Soccer offers two sure-fire signs that your season is a jettisoned bit of space trash, hurtling toward the earth at incredible speeds, burning through the atmosphere, destined to land squarely in a dumpster. The first is the “dreaded vote of confidence.”
The second obvious sign that no glory will be yours in a given season is a former beloved player questioning your team’s leadership or toughness. This is where Liverpool find themselves today.
“As a fan watching your own team the worst thing you can ever think of them is being bullied and being weak – that’s what we saw from Liverpool and not for the first time. It’s been going on all season.
“There’s no leadership and we had that last season at the end, it cost Liverpool the league. They conceded 50 goals last season. It hasn’t been rectified with the money that’s been spent and I’m very worried now as a Liverpool fan.”
Well, that’s not a very kind outlook on Liverpool’s season so far. Last year’s runners-up now find themselves drowning in the quicksand of 12th place, 18 points behind leaders Chelsea and a scant four points above the relegation zone.
It’s open season for criticism. Even Brendan Rodgers is starting to get the look of a man who has stopped making long-term plans.
Being dogged on television over tactical matters or performance has to be unpleasant, but when a former player calls you soft in front of millions of people, as a player, you have to feel some type of way about it. Someone saying that your passing has been sub-par, or your left foot needs work is is easily brushed off? That’s stuff you fix in training. But softness is a condemnation that extends beyond the field. That’s real life shit. The sort of thing that brings about a creeping doubt in all aspects of a player’s day.
Being called soft is the sort of thing that slowly eats away at someone, until they find themselves in jail over an assault that took place because someone gave them the finger in traffic and they felt like they had to prove a point. When Adam Lallana finds himself in court, it’s on you, Jamie Carragher.