Why it sucks to be a Liverpool fan: Defeat from the jaws of victory

I have always been a fan of the US Women’s National Team because I played soccer when I was younger and they are, independent of my playing soccer, really amazing.  This led to me becoming a fan of World Cup football more generally and recently fate has conspired to draw me into being a follower of Liverpool’s football team.

This is a mixed-blessing.  It means I get to watch more football and talk about it with people who care way, way too much about it.  But it also means I am following one of the most frustrating sides I’ve ever followed.  I’ve just been following for this season, so I don’t know the deep history beyond they hate Everton and Man Utd., and that, at some point, they were really good.

They aren’t bad, far from it, they tend to dominate on possession, have impressive passing completion, do beautiful things with their footwork, and have several stand out players.  Luis Suarez is their striker-in-chief, and he is fantastic (and from the beautiful Uruguayan team, though he himself is not one of their beauties), Raheem Sterling is up front and also good, but very green (and definitely a beauty), and there is ever reliable and brilliant captain Stephen Gerrard.  The problem is that this trio appears to be the entirety of the team — Suarez is the second highest scorer in the league, and has had a hat-trick, but that’s because he’s the only striker.  Liverpool also has the dubious honor of having picked up more red cards than most of the teams.

In every game I’ve watched, they have looked to be the superior side.  In every game I’ve watched, the score did not reflect that.  For some reason, it seems as if the Liverpool team cannot turn excellent chances on goal and possession into actual goals.  Really, every article written about every game they’ve played has mentioned something about how unlucky they were.  And they have been extraordinarily unlucky, with bad calls and not getting calls, but at some point the team has to take ownership of their repeated failures.  At some point it’s not luck, it’s Liverpool, quite consistently turning what should be wins into draws and losses, and what should be blow-outs into slight wins.

I hesitate to blame Brendan Rodgers, though his style of coaching is definitely aimed at possession and passing more than attacking, but it’s clear that the strategy is not working with the players he has.  Coaching isn’t just about building the best team, and Rodgers can’t help the players, some of whom were monstrously overpriced, that he’s inherited and had trouble changing this summer.  But the players are what they are and his coaching strategy doesn’t seem to be getting them to where they need to be.  They aren’t at risk from dropping out of the league, no, but they still have a negative goal differential.

Undoubtedly, Rodgers is playing a long game hoping to get a better team together in the future and he really just has to play well enough to keep from dropping from the Premiere League.  They seem safe and solidly in the middle of the pack, which I suppose is good enough for him, but it sure makes it suck to be a Liverpool fan.  Here’s hoping January brings a striker.


  1. Rodney Nelson says

    At least you’re not a QPR fan. They finally made it to the Premier League but unless they win most of their remaining games, they’ll be relegated.

  2. Ashley F. Miller says

    Is there a place with stats of how likely a team is to survive the bump up to the next league?

  3. Pablo17 says

    Really surprised to see a football post round here, even more a LFC one! Just had to stop lurking, really.
    It´s not Brendan´s fault, really. The team isn´t good enough, and it shows. The disaster with the last owners AND really bad use of the ONE big transfer budget the new owners could afford has left us with a shallow squad, lacking both quality and experience, and no useful bench options. When previous managers spent 18 million pounds on a winger (Downing) that’s clearly shown to be worst than raw 17 and 18 year old players from the youth Academy (Sterling and Suso) you know that big changes in personal are needed.
    The fact that we can play very good football with a team that needs improvement in every single position shows what a great manager Brendan is/will be.
    I´m curious, what made a LFC fan?

  4. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    FWIW Liverpool FC were massively successful both in English and European competition in the 70s & 80s. The 90s saw them eclipsed by Man Utd (playing in red, L’Pool like to think that there is only one red team) and they haven’t really been on top since.

    Liverpool fans are great to wind up because they still tend to think that their team is better then it actually is. Everton, being local rivals, have been doing very well recently after spending relatively little money on players so that has to hurt.

  5. AsqJames says

    And they have been extraordinarily unlucky, with bad calls and not getting calls

    I’m a Goodison ST holder, so admittedly biased, but I really don’t think LFC are getting more than their share of poor calls from the officials this season. To long time fans it may seem like it though because for so many years they were among the favoured teams and got the refereeing benefits that come with that status. They’re now a mid-table team and no longer getting the breaks they used to and it hurts.

    Get used to it though, LFC are in the unfortunate position of having a Champions League level wage bill (mostly being paid to average or below average PL players) with little or no hope of getting back to CL level revenue. There are only 2 routes back to the top four and CL contention:

    1) Massive investment (AKA “doing a Man City/Chelsea”) which requires an owner who’s prepared to make huge and ongoing losses. This is a fairly accurate description of precisely what Mr John W Henry et al at FSG are not. A rich arab or Russian oligarch might buy the club, but for several reasons they are much less attractive to such buyers than even just a few years ago.

    2) Getting the right manager in who’ll spend 5-10 years buying undervalued players, improving those players while getting good value out of them (i.e. outperforming the league average on a points/wages basis) then selling at a profit. It’s harder to know whether Mr Rodgers fits this criteria, but unsuccessful spells at Watford and Reading don’t auger well. He did fairly well at Swansea, but the foundations had been built by Roberto Martinez before him. In the second half of last season his over-emphasis on keeping possession in their own half ahead of attacking the opposition goal was found out and exploited.

    On the other hand, Portsmouth (and Leeds United before them, and Sheffield Wednesday before them) have shown what can happen if a club over-reaches for too long.

  6. Wrath Panda says

    Also unlurking to offer my condolences on choosing Liverpool as your team. As a long suffering fan (30 years) I can tell you that the current state of the club is preferrable to the state of a few seasons ago when we were minutes away from the creditors calling in the debts and sending the club into administration.

    As for the history of the rivalry between LFC, Everton and Manchester United, it is mainly based around locality and success. Manchester United and Liverpool are the two most successful clubs in England (19 and 18 league titles respectively). Liverpool and Manchester have not been particularly friendly neighbours for a long time, in part due to a certain small section of so called fans taking delight in making fun of the other teams tragedies. It has certainly added a certain…frisson to proceedings.

    Everton are a slightly different matter. There is no more than half a mile between Anfield and Goodison Park. In fact Anfield was Everton’s home until 1892. Unlike other local rivalries (as in Manchester) where a family would support one of the two teams only, in Liverpool families would be split into red and blue with no problems. Indeed, I have stood on the Kop shoulder to shoulder with Everton fans and had a damn good time. Regrettably, this atmosphere has all but disappeared in recent years.

    We are in a transitional period at the moment. Unfortunately, we’ve been saying that for 20 years now. Still, there’s always next year…

  7. AsqJames says

    This might be worth looking at: A statistical tale of promotion into the Premier League…

    On QPR though stats might not be all that helpful. I only say that because they were probably the most ‘active’ of any club in the summer transfer window. I think they brought in about 16 players and sold or released about 12. That kind of squad turnover was always going to cause problems at the start of the season so it was a huge gamble on many levels: Can Hughes mould them into a team quickly enough? Are enough of those new players good enough? Even if he can and they are, will there be enough games left to rescue the season?

    I wouldn’t be too worried in the medium term though – don’t QPR have, collectively, the richest owners in football?

  8. AsqJames says

    Unlike other local rivalries (as in Manchester) where a family would support one of the two teams only, in Liverpool families would be split into red and blue with no problems.

    This is true (well the second part anyway). My sister is a kopite for some unknown reason. Luckily she couldn’t get a ticket for the Liverpool semi in ’89, so she was with me at Villa Park that day, thank FSM.

    Regrettably, this atmosphere has all but disappeared in recent years.

    There’s still quite a bit of it amongst the sensible majority. You always see blue scarves at the Hillsborough memorials for example, and The Blue Union have worked closely with Spirit of Shankly on The Football Quarter project. Unfortunately the idiot minority are more visible and vocal.

  9. Wrath Panda says

    Luckily she couldn’t get a ticket for the Liverpool semi in ’89, so she was with me at Villa Park that day, thank FSM.

    I’m glad you didn’t have to go through the personal heartbreak of that day. It still makes me very, very angry that such a tragedy could have been so easily avoided.

    I bow to your more intimate knowledge of local feeling; I live at the other end of the East Lancs. It’s good to know that there are still some people out there who can see beyond the petty rivalries.

  10. maddog1129 says

    I’m partially on my way to becoming a Liverpool FC fan myself, on account of “Being Liverpool,” a TV program I am quite enjoying.

  11. says

    Who but Jack would do such a thing? It’s up to you.He does everything without aim.How are you doing with your new boss?This house is my own.Her handbag goes with her clothes.Her handbag goes with her clothes.Don’t move!Do you accept credit cards? The best-known movie awards are the Academy Awards.

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