I know I’m stating the obvious right now, but Liverpool are a mess.
Top to bottom, the club is pitiful. Nobody is living up to expectations, and nobody is doing their job the way they should. Not the owners, not the board, not the manager, not the players… no one.
And you know what, there’s really only one way to adequately explain Liverpool at the moment: they are the footballing world’s version of Lindsay Lohan. I know this may seem like an incredibly off the mark analogy to come up with, but just try to think about it for a few minutes. The more I think about it, the more sense it starts to make to me.
- Extremely high expectations: Lindsay was a child star that everyone seemed to think would be able to bridge the gap and become a big adult (not XXX… though, that seems ever more likely) star. She was this cute little girl that could sing and act; straight out of the Disney mold. Millions of fans and critics alike seemed to think that Lohan would some day become a major Hollywood actress. But let’s not forget how most teen stars turn out: train wrecks.
Like Lohan, Liverpool’s board and fans have lofty expectations for the club each season. Talk to any true Scouser before each season, and they are fully convinced that “this is the year” they’ll challenge for silverware on all fronts. “We’re going to win the league this year!” or “I could easily see us winning two trophies this year.” The Koppites truly believe those statements, despite the fact that they’ll also say, “Who cares if Rafa sold Alonso!? He won us a the European CuP! I trust him, even though he sold one of our best players and replaced him with a guy who hasn’t played in six months.”
- Gives you reason to believe, as long as you ignore the cracks in the foundation: Lohan had some initial successes in her grown-up acting career, which seemed to build up her expectations even more. Movies like Freaky Friday, Mean Girls (where Lindsay was at her absolute hottest… I’ll admit it, Lindsay was my “unicorn” for quite a while), and Herbie: Fully Loaded were all box office successes earning in excess of $100 million. And though none of them were critically praised films, directors and fellow actors said she was a very talented actress with a bright future. But the early warning signs of Lohan’s future troubles began to appear bubble to the surface. While shooting Georgia Rule, she was twice hospitalized for “exhaustion.” We later came to find out that her exhaustion was caused by constant late night partying, and that the studio thought she was unprofessional and irresponsible. However bad her off-set life was, she was still garnering praise from coworkers for her abilities. And she was still able to find work despite persistent rumors of her hard partying and poor work ethic.
Likewise, Liverpool have a similar problem: they lead their fans on just enough to give them fuel for their high expectations. They’ve got top notch players in their roster (Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano, Reina, etc.) that should make them competitive ever year. They consistently reach the later stages of the Champions League. The reds, led by “tactical genius” Rafa Benitez, even won the 2005 Champions League title. But even in their that magical campaign, there were were warning signs. In the final, the team looked particularly poor against AC Milan, aside from the 11 minute span that saw them score three goals to send the game into extra time. Rafa’s men finished outside of the Champions League qualification spots in the league that season too, necessitating UEFA to make up a new rule so that they would be allowed to defend their title.
Then last year, they stood at the top of the premier league table before narrowly falling short in the last few weeks. Being forced to sell off starters in order to buy “better quality” players (Alonso was last year’s fallen star, while in year’s past it’s been Peter Crouch or Michael Owen). In reality they should sell off second string players, then move the current starters to the bench when “better quality” players arrive. But a lot of that has to do with the poor amount of investment in the club by the American ownership group.
- The color red: Well, this one is obvious, right? But just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not relevant. Lindsay Lohan is a ginger kid. Liverpool wear the color read. Just because it’s simple doesn’t me it doesn’t add to the argument.
- Now spiraling out of control: Ever since Lindsay’s initial pitfalls on the set of Georgia Rule, her life has been a swirling tornado of disaster. She’s been in and out of jail more often than you’re average drug dealer. The same goes for rehab. There have been two reported DUI’s, one of which she’s still trying to complete her sentencing for. Though adamantly denying she has a drug problem, she’s been caught on film doing blow. She’s been caught stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a store. It’s likely she’s had an on again, off again, eating disorder. She has been stalking her ex-girlfriend, and probably some ex-boyfriends that we’re unaware of, too. The list goes on and on and on.For Liverpool, they’ve been a similarly turbulent downward spiral. An extremely rough and tumble start to the season (losses to my Spurs and Aston Villa) left them as a long-shot for title favorites, something that continued poor league results (losses to Portsmouth and Arsenal, draw with Stoke) have all but assured. They’ve been knocked out at the Champions League at the group stage. They’re already out of the Carling Cup, having been taken down by Arsenal. Liverpool then completed their “treble of suck” (copyright WSOTP, 2010) by being knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship strugglers Reading.
Off the field, the problems are mounting too. The Kop faithful has never been pleased with the American ownership group lead by Tom Hicks and George Gillette. They’ve never given Benitez much money to work with in the transfer market, and there are growing concerns that they’ve saddled the club with too much debt. The American owners may have also torpedoed the chances of Liverpool building a new stadium. And [now former] club board members are now telling fans “Blow me, fuck face.” I’m guessing that fosters nothing but happiness among the fans.
Adding insult to injury is the reds’ growing injury sheet. It would be one thing if the injuries were happening to Philip Degen or the maligned Ryan Babel, people who don’t really make the daily team sheet. No, it’s happening to stars like Torres, Glen Johnson, Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun. It’s no wonder that many are questioning whether this team can even qualify for next year’s Champions League.
The similarities are striking, aren’t they? Looking at the facts, it’s no wonder that so many Liverpool fans and are calling for Rafa’s head. Would you want you’re team to be the Lindsay Lohan of football? I certainly wouldn’t.