Being a football fan isn’t always fun, but there are some teams that seem to attract the more delusional types. Arsenal fans, for example, can regularly be heard calling for the head of Arsene Wenger despite the fact they would probably be in the Championship but for the Frenchman, or bemoaning his lack of spending while other clubs end up in massive debt or paying the wages of a useless player for some time. I’d hesitate to say any team is the worst for this, but fans of Liverpool can be particularly infuriating with their combination of nostalgia and unrealistic expectations.
This week a few have been saying the sales at the club are not enough, and more players need moving on. Some even took the opportunity of seeing Stewart Downing score in the Europa League as an excuse to say he should be offloaded and replaced with a world-class player, but none of those naysayers seem to have grasped the key fact, that world-class players aren’t that interested in playing for Liverpool right now.
A few years back a lot of players had grown up watching Liverpool, knowing they were the best side in the world, and could look at a club still very much in the Champions League. Indeed, under Rafa Benitez the team could logistically have won the league with the right support, but once again idiotic infighting and power struggles at Anfield cost Liverpool any opportunity of that. Now, however, the team is some way off the top four, and the glory days are looking further and further away with every passing season.
Moving for Brendan Rodgers was the right sort of decision for the new owners, as he is progressive, characterful and capable of coaching a side in the modern way, unlike Kenny Dalglish, who seemed to struggle with the way the game had progressed, but it will not create short-term results. The more complex your game-plan, the more time it will take to put into place, and unlike Alan Pardew or Tony Pulis, Rodgers will not arrive at the club to find many people who are on his wavelength.
From a fans point of view, patience is now the only watchword they can adopt, but if the Kop thinks back to last year when they applauded the Swansea side off the pitch after they’d come to Anfield and played some beautiful stuff they’ll have reasons to be cheerful. Liverpool may not be signing the likes of Van Persie or Cavani right now, but in a few years’ time they may even produce an Iniesta of their own.