single-handedly led Liverpool to its sad fate.
Quite a few people have been saying that the manager is to blame. I don’t think so. This is still the same manager we had back in 2005 when we won the Champions League, made the finals back in 2007, and when we reached the quater’s the following year. He hasn’t changed, so one season with no Champions League success and suddenly all fingers are pointed at him?
Admittedly, he has had no luck with the Premier League, but so far in the last 19 years, no one has. Wenger hasn’t won a single Champions League trophy and made the finals only once, yet he’s still a top manager and it can’t be denied. He’s had a few bad signings, but hasn’t Ferguson, too? But so far he’s been one of the most successful managers.
Last-minute goals conceded also aren’t Benitez’ fault. If a team is playing well for the first 80 minutes and concedes two goals in 10 minutes, how can you turn the blame onto the manager? Was it Benitez’ fault that some fan threw that beach ball on to the field? He is a smart man that’s previously been very successful in the Champions League; sure he’s made a few very weird substitutions, but it seemed more like a desperate attempt to revive a semi-injured team.
Every team faces injuries and we had our share of them last season. Torres was missing for quite a while, as well as Steven Gerrard for games against Chelsea and United. Even with injuries, they managed to make it to second place as well as make it to the quarter finals last year; but yes, this year was much worse.
More than 10 injuries since the start of the season? That can’t be of any help; and yes, it could be the reason why Liverpool isn’t working, too many injuries lead to too many changes, but you can blame no one for injuries. Their training will always be spot on and diets perfect. If someone takes a bad knock at the game, it’s all part of football.
Although lack of proper financial support is another addition to the list of reasons why Liverpool has faltered this season, it cannot be completely because of it. It’s not as if Liverpool were mighty rich before this season and suddenly couldn’t afford anything, even proper shoes and shirts.
Sure, we could have used a new striker and some proper help in defence, but minus Alonso and Arbeloa, we had the same team the previous seasons and it didn’t go too badly. We can blame the owners for not being supportive enough, but blaming them isn’t going to make them drop a pool of cash on the team. If only it would....
Yes, I’ll admit that in my head his departure is probably the biggest reason why Liverpool have not been performing up to par. It’s like a puzzle; you remove the centre piece and no matter how much you try to cover it up, unless you find a piece of an equal fit, things will seem incomplete. This is exactly the case for Liverpool; players like Lucas can never be the right fit, but this cannot be used as an excuse.
United lost a key player in Cristiano Ronaldo at the same time, yet are performing much better in both the Premier and Champions League. Liverpool are not a one-man team, how many times has it been said? We cannot leave all our blame on the departure of one player and then claim not to be a one-man team.
Maybe all of these factors put together have led Liverpool to their breakdown, but it certainly isn’t just one of them. Winning is a collective effort and losing can’t just be the work of one person. By blaming Rafael Benitez, or individual players, we’re not standing together. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” isn’t only for the good times. Supporting Liverpool is like being in a relationship, you can’t stick by them through the good days when there are the bad days to handle too.
Here’s a great team, with a truly magnificent history, but it can’t always be perfect. I’m sure Shankly, Paisley, and Houllier had their bad days, too, and had times where things seemed impossible at that moment, but they slowly built Liverpool as a team, making them a feared name till date.
Players have come and gone, great players like Rush, Dalglish, and even Robbie Fowler, but things didn’t deteriorate once they left. Like any great club, Liverpool will continue to improve through the season and hopefully learn from their mistakes in the next; till then it’s only right to avoid the blame game and enjoy the football.