Liverpool Coming Apart At The Seams
Premier League 2015/2016
Liverpool fans won’t admit it this morning but they’re hurting. They’re hurting because a 20-year-old academy product has deemed himself too good for their great club after just two full seasons in the first team.
They’re hurting because they probably know, deep down, that the other big Premier League clubs are able to gazump them for their best young talent and there’s little they can do about it.
They’re hurting because, after such an amazing season last year, their club has failed to reproduce anywhere near those performances.
Raheem Sterling’s reported request for a move away from Anfield is the tip of the iceberg right now. Liverpool Football Club was at a crossroads at the beginning of this season: rather than select the right path, they’ve stumbled down the wrong one, tripped and fell down a manhole.
Finishing second the year before, so heartbreakingly close to winning that craved league title, the prerequisite for Brendan Rodgers was finishing in one of those top four slots and consolidating their progression.
It was always going to be difficult losing Luis Suarez but the club still had the guts of a good squad and a war chest that would have made Napoleon blush. It’s hard to say whether the new signings have been a success or not; it’s been hit and miss. Most are still young talents with a lot to prove and retain potential but, arguably, only Emre Can has consistently proven a good buy.
By 5pm this Sunday, they could conceivably finish 7th: a remarkable fall from last season’s graces. Whatever way you cut it, failure to qualify for next season’s Champions League could set the club back years.
Sterling’s refusal to sign a new deal is a snapshot of the club’s current situation in that they are now unable to satisfy one of their best player’s ambitions.
It could be argued the England international is being disloyal and ungrateful but this is the reality for Liverpool now: the glass ceiling of being relatively successful, having your best players cherry-picked and then trying to rebuild with wise reinvestment.
Reds’ fans will find that difficult to take. Their club remains the second biggest in terms of name and tradition but in actuality, they are being swallowed by the Premier League whale, ironically, in the same way Southampton were last summer.
Will Raheem Sterling be a massive loss in playing terms? Possibly not. He is an excellent young player with huge potential but he remains far from the finished article. He will garner a huge fee if sold with Jordan Ibe – arguably even more talented – waiting in the wings but it is the notion that they have become a selling club that will do them no favours.
In less than a year, Brendan Rodgers’ side have gone from the cusp of a first league title in twenty-four years to losing Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, possibly now Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge to successive injury problems. It’s been rough for the Antrim man and it’s about to get even rougher.
If expectations needed to be realigned at the start of this season, they will have to be further recalibrated for another couple of years more.
In the five years since FGS bought Liverpool, they have spent €440 million, just €43 million less than Real Madrid and have nothing to show for it.
There is strong assertion that the club is not being run properly or efficiently enough and that is now filtering down into the playing squad.
The pain and anger felt by Liverpool fans today isn’t just about Raheem Sterling as such, more so about the sense of a club coming apart at the seams.