I told my father-in-law that my blog today will be about Liverpool; “that won’t take long” came the reply. We had just watched – although thankfully I was also cooking the Sunday roast so had an excuse to look away from the TV as the horror show unfolded – Liverpool pick another heavy defeat and show once again that we are as far from the title today than we have been at any point since Jurgen Klopp became manager. Just for the record, it is 27 – soon to be 28 years since we won the title.
My father-in-law would be right if this blog was chronicling all the good things Liverpool did today. Sadly, it is not and as a result, we can extend the analysis beyond the postage stamp or fag packet it would take to capture all the good things we did before. I do not want to repeat what will no doubt is being said up and down the country as people rewatch the goals, the mistakes, the schoolboy defending. Instead I want to talk about the leadership at the club.
As in all workplaces, you don’t need to have a title to be a leader – anyone can step up and set an example through their professionalism, hard work, commitment to excellence and how they treat the people around them and their customers. The total and utter lack of leadership on the pitch at the moment is criminal. From 1-11 and beyond, there is no leader. No-one driving the team forward. No-one dragging 1% or 2% extra out of the team. No-one being counted.
Two key on-field leaders are the captain and the goalkeeper. The captain has been hiding in plain sight all season and the less said about the two pathetic excuses for goalkeepers who have played this season (not including Danny Ward, who surely deserved to take his chance now – please god) the better. These two positions should be about commanding leadership – with words and deeds. Instead, both positions are vacant – filled by nothingness.
Off the field, we don’t really know what is happening in the boardroom to judge it but we know that we have not strengthened the squad where it needs strengthening the most; centre half and goalkeeper. We know they held on to Coutinho but as every day and under par performance passes, a January move to Catalonia looks more and more certain.
The key leader at the cub is the manager, Jurgen Klopp. Like so many fans, I really like Jurgen; his energy, his passion, his commitment to play attractive, up tempo football. He is charismatic. He is charming. He seems like a thoroughly decent fella. But here comes the but. We are two years in and we are no nearer to winning the championship. That is the brutal reality. We are falling further and further behind, City, United, Spurs and Chelsea as each week passes. Hard to take but impossible is deny.
I am not calling for the manager to be sacked; I’m calling for him to lead us to the title – not today, not tomorrow but soon and teams that win the title normally show signs of winning in the season or two before they win it (yes, yes, apart from Leicester). We are showing no signs of this – in fact we are showing signs of the opposite and are repeating the same actions every week (like picking Lovren, Mignlolet, Moreno) and looking for a different result. That is not going to happen. We will keep shipping goals and dropping points until we get some leadership on and off the field.
I’m not looking for a divorce, but my honeymoon with Jurgen is over. He needs to step up and lead; he needs his players to lead if he is going to lead us to the title. Unless he can start doing that we will – with a heavy heart – be looking for a new leader.
Photo taken from BBC sport website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/football/40954889