21 Aug 2008

Jamie Carragher's defeatism strikes again

The season is only one week old but Jamie Carragher is already showing signs of the loser mentality that plagued Anfield last season.

Carra was up and down like a yo-yo last season when it came to his public comments about the club One week he'd be high as a kite proclaiming how Liverpool's players were the greatest in the world. The next week, he'd be wallowing in self-pitying pessimism, moaning (repeatedly) about low confidence.

As one of the club's supposed leaders, I accused Carra of presiding over the death of Liverpool's winning mentality and argued that he (and others) were perpetuating a damaging victim complex. Well, with his latest comments it appears we are in for more of the same this season.

Commenting on some observations by Alan Hansen, Carra noted:

"You can't criticise much of what Liverpool teams of the past did when Hansen was playing. Obviously they were the best team around but it was interesting to read him say that sometimes Liverpool won the league even though they didn't have a particularly great side.

"He went on to say that there is no possible way you could do that today. It struck a chord with me and I thought it was a fair point. I'm not saying bad Liverpool teams ever won the league – of course they didn't. But maybe a few years ago you could afford to carry a few players.

"I don't think that's possible now. Every position has got to be filled by a top player if you want to win things on a consistent basis. Look at the other top sides in the Premier League: even the full-back positions are filled with the best full-backs in the world now.

"Years ago you could probably get away with carrying the odd player here or there. It was good for me to hear that from someone who actually played back then rather than it coming from current players, where it'd probably just sound like an excuse.

"Basically what Hansen was saying was that it's more difficult to win the league now than in his day. The standards have been raised much higher over the past five to 10 years, especially with the Chelsea situation and what's happening there”.

These comments appear quite harmless at first glance, but to me they are a self-fulfilling prophecy illustrating Carra's real state of mind, namely he does not truly believe that Liverpool can win the league this season.

On a subconscious level, Carra is basically getting his excuses in early for another premiership failure. I can imagine at the end of the season if Liverpool finish 4th, he would say: “Well, we tried our best but with the Chelsea situation, it's almost impossible to win the league now”.

Are these the comments you would expect to hear from a real winner? NO. Who cares what happened in the past? Who cares if things have allegedly become tougher? At the end of the day, on the pitch it's eleven v eleven and the first step to success is absolute self-belief.

Liverpool need strong, positive leaders focused on constructive improvement, not fickle pretenders with a collective victim complex who repeatedly make it clear in public that they lack self-belief.

Even if Carra thinks things are tougher than ever, he should keep it to himself; such comments just make Liverpool look weak and clearly illustrate a lack of confidence, something upon which other teams will capitalise.

People will undoubtedly feel I am being too harsh but after last season, I feel I am being more than fair. Liverpool simply cannot afford another season of public pessimism from its high profile players.

Fans and the media are always going on about how Carra and Gerrard are the 'heart of Liverpool FC' and waxing lyrical about their leadership abilities – well, this season it's time for them to prove it.

As Bill Shankly said: “A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.”

Truer words were never spoken. Liverpool's current crop of players need to present a strong, united front and stop the public pessimism that blighted last season. And this means an immediate end to the following:

1. Moaning about how confidence is low.
2. Moaning about how off-field events affect on-field performances.
3. Moaning about how tough things are and how difficult it is to win the league.
4. Moaning about how tough it is to adapt to the premiership
5. Moaning about fixture congestion and how other teams are better off
6. Moaning about 'struggling' in the league.

With off-field problems continuing apace, it is up to senior players to instill self-belief in the squad. If they can't do that, they are not the leaders Liverpool FC needs.


  1. lol @ you having the nerve to call anyone defeatist!

  2. I can be defeatist if I want - I'm not the one who is apparently one of the much lauded leaders of the club.

    In any event, I am merely highlighting what I perceive to be a defeatist attitude amongst Liverpool's players.

    Teams that win the league don't moan and whine about how tough things are in the press.

  3. Completely agree. I'm tired of the negativity coming from carragher and the likes of Babel (especially last season). I've nalready written off the league this season as I can't see any evidence of a winning mentality across the board.

  4. Jamie is being realistic- players tend to be more realistic than fans especially at this time of year. He knows Liverpool are a club divided. The schisms win the club have been made public through the Barry affair which simply won't go away and will return in January. The only solution is a good clearout at Anfield starting with Rafa and Parry. Then the players - too much mediocirty and Jamie knows that.

  5. JK, you will no doubt be thrilled at the news that Carra fully intends to manage Liverpool one day - and soon!


  6. I wouldn't be too averse to Carra becoming Manager one day - anyone but Steven Gerrard! Whether Carra would do a good job is something else entirely. To be honest, I wouldn't want any player who learned from Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez running the team. We've had 10 years of negative anti-football. Please God, not another 10-15 years!

  7. Well, with Carra's positive thinking and exposure to free-flowing football, he would obviously be the ideal candidate ;-)

    Viva "Total Football" @ Anfield Road