It’s been a decent season so far in the Premiership. We’ve got more points on the board at this stage than for a long while, and the fact none of the other big four have been enormously impressive has helped keep us well placed as we enter the final months of the season.
But it’s been nagging at me for a while that we’re missing a key ingredient of previous title winning seasons.
It’s not the players – compared to some of the red teams that have won the title we have an excellent first XI. I have no doubt that Liverpool have the playing staff capable of winning the Premier League.
It’s not the manager – he’s won titles before, and he’s built a Liverpool team capable of coming back from the dead, capable of winning away from home, able to comprehensively outplay not only the best sides in England but also Europe too.
And you know, it’s not even the Chairmen or Chief Executive – completely useless as they are in my personal opinion.
It’s something a little bit closer to home and it lies with some of the people who get their paws on a ticket to watch Liverpool play at Anfield.
In football the slenderest of advantages here and there can convert defeats in to draws, and more importantly for us draws in to wins. Many players and managers over the club in years gone by have compared the Anfield atmosphere to as good as a ‘goal head-start’. The dismal performance of supporters within Anfield this season may have handed that goal start to the opposition.
Would the remarkable Olympiakos fight back have happened if Anfield hadn’t been revved up after the reds equaliser?
Would Liverpool have held on to their 1-0 lead in the European Cup semi-final had Anfield not been electric that night in the spring of 2005?
Liverpool fans sing, well some do, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before each game. At times, vast swathes of the crowd at Anfield have been guilty of letting the players do just that. Opposing players are no longer intimidated by the Anfield crowd, and the psychological boost that can be given to our players is distinctly lacking.
You can point fingers at Liverpool’s torturous and ridiculous ticketing policy, where fans prepared to pay over the odds to be ‘entertained’ with a pre-match meal are favoured over the lifelong supporter who lives around the corner. These matters however are for another day – and hopefully the Spirit of Shankly supporters group will help ensure that the club do more to engage with their lifelong supporters, and not those who fancy a day out.
Allowing passionate fans to congregate in an area at the back of the Kop was a huge mistake. It has created a ‘singing section’ and left other fans stuck in other areas of the ground feeling isolated.
Liverpool’s home draws may come back to haunt us come May, and if it does I’ll know where one of the biggest fingers will point. It won’t be at Lucas Leiva who Liverpool fans fail to support for a mere 90 minutes whilst he wears the red shirt, it won’t be at Robbie Keane; low in confidence and needing a boost, it won’t even be at Andrea Dossena who would be more apt running a fast-food franchise – it will be at those in the Anfield crowd who sit back offering no support and taking their photographs – expecting to be entertained when the responsibility of a supporter is to support.
Liverpool FC 1959-1990’s title winning sides had that extra 10% given to them by the world famous Anfield crowd. The class of 2008/09 are in a fight for the title ‘walking alone’.