11 Mar 2008

Once again, Liverpool's players are consumed by sycophantic self-love

What is it about Liverpool and public comments?! If it’s not depressing, pessimistic negativity it’s the other end of the extreme – cocky, fawning, self-congratulatory overconfidence. The last week has been filled with this type of tedious eulogising and it's been the same all season.

Every time Liverpool have put together a decent run this season, players have been falling over themselves to proclaim each other the ‘the best in the world’. This has continued in the last couple of weeks, with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres taking it in turns to stroke each others’ egos.

After the Middlesborough victory, Gerrard fawned:

"He [Torres] is brilliant, fantastic. The best in the world, and I wouldn't swap him for any other striker anywhere”.

After the Newcastle victory, Torres joined in the strokeathon:

"He [Gerrard] is unbelievable. The best player in the world. And he is only going to get better."

A week before that, Gerrard eulogized Torres as ‘Frightening’ in another starry-eyed homage to Liverpool’s top scorer.

Perennial press-whore Dirk Kuyt also joined in the act, describing Torres as the "very best striker in the world".

The same thing happened after the 2-0 victory against Inter Milan’s 10 men at Anfield recently. After the game, Jamie Carragher lauded Gerrard as "The best player in the world”.

In turn, Gerrard described Carragher as 'a legend' and 'one of the best defenders in the world'

Wow. Liverpool apparently have the best defenders, midfields and strikers in the world!

If that's true, how come the team is struggling for 4th place in the league?!

The season has been plagued with this type of premature overconfidence. Indeed, after the victory over Marseille in the Champions League in December 2007, Liverpool players were again out in force, smothering each other with effusive praise, with Jamie Carragher enthusing:

‘He's [Gerrard] is definitely one of the best players in the world. You look at Kaka and Messi, but they probably play for forward’.

Other comments included Dirk Kuyt calling Ryan Babel 'a sensation'; Torres claiming Rafa to be 'One of the greats' and 'more than just a Manager'; Steven Gerrard labelling Torres 'amazing' and Jamie Carragher (again!) salivating that Torres is 'world class'.

This type of fawning is typical of footballers, who think every time someone has a good game they are ‘world class’ or whenever the team plays well it becomes ‘the best’ or ‘one of the favourites’.

Regrettably, this trend for self-obsessed narcissism pervades all aspects of football, with the most pungent example being players releasing autobiographies when they’re still playing. Just like the recent spate of vainglorious comments, such behaviour is jumping the gun.

What happened to being humble in victory? Since when did Liverpool become a club that brags about its success before it’s even achieved anything?!

The club is so full of players boasting about each other’s ability that’s it’s hardly surprising that much of the season has been tainted with mediocrity and underachievement.

There is nothing wrong with having faith in your team-mates, but do we have to hear about *all the time*?!

You never hear the likes of Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo bigging each other up like this. In fact, there are no other players in the premiership who boast as much as Liverpool’s players do.

This rampant egotism has to stop. First of all, it is incompatible with what the club is supposed to represent. Second of all, it is completely UNWARRANTED! So a few players have a few good games. BIG DEAL! What has the club won yet or come close to winning?! ZILCH, thus such praise is premature and undeserving,

The likes of Gerrard, Torres and Kuyt should just keep their heads down, get on with the job and keep their sycophantic platitudes in check until they’ve actually *won something*

And if I have to read anymore of Steven Gerrard's tiresome 'rallying calls' before games...

Aaaagh! He is the absolute master of stating the obvious and repeating the same old tired, cliched drivel over and over and over and over.......and over and over.....

I dread to imagine the outpouring of self-congratulatory boasting if Liverpool beat Inter Milan tonight.


  1. Stop making a big deal of things ok? This is good for team morale and shows how united they are. If anything, they should praise each other more. I don't understand your beef with our best players, don't you believe Stevie is one of the best midfielders in the world, Torres one of the best forwards, Carragher one of the best defenders? Liverpool are a big team, it's only natural for us to have world class players, and I believe those three are world class and adding Mascherano gives us a forth. So instead of this negativity, why don't you write something that'll make us smile instead of pulling our hair out!

  2. Faisal d - I'm not making a big deal out of things. All season, Liverpool's players have been massaging each others' egos. If it's so good for morale and confidence, why has the team struggled for so long? Real winners don't have to boast about their abilities in the press; real winners just get out there and do the job. That's what Liverpool teams of the past did.

    Barnes and Beardsley were never in the press calling each other world class every time they scored a few goals. Rush and Dalglish didn't have to kiss each others' asses every time they combined to score a few goals.

    All we hear from Liverpool players these days is how bad things are and how low confidence is OR how wonderful an d world class everyone is. Why can't they just be moderate, humble and unassuming for once?!

    What happens when Liverpool actually win something? The players have praised each other so much there will be nothing left to say.

    Whether I believe Stevie/Torres etc are the best in the world is irrelevent. I judge what happens at the club based on the standards set in the past by previous liverpool players/managers.

    The Liverpool FC I love is very different to what we have today; it is not a club full of boasting sycophants who are so full of themselves and so desperate for validation that they massage each others' egos at every opportunity.

    I'm sick of the 'jeez, are we all so fantastic' approach, especialy when the club has won fcuk all and has been struggling all season.

    Inter Milan are top dogs in Italy at the moment, but you don't see them clogging up the press with stuff aboput how great they are, and how all their players are world class.

    Such overconfidence just give the other team even more motivation to win. I'm sure that Milan's players will be fully aware of how Gerrard and Co believe they are the world's best. That can only give them a psychological advantage, and I'm sure they will capitalise on that tonight.

    I just view the club differently to you. I hate the greed and commercialism of modern football and I have no time for today's breed of arrogant, self-absorbed footballers.

    This is reflected in the tone of my articles.

  3. Jaimie,

    Thanks for the articles- even though they often make me shout at my computer and look like a fool...

    I do agree that within the last few weeks there has been too much praise lavished upon players who should be performing well on a frequent basis- as Liverpool Football Club we should have an abundance of world class players. It does become slightly boring when day in, day out there are quotes from players commending each other on what has been a painfully disappointing season.

    However, I couldn't care less if Steven Gerrard is coming out and saying for example "Fernando Torres is a world class player" as long as he's performing on the pitch. Players like Gerrard and Carragher are asked constantly by the people interviewing them what they think about the team's performance and rather than focusing on the negatives (which you seem to pick up on frequently) they focus on the positives. How well would it go down if Gerrard was asked "Just how good is Fernando Torres", and he replied "Eeeerrmm yeah, he's alright". With the nature of the media coverage within the last few months I can understand why the players and the official website feel it is necessary to promote a more positive picture. Rumours of a divided dressing room and general lack of team spirit were whipped up so much it did affect the way we were playing, and it was inevitable what would happen when we started wininng again.

    I think at the moment Liverpool have matters far more important than a couple of players praising each other- i.e our inability to progress in the league and the club's ownership. Let's focus on this please and not some throwaway comments by the players.

  4. Susan

    Thanks for your comments. You make a good point about players always being asked leading questions, and it's true, they can't really answer them in a negative way, nor would I expect them too. However, why does everything have to be so over the top? With Liverpool players, it's either crushing negativity or overblown praise. Why can't there be a middle ground of humble, polite applause?

    I can't think of any other set of players in the premiership (or even Europe) who big themselves up so much when things are going well, or complain like it's the end of the world when things are going badly.

    I take your point about there being more important things to focus on than throwaway comments, but I believe these small things highlight the mentality of players individually and collectively.

    Over the season, press comments have stuck out like a sore thumb. Whether it's been the repeated negativity; the self-congratulatory praise overkill; Steven Gerrard's MANY ill advised statements (re Foreigners, England being more important than Liverpool, slagging off the CL, moaning about being subbed v Everton, repeated failure to back Rafa in interviews and the list goes on) Rafa criticising players in public (Alonso being the most recent example) - add this onto the Hicks/Rafa fiasco and how the club washed it's dirty laundry in public, and over a season, it becomes very clear (at least to me) that Liverpool's media strategy is in need of serious reform.

    Let us not forget that in times of real pressure this season, players like Carra and Gerrard have basically invited negative media scrutiny with their comments.

    Gerrard's recent diatribe (wherein in complained that time was running out for HIM to win the league with Liverpool) came at the worst possible moment and piled massive media pressure and speculation on the club.

    Liverpool fans love to believe there is a media agenda against the club. I don't believe there is. Just look at this season - the club has done itself no favours at all and has been, for the most part, a laughing stock and an easy target.

    The majority of negative press this season has, IMO, come *as a direct result* of players and their misguided comments as opposed to nasty journos with an axe to grind.

    If everyone just kept their mouths shut and did things behind closed doors like Liverpool FC of old, there would be no problem.

    Sadly, the club's performance in the media this season is just indicative of the decline of modern football and decline of Liverpool's standards. Everything is about the INDIVIDUAL, not the club anymore. The players, the owners and the management are all thinking about their own personal glory and how everything affects THEM as opposed to think about how the club is made to appear.

  5. You keep mentioning 'the past' quite often. Maybe that is your problem, living in the past. Modern media is just that, modern, as the football nowadays is. If I were to read between the lines in your article, I could say that you actually support another team, not LFC. You chosed MU players as an example. What have they won this season? ZILCH! parroting you here. Why not chose Arsenal players, at least they are at the top of the table if going along your arguments that good teams do not practise what liverpool's players do in motivating their teammates but do great.
    But am I right here in saying you are not an LFC supporter and you once used to support LFC and not anymore, just by reading this one article of yours because I perceive it that way? That's what modern media reporting is all about. You read what you want to read. Nothing is wrong when Stevie G mentions his teammates being the best player of the world. English media is full of articles that condemns LFC ever so often, just as the commentators of live games do too. Not very different from your article here.
    No matter what LFC achieves, there's always this ridiculous idea of LFC being lucky, opponents not being strong enough, referees on LFC's side, bla bla.. teammates motivating each others is now also a problem as your article suggests. Maybe it is time you also do a research on the articles written or interviews on other teams in the league and see how many you would find which are very much the same as your complaints i.e.: players 'motivating' teammates, as the managers do too. In LFC's case, most media will never give positive comments like stevie G's on how a great player FT is. So, why not that the positive comments come from teammates themselves in an interview? There are enough negatives news about LFC nowadays, and you just added to that. Thank you very much!
    ~Khan YNWA