Christopher William Shankly Carline
I don’t think there is a Liverpool fan on the planet who can claim they didn’t watch the QPR game yesterday and feel a plethora of emotions and feelings. Frustration, anger, embarrassment and relief were some of those that I personally felt; some more than once and not necessarily in that order.
The post Suarez hangover however on the face of it seems to have made our already defensive frailties worse, and found it’s way further up field to tamper with our fluidity and goal scoring prowess. I however; do not subscribe to it being all down to the knock on effect of being without the majestic Uruguayan and quite frankly; think it is about time the players looked within themselves and stepped up to drag us from our slumber.
Of course losing Luis Suarez was going to impact us. He is a genius and was our leading goal scorer; our talisman. And of course; players have every right to feel sad and depressed by the loss of a man who was as popular off the pitch as on it; as we fans do, but enough is enough now.
The majority of our playing squad are international players. Right now; there are far too many of these players who are letting the manager down with sub standard performances. Far too many who are waiting for someone to wake them from their slumber when the only way they will wake is if they wake themselves. It isn’t going to just happen for you. You have to make it happen for yourself.
Take the back four yesterday. Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren and Enrique. Three out the four, established international players in their positions, one a £20 million pound acquisition only last Summer on the back of fantastic performances at Southamption; and all four, established Premier League players with a wealth of experience. There is no way therefore; that overnight, these players lose the basic ability to defend, regardless of who they are playing for, what system they play in, or who their team mates are or were.
There are far too many schoolboy individual errors perpetrated by experienced players who look half a sleep and at times, disinterested. Take the first equaliser. Vargas starts the move with a chipped punt. Experienced defenders allow a QPR player a completely free header in the six yard box, to head back across goal where the man who started the move is running in, off the left shoulder of our left back who has fallen asleep and paid the price. Take the second equaliser. Despite players pointing to the space where the delivery is likely to go, Liverpool players are once again sleeping allowing a QPR player to beat them to the punch. It is all silly schoolboy, lackadaisical defending that players of this calibre simply should not be guilty of.
Worse still is that yesterday, the tardiness seemed to have spread to further up field. No fluidity; no movement no sharpness or intensity (Sterling aside). We were outfought and out played by a side bottom of the Premier League who everyone freely admits should have taken the three points themselves rather than none.
It has fallen on some fans to blame the manager but I certainly don’t subscribe to it. Other than up front; the team is better on paper this year than last year. The only thing I blame the manager for is inflicting Mario Balotelli on us. He took a gamble and it has failed. I said it would and I’m correct. We need to cut losses and resign him to the bench for a run of games. Mario’s problem is that he has never displayed the potential to change his attitude and work hard to dig himself out of a hole. He has a victim’s mentality and always will; and the problem is that what is needed now to solve the problem is a good dose of home truths, hard work and a reality check for players. The fact is that these players need to be told right now; to stop feeling sorry for themselves; to shake it off and to put the hard work in again to drag themselves back to something resembling form, as right now the poor level of individual performances is collectively resulting in the poor form of the team. We believed in the system last year and we believed in the style of play last year. That hasn’t changed.
The concern is that this all needs to happen before Wednesday, otherwise I fear an embarrassment of magnitude could befall us.