I know what you all are thinking.
“C’mon Michael, why are you taking another shot at Liverpool? Why are you so biased against Liverpool? Why don’t you like Stevie and Carra??”
Let me clear things up for once and for all. I have NOTHING against Liverpool FC, nothing. My brother is a Liverpool fan and so yes, I’ll make comments and jokes towards him but they are, for the most part, in fun. I have criticized Rafa Benitez in the past and my position that he should be fired this summer (or resign) still stands. I do, in fact, think very highly of both Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. I just wrote a few days ago about how I believe Gerrard should be England’s next captain and I’ve said on multiple occasions that I think Carragher is one of the two or three best center backs in England, and can be the best on his day.
The point of this post is actually not to take a shot at Liverpool’s two local heroes. It would be very, very easy for me to criticize the captain and vice-captain for publicly throwing in the title towel.
You know what, though? I commend them for doing this.
We all know Liverpool aren’t going to win the Premiership this year; they’re too many points behind with not enough games to go and besides that, don’t have a good enough squad. The real goal for the Reds now is to finish fourth and get back into the Champions League next year, something that wouldn’t happen if they don’t finish fourth unless they win the Champions League Final in Moscow this season (and Liverpool are a favorite, at least in my eyes, to do so).
I see nothing wrong with Gerrard and Carragher coming out and being realistic about this. Why should they carry on false hopes and dreams? I know that neither of these guys think Liverpool can win the league title this year, so I don’t have a problem with them telling the truth and saying it in public. Their focus is finishing fourth, and whether or not that can be considered a successful season is not the point because it’s what Liverpool need to do right now.
This is a different situation from that of ex-Manchester City striker Rolando Bianchi, who I did criticize for his comments in the media through an interview with an Italian newspaper. What Bianchi said portrayed his manager, his teammates, and English culture in a negative light. Nothing positive came out of his comments; it made him only look more selfish and was surely a distraction to his team. There’s no place for that and City were right to loan him out to Lazio, where he’ll likely stay after this season.
In this instance, Gerrard and Carragher are accepting reality and setting a goal for the rest of the squad. Their objective is to finish fourth and they have no qualms about it, so they want their teammates’ and their fans’ focus to be on that and to not fool themselves by thinking they can finish higher. Both players have said that the teams around them are playing very well at the moment and it’s going to be a fight for that last Champions League position. Both players have said that Liverpool need to continue to get better every game if they want that spot.
What’s wrong with that?
Here’s the article I’m referring to: