Mark Pearson challenges pessimistic Liverpool fans to release the worry — maybe this year the hand of doubt won’t come down to strike what could be a season of celebration.
You don’t have to cast your mind back further than Rafa’s Reds and the closely run title chase of 2008/2009, or preceding that Houllier’s treble winning season of 2001/2002, to be forgiven for fearing that the progress evidently being displayed by “Brendan’s Group” of 2013/2014 will plummet faster than a Ashley Young swan dive at Old Trafford (or at any stadium anywhere actually).
So I ask the question. “Is the fear of another false dawn at Anfield overriding the enjoyment of this seasons Rampaging Reds?”
I can only provide an opinion based upon the emotional turmoil of Reds supporters I am surrounded by on daily basis, and the self-enforced containment felt at Anfield of those Reds that dare not whisper the words “title challenge” for fear that this current form, so fragile in nature simply uttering the words might very well break the spell and we will once more have to suffer the indignity of taking three steps backwards whilst watching our rivals sail off into the distance.
If the short lived periods of enjoyment mentioned under Rafa and Houllier have taught Liverpool fans anything it’s that caution is as upmost in our thoughts as celebrating the wonderful football the current crop have been displaying with increased regularity, both this season and the last few months of Brendan’s first season at the helm.
This season alone sections of support have been quick to turn to despair when a result hasn’t gone as expected. Two games particularly stand out, Hull City away and Aston Villa at home.
On both occasions those feelings of a Liverpool resurgence built on sugar pedestals have been whipped out of the memory draw because the pain of letting hope and belief of something better being within grasp has tripped us up and hurt us before.
So following routs of Everton and Arsenal, heroic comebacks at Fulham and a ruthless efficiency shown at Southampton there is still a hushed anticipation that maybe, finally, a very long and winding corner has been turned.
When we can no longer protect ourselves from reaching those dizzy heights of expectation for a sustained period of rebirth and footballing prosperity we need to find another shield.
Enter the Liverpool accounts released this week. Pick up any newspaper or read any online article and it leaves all those without a Master’s Degree in Accounting, or a spare month of free time to un-riddle the seemingly purposely over complicated dossier of Financial Fair Play and those that dare not believe have a new plate of armour to protect themselves.
We can’t possibly play in the Champions League even if we manage to obtain a Top Four finish because we are in breach of financial regulations. Three steps backwards. Normality. Comfort.
Fittingly our next match is against our fiercest rivals. The super commercially rich, all successful reigning champions Manchester United.
If ever there was a reason to throw up a barrier and resign ourselves to impending doom it has to be this fixture. Who else but the enemy to halt our winning run and place in doubt not only an impossible title success but to derail hopes of a top four finish?
Well I challenge any doubters to cast aside the fears and start to believe that this time, a wind of change has not so much blasted through the Shankly Gates but gently and steadily breezed along, taking with it much if not all of the debris that has stopped us from building solid foundations to a sustained chance of obtaining success.
Surely even the most pessimistic of supporters can sense something different is happening. That “Brendan’s Group” have found and begun to learn inherently what it takes to win games consistently and not sporadically on the pitch.
To win games playing fluid, attacking and exciting football not seen at Anfield in what seems like a very long time. To have other teams admiring us for the way we are sweeping aside all before us.
Showing weekly a philosophy and identity of who we are and how we play. Dare I say a team with a plan? To have custodians of our great club executing things quietly, correctly, and more importantly offering sustainability as a blueprint for future success. Dare I say owners with a plan?
You see this is what I believe is different to the flashes of promise shown under the Rafa and Houllier regime. This time I see a club, unified, on and off the field and moving forward with a considered plan.
What better place in my opinion to show that an empire is rising. That a sleeping giant is reawakening then at Old Trafford?
Perhaps it’s time to release the shackles of our own uncertainty and doubt and believe that this time we can start to enjoy without the need of fear being a Liverpool.
Bring on Manchester United…