Thursday, 22 October 2009

Reds in 'Crisis' is just press hyperbole

The past few days has been difficult for Liverpool fans and the defeats have been hard to take. The press who have taken the form of the school yard bullies shouting abuse from the back of the bus, have delighted in the Reds loss of form, filling their newspapers with stories, articles, analysis and expert opinion. Most are sharpening their axes claiming Liverpool's season is on the brink of collapse. The press are not known for changing their tune, as they wrote off Liverpool after their third match, ten days into the current Premier League season. Eight weeks ago the headline where: -

"Are Liverpool already out of this year's title race?" - The Guardian

"Crisis looms as Rafael Benítez hunts for answers" - The Telegraph

Eight weeks later and nothing has changed: -

"Liverpool in crisis: the problems facing Rafael Benitez" - The Telegraph

"Rafael Benítez: 10 mistakes that have cost Liverpool" - The Guardian

A 'crisis' is always on the 'brink' according to the newspapers, as that is always what they write about. The Guardian has practically ran a poll every other week asking if Benitez was to blame for the current lull in form and if Liverpool's title challenge was already over.

The papers, salivating at the prospect of axing a massive scalp, smell blood and Liverpool football club is as big as they come.

But lets step back from the baying crowds, forming a circle with their attention screaming headlines and look at the situation with objective calmness.

There is almost seven months left of the Premier League Season to play.

29 Premiership matches remain to be played, totalling 87 points left to earn.

Liverpool after nine matches, have currently earned: 15 points.

Manchester United after nine games last season had accumulated: 18 points.

Although the currents slump in form is agonising for the fans and the way the team is playing is of deep concern, 'Crisis' is hardly the correct description. The current 'normal' thing to do with teams in this situation is to 'sack' the manager and this is where it appears common sense has left the building, screaming all the way to the funny farm. What happened to:

'Analysing the situation', 'identifying problems' and 'working harder to solve them'?

Unfortunately these otherwise 'normal' pursuits have been abandoned in place of a press invented, gladiator style spectator sport, where extreme actions are the only remaining option.

The cheap and easy route is sacking, with no guaranteed replacement. Dalglish and Mourinho are names that have have been thrown around, but would the 'special one' really come to a club whose owners promise 'big money', but actually deliver 'little money'? Mourinho is without question a gifted manager, but he is more interested in his own personal goals then the long term plans of the club that employs him. One suspects managing Liverpool football club would only be another notch on Mourinho's bed post.

Dalglish, a known supporter of Benitez, who last managed over a decade ago, would be privy to Rafa's problems with the owners and the clubs finances, would never return to managing the club. Although Dalglish remains the fans favourite and the mere mention of his name induces romantic notions of the 'king' returning to his sleeping kingdom to rescue it from its plight, a more sober view is needed.

Rafael Benitez is well known as a man that eats, sleeps and thinks football 24/7. He commonly works 12-14 hour days, or even longer when there are massive matches on the horizon. His office is stacked high with DVD's and video cassette's of matches of up-coming opponents, previous LFC matches and players to watch. He analyzes victories as well as defeats, scrutinising every aspect of the game in order to pin point why a match was won or lost. In short, he is a workaholic striving for excellence in his team and has the best interests of the club at heart.

The club, the players, coaching staff and fans must all support one another during the hardest times, because how you overcome adversity defines who you are.

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