THAT’S it then. All of the summer preparation has been building to this. Arsenal. Sunday. 4pm. The season begins. What kind of year will it be?
A brilliant one, obviously.
Liverpool’s league form left a lot to be desired last time out but, much like under Rafa Benitez in 2004-2005, it’s worth noting that the manager knew nothing about the domestic league and loads about Europe. In both season domestic form suffered but the managers saw their teams do well in European competition and took them to a League Cup final.
Suffice to say, history can offer us some positives in that sense, if we want to look for them. It’s also worth noting that the cup finals could have gone so very differently under alternative circumstances. If I offered you 3-0 down in a cup final or 1-0 up in one right now, which would you take? Which would you assume ended in the Reds lifting silverware?
Fine margins can so often be key.
Listening to Midnight Caller on TAW Player the other day I made a decision about the upcoming season. Neil, John and Jonathan Liew were talking about the way that people seemingly get so annoyed about everything nowadays and how everything lacks any degree of nuance.
I watched a bit of a TV show called The Interview last night and a bloke in it said that he’s known as ‘The Zebra’ because he sees everything in black and white. It should go without saying that he came across as a bit of a prick.
Aren’t we all guilty of that sometimes, though? I know I am. Seeing things in black and white I mean, not being a prick. Though I’m sure more than a few people would say I have a tendency to do that, too.
Whether it be Twitter or phone-ins, being able to sum up how you feel in short and succinct sentences has become de rigueur. We can all have a tendency to rush to judgment far too quickly, deciding a player is shit before 90 minutes is even up, let alone a full season.
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I’ve tried really hard recently to avoid telling people how they’re supposed to behave. It’s something I’ve definitely been guilty of in the past. If you’re a positive-thinking football fan like I am it’s really difficult not to tell the moaners that they’re doing it wrong. Mainly because I don’t get it. I don’t understand what the point in watching football is if you’re just going to complain about everything.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? I don’t understand, so what right have I to judge? If you’re the sort of person who wants to mock someone else for genuinely believing that the Reds can win the league this season then that’s fair enough. It’s not for me to judge.
We are going to win the league, though. I’ve honestly never been convinced so much of anything in my life.
But I digress. The point is I’m keen to turn over a new leaf. I don’t want anyone to be calling me The Zebra.
I want to see the colour. I want to view things with the nuance that they deserve. I’m as guilty as the next man of thinking that Albie Moreno is a brainless numbskull, or that Simon Mignolet is the root of all of our problems.
But in football it’s rarely ever just one player’s fault. Who lost the ball further up the field? Was someone out of position? Did the press fail at the wrong moment?
I’m going to try to think about those things when something goes wrong. I’ll also try to consider whether it was just good play from the opposition. That can happen, too.
My dad is prone to get annoyed with how Liverpool are playing without ever offering much thought to what the opposition have done. There are, of course, 11 other players on the pitch as well as an opposition manager — all with their own plans for how to stop the Reds from battering them all over the pitch. Their plans will fail more often than they succeed, but they will succeed from time to time and I’m going to try and recognise that fact.
“Who cares?” is an entirely fair response that you might be considering levelling at me right about now. I imagine you’ll fit into one of three categories: You get where I’m coming from and you might also try to keep an eye out for nuance this year; you already try to look at the whole picture and might well tweet me to tell me what else to look out for; or else you don’t have any idea what I’m banging on about and plan to let me know that you think I’m a prick.
Football is a complicated business. Fenway Sports Group aren’t the best owners that Liverpool Football Club have ever had, but that doesn’t automatically make them a complete waste of space.
Daniel Sturridge will get injured on occasion this season. That doesn’t mean that he’s a complete crock who can’t be relied upon. Roberto Firmino will misplace a pass several times in a 90-minute period. That is not a reason to think he’s a waste of a shirt.
That’s how I’m going to approach the season. If you don’t want to do that then that’s totally fine. I’m in no position to tell you otherwise. I’m hoping it will cause football to be a healthier experience for me, though. I reckon I’ll be less stressed if I can make it work for me, less inclined to lose my head.
Of course if Mignolet lets a ball slip through his fingers in the 90th minute against the Gunners on Sunday then my newly-discovered calmness might not last all that long. But then, a 4-1 win won’t be too bad, will it?
Up the Champions Elect Reds.
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For one, I don’t understand those who will keep measuring progress purely by the number of trophies. Watching Liverpool play is one of my joyys in life. Watching them play horribly at times gets me frustrated, to put it mildly.
But I know that I am not the manager. He has his role. Mine is to support, and I am going to do that without excessive moaning.
So, I am going to sit back and try and savour the journey, rather than explicitly look out for the end point.
Agree completely. The 13/14 season was one of the most joyous, thrilling, life-affirming experiences I’ve ever had. Yet there are many fans out there who would have you believe the season was nothing but a trophy-less failure.
The people who measure glory exclusively through trophies are truly missing the point of sport, and quite possibly life itself.
I thank the stars that TAW and writers like Adam exist, because I probably would have been driven out by the miserable wretches who dominate the social media surrounding the club.
Up the Reds.
Its a pretty sad thing that some people see in black&white, not because they don’t understand but that any movement away from B&W means possibly admitting they might have been wrong at times.
Its so easy for people to become so entrenched in a single belief that they dig their hole deeper and deeper, when simply seeing what happened and accepting how it happened and just rolling with it is far less stressful.
I can think of a decent handful of instances last season where the rage raged loudly on social media at a single cause – when simply seeing the bigger picture completely, or at least partially, dispels that.
Dunno why people bother…it’ll make them ill before long.
Nice positive post.
This is our year.
Klopp and the team performed some minor miracles last season. Let’s not forget some of those great performances against Chelsea and Man City. Those European games where we knocked the Red Devils so far out of Europe they ended up playing in the Soccer League MLS.
4-0 against Everton and the Southampton 6-1.
Two cup finals where we were SO CLOSE. Lost to penalties to Man City and perhaps an errant movement of Sturridge’s body from a 2-0 lead in the European Cup Final.
Those injuries. God damn those injuries. It looks to me the squad are better equipped to cope with them this season. Pace and steel added to the midfield.
New management in Manchester and Chelsea means only Arsenal can stop us winning the title. No European football is a paradoxically a huge plus in winning the league.
Put your money on it.
I have been a pessimist all my life. Going to change that with one line. We are going to win the league.
Leicester have changed everything, all teams will use them as motivation
This season may be the most open and competitive ever
Roll on Sunday. Whatever happens, the journey is what matters. Believe in the manager, the players and the backroom staffs.
Let’s start the season with positivity. Until its mathematically impossible for us to win the league than we can start the moaning.
Until then, like the man said, “Up the Champions Elect Reds!”
‘The people who measure glory exclusively through trophies are truly missing the point of sport, and quite possibly life itself.’
Is right. People only do this because they need to understand things in binary terms.
I firmly believe there are elements of our support who categorically do not want us to succeed because they have nailed their colours too tightly to the mast of pessimism and would rather be validated than happy.
So close to being completely prophetic