Tuesday’s showing against Basel shamed the beautiful game.
I’m not a Liverpool fan, nor am I usually one for cheering on all English clubs in Europe, but I strangely found myself getting behind the Reds in last night’s 1-1 draw with FC Basel.
My support came out of pity. Liverpool were so appalling in the first half that I felt sorry for them.
This once great team, who have been champions of Europe five times – fans may have told you about that – looked thoroughly petrified by a side who have lost three games in the Swiss Super League this season.
Anfield stank of fear – from the nervousness in the stands, to manager Brendan Rodgers chewing his gum like a man possessed, to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet playing multiple one-twos with his defenders, only to hack the ball out of play when he finally resorted to going long.
There was no cohesion, no conviction and very little belief.
Basel led 1-0 at half time, but they could easily have been further in front.
To their credit, Liverpool’s supporters stayed with their side and, despite Lazar Markovic’s controversial red card, they were given 10 minutes of excruciating hope thanks to a rare moment of magic from Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard’s free kick was a thing of real beauty, but it is no longer reasonable for Liverpool to be reliant on the tired old ex England skipper to bail them out, even if that has been their main game plan for over 10 years.
A place in the Europa League now awaits for Rodgers and his team, but, if his side continue to perform as badly as they did last night, the Northern Irishman could well have been sacked by the time European football returns in February.
Manager-swapping may not be the ultimate answer – after all, Rodgers worked wonders to mastermind a Premier League title challenge last season.
However, something has to change, because Liverpool’s current level is unacceptable. It is an insult to the club’s proud history, to the loyalty of the fans and to football in general.