by Mike Forrest

Liverpool Football Club; famous just as it is infamous, revered just as it is despised, but what is universally accepted is that there’s never a dull moment at Anfield.

The history of Liverpool reads like a Shakespearean play, triumphs and tragedies intertwined by an undoubted romanticism. Like Shakespeare’s works’, the club has stood the test of time and is still one of England’s, if not the worlds, football giants. However it appears like all giants, they need their rest and are on the verge of falling asleep if not already dozing.

Kenny Dalglish’s 100 million pound assembled squad delivered Carling Cup silverware this season which was meant to be the catalyst that reawakened Liverpool from their slumber. However continued poor league form has hindered Liverpool’s attempt at progress and has consigned them to another disappointing final league position, barring a miracle. Even if Dalglish did win the FA Cup this season, it would still be considered a season of mixed fortunes.

Liverpool whilst having a desire to win every competition they take part in, historical and primary ambitions has dictated that anything less than a respectable League and Champions League challenge will be deemed a failure. For many clubs a cup win and having a good claim to win a second would be deemed a successful season, but not for Liverpool Football Club especially after such expenditure on new players. There is a desire to be the best that is lodged deep into the club and fans psyche, and it is an unrelenting desire. This ethos to be the very best is an admirable one but extremely hard for the club to appease.

Many, if not all, Liverpool fans accepted an era of rebuilding was needed after the destruction and dissimilation of the club caused by twits Gillete and Hicks. This process began with the clearing out of all remnants of the aforementioned American duo. Roy Hodgson was told to sling his hook – dismal treatment of a respected manager according to many Liverpool detractors – and to take Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky with him and with a wave of emotional clamour, the peoples’ champion “King” Kenny Dalglish was charged with the task of restoring “The Liverpool Way” and bringing the feel good factor back to Merseyside – fairytale stuff.

But what exactly is “The Liverpool Way”? To me, an outsider, it seemed like a mythical, mysterious saying of no real substance that was used by Liverpool fans to end pub arguments or to sound as if they possessed wisdom in abundance, “ah, that’s just The Liverpool Way…” or that only a true Scouser was privy to the meaning of the saying.

According to “The Liverpool Way”, the fans and club support their manager through thick and thin.

I believe, after doing some research that “The Liverpool Way” is a concoction that has many ingredients. Let me start with the core of “The Liverpool Way”. At the heart of Liverpool, purity is circulated around the club. This purity stems from the club’s focus on producing young local talent capable of playing for the first team. Whilst clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal circulate the football world with vulture-like tendencies and swoop for the very best of young football talent, Liverpool focus primarily on developing “their own”.  Just as the club nurtures, raises and gives their young talent a platform to flourish, the fans are equally as caring. There lay a bond between the fans and every team that represents Liverpool, be it first team or under 16, that is unbreakable. Thus Liverpool is an inclusive and very loyal club.

According to “The Liverpool Way”, the fans and club support their manager through thick and thin. They give the man at the helm something that is lacking in today’s society; they give the manager a chance. Many people have used this as a stick to beat Liverpool fans with in regards to how they treated Roy Hodgson. Every person in football agreed that to replace Rafa Benitez, a man close to the hearts of every Liverpool fan, especially under the ownership of Gillete and Hicks was a death knell. However this did not stop Roy Hodgson from procuring his desire to take a sip from this poisoned chalice. It was a risk by Hodgson that resulted in a resounding failure. He tried to foster an attitude of “losing is ok” which goes against the very nature of Liverpool and thus by not endearing himself, by not familiarising himself with “The Liverpool Way” it was only natural and just that he was ousted from the hotseat.

It is interesting to note that Dalglish is doing no better in the league, than Hodgsons’ attempts. Fans were vociferous in their desire to be rid of Roy, and whilst the thoughts of sacking Kenny are simmering, bubbling and about to come to a boil, there is quite a simple reason why Kenny has been cut slack. Aside from being a club legend, Dalglish is a winner. He was a winner as player and was a winner as a manager. His character echoes the very ethos of what “The Liverpool Way” is all about as opposed to Roy Hodgson, who is anything but a winner.

Another aspect of “The Liverpool Way” entails that the club is run according to a very agreeable high moral standard that starts at the Boardroom level of the club and flows right through to the Academy. Similarly a sycophantic loyalty is existent in the club between fans toward players and club. Due to Hicks and Gillette this aspect of the saying was hampered with severely, but new owners and Dalglish has strived to put that right, but at what expense?

Suarez has lived up to the vile character he portrays of himself on the pitch.

Luis Suarez racially abused Patrice Evra, but with Dalglishs’ and the fans’ backing he played innocent. “The Liverpool Way” dictates that loyalty is a mandatory pre requisite of any Liverpool fan. However loyalty for loyalties sake is wrong. Suarez could have issued an apology along the lines of “I apology unreservedly for any offence caused…” and that would have gone a long way to quelling the inevitable storm. Liverpools’ grievance was with how the FA handled the case and their grievance is a just one. However their grievance with Patrice Evra is particularly odious.

Many people think that Liverpool shirks responsibility. Let me use an analogy. Responsibility is like a bouncing ball. When Liverpool has to take responsibility for the actions of their players or fans, they hurl the bouncing ball (responsibility) so that it deflects off of others instead of themselves. For example, Liverpool blamed a whole nation, a nation’s culture instead of taking responsibility for what Suarez said. Their feeble defence was that “el negrito” is an acceptable phrase in Uruguay and that Suarez was therefore oblivious to the words’ connotations over here. Yeah right.

The ironic thing is that for all the loyalty Dalglish has showed Suarez in an attempt to renew “The Liverpool Way”, as well as the fans loyalty to the player, Suarez has twice thrown it back in their faces. First of all by not shaking Evra’s hand and second of all by now claiming that he would love to play alongside compatriot Diego Lugano, inferring that he would be open to joining Paris St. Germain. Suarez has lived up to the vile character he portrays of himself on the pitch with his recent comments.

Dalglish knows that this season has been unsuccessful and with his recents comments saying that sponsorship deals are just as important as league points, it smacks of a desperate man. Basically Dalglish equates Liverpool to a Michael Bay “Transformers” movie. Shit, but at least we made money and lots of it.

Thus Dalglishs’ attempts to revitalise “The Liverpool Way” has only been fractionally successful. With big money signings failing to deliver and a league position that is not befitting a club of Liverpool’s stature, it is no surprise that Rafa Benitez is the man on fans lips to succeed Dalglish. However the return of Benitez would be nothing more than Liverpool’s attempts at trying to once again have a fairytale story.