7 Apr 2009

Can we stop the cocky overconfidence and nauseating self-love already?!

What is it about Liverpool players and their cocky, fawning, self-congratulatory overconfidence whenever the team goes on a good run? The last few weeks have been filled with tedious, boastful eulogising in the press and it's just not the Liverpool way.

Every time Liverpool go on a good run it’s the same old story: the players saturate the press with comments about any or all of the following:

1. How much confidence they have
2. How Liverpool can beat anyone
3. How Liverpool fear no one
4. How Liverpool will beat any team that comes along
5. How Liverpool has the greatest players in the world

It’s really sickening and to be honest, it’s getting beyond a joke. Whatever happened to being humble in victory? Whatever happened to winning something first, *then* basking in the glory?!

No other team in the premiership boasts as much Liverpool. No other team in the premiership has players in the press *every 5 minutes* declaring their love for one another.

The Steven Gerrard/Fernando Torres love-in is especially nauseating. We get it – you both think the world of each other. Do we have to hear it over and over and over and over again ad infinitum?!

Jamie Carragher is another player who is constantly bigging-up the club in the press, telling the world how Liverpool is certain to beat X, Y and Z. He’s at it again today with his comments about the Chelsea game:
"We've got a great record against Chelsea this season and if we play the way we have done against them in the two league matches then we know we can go through.

"The fact we did the double against them might give us that extra confidence. I'm sure if they'd beaten us twice we'd have gone into it with a bit more trepidation, but the fact we won twice will give us a bit of a boost."
There’s some truth in what he’s saying, but most of it is just stating the obvious. Carragher is a major culprit when it comes to this sort of thing – if it’s not constant crushing negativity from the Liverpool defender, it’s over the top, ill-advised boasting.

Self-important overconfidence is not the Liverpool way, and never has been, but of course, none of that matters in the egocentric world of modern football.

Why can’t Liverpool players and management just keep their heads down and let their football do the talking on the pitch? Why must *every* important game be preceded by tiresome boasting in the press about how Liverpool are the best and are certain to win?

I’ve highlighted this issue several times before:

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

Liverpool jumping the gun with their self-congratulatory love-in.

Before last season’s Champions League encounter with Chelsea, the Liverpool players were at it again, as I highlighted here: Cometh the hour, cometh the predictable, cocky overconfidence.

And look what happened? The club’s boasting made them look stupid when we ended up losing the game.

Here is a list of recent examples of the type of cloying triumphalism thing I’m talking about:

Jamie Carragher
"You would not have expected United to lose two games on the bounce. Every game is very difficult and it just goes to show how well we have done this season when United lose two games in a week, but we've only lost two league games all season".
Carra again
“The Villa result will have sent a message out to United and Chelsea. Let’s not kid ourselves; they’d have been watching the game”
Carra again
“United will know now that we are in there. If we’d have dropped points against Villa, then their defeat at Fulham wouldn’t have made that much difference, but we’ve capitalised on it and now United will realise they are in a fight for the league."
Fernando Torres
I think he [Steven Gerrard] is the best in the world. He is a great team player but he can also win a game on his own when maybe we are not playing so well.I cannot think of a player I would rather be playing with. We know it is not going to be easy against Chelsea but both Stevie and I are happy with our form."
Torres again
"He's our most important player and our captain. If Stevie can play behind the striker, we don't need another striker."
Torres yet again
“I would love to see him [Gerrard] have a lot more success. I cannot think of a player I would rather be playing with.”
Torres again!
"The fans love him, the manager loves him and he is our captain. Trust me when I say he is going nowhere."
And another one from Torres
"He is the best player I have ever played with, and I have played with some great players with Spain and Liverpool,”
One more from Torres? Why not
"Great players can win the games on their own when the rest of the team are not playing well. Stevie can do that. It shows how special he is."
Jeez - we get it already, Fernando! You love Steven Gerrard! Can we move on now?

Steven Gerrard
"He [Torres] is magic. I know I am biased, but I don't think anyone will argue with me when I say he is the best striker in the world".
"We have been to Stamford Bridge and won there...we have comfortably beaten Real Madrid at home with a superb performance and then gone to Old Trafford and comfortably beaten Manchester United. These results show that we are good enough to win the league".
Gerrard again
“As I’m concerned Pepe is probably the best in the world in his position. We know just how good he is and he is definitely one of the world’s best.”
Gerrard yet again
"We are not running scared of anybody. If you are asking me about a fear factor in the Champions League, then I think it is the other seven teams in the draw who are going to have concerns about coming up against us after that Real Madrid result".
Dirk Kuyt
"I think Man U are not in a great position. If you get beaten twice and everybody has to go and play for their country, it is not the best thing”
"He [Gerrard] is the best midfielder in the world. I think he deserves to win the player of the league."
"They [Man United] have to struggle now and hopefully they will do after that result. We beat them 4-1 so they're not so happy – let's hope they take this into the next game.".
Javier Mascherano
"Fernando is so important for us. We were losing the game but when you have key players like Fernando and Stevie in front of you, and in that form, then it gives you confidence that you can always go on and win, no matter who you are playing against. They are two top players who can do anything".
As I said before, no other set of players in the premiership is so self-congratulatory. Unfortunately, this sort of thng is a growing trend for modern Liverpool FC, as the other articles I've highlighted above prove.

Liverpool teams of the past were not so full of themselves – they just got on with the job at hand and let the football do the talking. And if big games were won, there was no boasting or baiting of other teams; players enjoyed the victory and quielty got on with it.

How I wish we could return to that sort of humble philosophy.

If we continue on this good run, I dread to think what kind sycophantic, self-aggrandising nonsense we’re going to have to endure next


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  1. i will counter by saying that we haven't won anything yet (by that i mean titles or trophies yet) and the comments the players are saying are trying to convey a sense of invincibility. they are saying we will hang with u man-u to the end and the moment you slip up expect us to pounce. all the talk about the quintuple (which was talked about by some of the man u players) is over now and the more the players our keep talking, the more we win the headlines and the more we win the mind games or whatever.

    Manure look rattled at the moment with all the ronaldo drama, their ill discipline, injuries while our camp is sending out positive vibes like the ones you just cited, how we've got the best keeper, the best striker, the best midfielder etc and all the new contracts being passed out giving a sign of unity, cohesion, purpose, direction and belief that everything is falling in place. i know which headlines i would rather be grabbing at this time of the year

  2. how do you know other clubs don't do it as much as us? have you counted every single comment by LFC players and those of all the the other PL players and CL players and compared. Of course you haven't which makes a nonesense of your assertion.

    i agree with you that it would be so much better if we kept our heads down and let our football do the talking but don't just single out liverpool for bigging themselves up. A quote today from Malouda below.

    Excerpt from Team Talk - Gerrard has been mentioned as a contender for the PFA Player of the Year award but Malouda is in no doubt as to which player he would rather have in his side.

    "Who is best midfielder in the Premier League? For me it is Frank Lampard. I would never say Steven Gerrard," he said.

    Eh? All Premiership players get up to it in a bid to psyche out opposition. I hate it myself but LFC are no worse or no better than anyone else. Case and your ridiculous assertion closed!

  3. Anonymous - yes, I have been looking. I keep an eye out for this sort of thing, and the Malouda comment is the only thing that's been said recently that's on a par with the Liverpool stuff.

    No other team in the premiership has such a frequency of comments in the press in which players big themselves up, keep praising each other and bait the opposition.

  4. The players of old didnt have a microphone stuffed under their noses asking for a comment everytime they left the house.

    they didnt have the internet to deal with where the same story is cycled round the net from site to site, over and over again.

    If gerrard is asked how he feels about playing with torress how is he supposed to answer ?

    If that story is then repeated in newspapers and on hundreds of sites around the world at different times, is that his fault?

    they get asked the SAME question, by different people , ALL the time.

    the same with a lot of the carra quotes you highlited -
    Carra again
    “The Villa result will have sent a message out to United and Chelsea. Let’s not kid ourselves; they’d have been watching the game”

    Couldnt he have just been asked - do you think the villa result will have any effect on United?

    And he watches the manu games so why shouldnt he assume that they wouldnt be watching his?

    How is he supposed to answer?

    The gerrard one praising reina was after the game the other week when he (reina)got the assit in the reirra goal. Isnt it possible that gerrard could have been asked - how good do you think reina is?

    How is he supposed to answer?

    Every one of those quotes were answers to direct questions that they have been asked through out the season.

    What are they supposed to say?

    Every time there is a big game the net is awash with such quotes. You have just been fairly selective in which ones you have posted and not really considered why they would be saying the things they have ie. in answer to a direct question.

    here is one from Jose Reina -
    "It's going to be tough, of course, they have so many good players including Drogba, who is one of my favourite players. But we feel we can win it.
    "When people ask me about who was the most dangerous striker, I always say Didier Drogba."

    If chelsea and arsenal were in our position (with an outside chance of winning the league) they would be having to answer the same questions that are now being put to gerrard, carra, torres.

    They have had sub par seasons ( by their own standards) so are in no position at all to be patting each other on the back. Maybe thats why there arent so many quotes from these teams this year either.

    In regard to manu and not having as many quotes -

    I think fergie would have banned anyone from being too cocky as all the talk over the quintuplet ( or whatever it was) had made them complacent.

    I base this assumption on this quote from fergie after the fulham defeat -

    "It has got rid of all that nonsense that we are untouchable and unbeatable that I have had to try and dampen down in the last month"

    So unfair to critisise players for answering direct questions.

    Unfair to compare the situation to players of yesteryear.

    And unfair to compare with other teams lack of quotes.

    Apart from that not a bad article :)

  5. you criticise the players here for answering questions positively , with them saying we are playing well, fear no one etc, whilst we are playing quite well and challenging ( better than we have for a few years or more anyway).

    You then link to another article of yours which criticises carra for answering questions negativly when we obviously werent playing quite so well.

    What do you want them to do - just say no comment all the time.

    They arent even allowed to do that ( even though fergie gets away without talking to the press when he doesnt feel like it ie. having just lost) and would be rightly criticised if they did refuse to answer questions.

    It doesnt seem to matter what they do, you wouldnt be happy anyway.

  6. Ronaldo, Neville, Macheda, Essien, Anelka, Malouda, Zaki, Terry and many others who made comments today in the media regarding games or teams.

    Maybe do a little more research please. There were quite a few MUFC players who made comments about ending our title challenge just before we played. They have made many comments since too. Chelsea players also stay in the headlines for one reason or another. It's what the media does. It's thier job just as it is part of the players remit to represent the club in press conferences and one on one interviews.

    Why shouldn't they do it? I don't see your point at all. You go on about OUR history and yet you get things wrong constantly..... Read about Shankly and watch some of his interviews. In todays environment, Shanks would have been the best there is. His wit and confident demeanour got him away with a lot. Shanks was the best at playing the media. He used them like they thought they were using him....

    The players are perfectly within thier rights to speek to the press and express thier wievs. The confidence shown by the players in the media also puts confidence in minds of the fans. Positivity breeds poisitivity. You're just scared that we are finally in a position to regain our place at the very summit of English and European football. Your scared because your time is coming to an end and you can see it happening right in front of you.... Where will you take your negativity then???

  7. I completely disagree. As raised by others, every other team does it. The media are constantly looking for soundbites and interviews to put in their papers, how would you rather they spoke about themselves? "oh yeah we won the last game but to be honest we'll probably slip up again soon"! Don't be ridiculous.

    Plus I can find litterally hundreds of similar comments from other teams. For example:
    Arsenal - Almunia - "Players like Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott - when these players are 100 per cent fit, they can be mentally prepared to be totally professional, and they have the potential to win trophies.

    Almunia - "We can win every single game and we are here to do it."

    Wenger - "We are on a good run and we feel we are consistent, which is a good basis to go into a Champions League game."

    Sagna - "Our form is back, our confidence is really high and we know we can go all the way in the Champions League.

    Sagna - "When I come on the pitch, it is like I am with my mates. I know we will do the job properly."

    Even Bolton -

    Jaaskelainen - "And if we keep working hard we will get more wins than defeats between now and the end of the season."

    Elmander - "I play exactly as I should. I receive the ball up front. It is working perfectly. The coach praises me, my team-mates praise me. I am happy and pleased."

    Megson - "We are eight points above the relegation zone with probably a better goal difference than most in there so it is going to be difficult (to be caught)."

    I could go on and list similar statements from other teams and players but I can't be bothered.

    It would be beyond naive to assume it was only liverpool players/staff who make statements praising each other, speaking confidently, praising themselves.

  8. Jamie, I agree with you to a certain extent that whenever we are on a run of good form, there seems to be a deluge of player comments in the media. However, the degree to which this can be imputed to our players "eulogising" is debatable.

    I think it is the inexorable desire for a sensational headline or story that compels the media to disseminate these "interviews" relentlessly. I mean how many times has teamtalk.com carried a headline that reads "Rafa Roars" or some variation thereof? Even if the manager is making an innocuous observation that the title race is not a persona battle between him and Ferguson, he is "roaring" about it. I have never, in 5 years of watching pre and post-match interviews, seen Rafa "roar". It's getting ludicrous now.

    I agree with one of the posters above who reasons that the players are simply answering questions they are asked. And if they are feeling confident, I don't see why they should not express it. As other posters have noted, players from other teams do this all the time. I would rather Torres waxed lyrical about Gerrard than deride, say, Vidic.

    There are so many subtleties to attempting "mental disintegration" of the other team so I don't mind Carragher's comments with respect to Chelsea. As long as he's not being derisory, his opinions are acceptable.

    Granted, there needs to be some discretion exercised, particularly when these claims border on overconfidence, but I would contend that the squad is far from exuding "cockiness". To be honest, I don't think the manager or other players would tolerate it. Rafa constantly speaks about the need to "focus on one game at a time" in order for us not to get "carried away". I think we have succeeded at that this season.

  9. You talk about the past and how we would put our heads down and crack on with winning without publicly praising the club or players. Yet you don't remember one of the many quotes Shanks was famous for:

    "A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe that you are the best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Liverpool we always said we had the best two teams in Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool reserves."

    If you think I've made that up then that brings two things to my mind, 1. You research what you want to expose to the public in order to back your opinion, 2. Your not an LFC supporter because that's one of the most famous quotes made by someone related to our club and you should know that (considering you spend most of your time digging up what we're always saying).

    Check the Official Liverpool Website for my reference.

    Give it a rest with your Anti-Liverpool stuff mate, the sickening and nauseating feeling is stemming from your articles.

    YNWA 96

  10. I'm well aware of that Shankly quote, but that is a world away from the point I'm making.

    Players may be interviewed, but in the interviews they seem to offer up this overconfident triumphalism willingly and excessively, as if it's some kind of internal media strategy.

    I just find it very tacky. How many times must the likes of Carra claim that Man U are on the rocks and blah blah blah. How many times must Torres praise Steven Gerrard?!

    I maintain that no other team is as boastful as Liverpool when things are going well. Other teams say things, yes, but LFC just goes overboard.

    And Kais - you talk about being focused. How is perpetuating the Rafa-Ferguson spat for the media on the eve of a CL Qtrl final staying focused?

    Rafa sets a bad example in this area and the team follows his lead.

    Rafa is ALWAYS in the press moaning about something, whether it's the oweners, Ferguson or whatever. He sets a bad example for team, who have no self-control when they're interviewed.

    It's all well and good being confident, but just prove it on the pitch - don't boast about it so much. What happens if Liverpool beat Chelsea tomorrow. What else is their left to say?!

    Torres: "Gerrard is the greatest player that ever lived".

    Carra: "We're quite clearly the best team and we're going to win everything in sight because we fear no one".

    Where does it end.

    I remember last season before the 3-0 Man U defeat, it was the same old story: baiting Man U in the press; claiming we were the best etc. After the defeat, everyone just looked ridiculous.

    The same thing will inevitably happen again at some point.

  11. Anonymous - I just want to address the Shankly quote you posted:

    "A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe that you are the best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Liverpool we always said we had the best two teams in Merseyside, Liverpool and Liverpool reserves."

    What exactly does this have to do with my point? Are you suggesting that Shankly envisioned Liverpool players gracelessly boasting about their success incessantly to the press?!

    Absolute nonsense. One of the fundamental principles of LFC has always been humbleness, especially in victory.

    The behaviour of modern LFC players with constant boasting and self-congratulatory backslapping is the complete opposite of what Shankly meant with that quote.

    You do indeed have to believe you're the best. As Shankly says - football success IS IN THE MIND, not plastered all over the back pages of the press. It's about mental strength and personal belief, not bragging about how great you are.

    You clearly have a fundamental misunderstanding of the principles that made LFC great in the first place.

    Boasting in the press is for the likes of Man U and Chelsea, NOT Liverpool.

  12. Referring back to what you said:

    "As I said before, no other set of players in the premiership is so self-congratulatory. Unfortunately, this sort of thng is a growing trend for modern Liverpool FC, as the other articles I've highlighted above prove.

    Liverpool teams of the past were not so full of themselves – they just got on with the job at hand and let the football do the talking. And if big games were won, there was no boasting or baiting of other teams; players enjoyed the victory and quielty got on with it.

    How I wish we could return to that sort of humble philosophy."

    And what your saying now after I pointed out what Shankly (who of course you know was the manager of the humble past Liverpool you speak of):

    "I'm well aware of that Shankly quote, but that is a world away from the point I'm making."

    How is my point astray from what your trying to portray?

    You said yourself that you wish the current Liverpool could return to the humble philosophy of the Liverpool teams of the past, yet Bill Shankly is famous for quotes such as the ones I posted above.

    Ok let's take a look at some other quotes from PAST manager's or Players:

    Bob Paisley:

    "Mind you, I've been here during the bad times too - one year we came second."

    Bill Shankly:

    "If you are first you are first. If you are second you are nothing."

    Bill Shankly to Alan Ball after he signed for Everton

    "Don't worry Alan. At least you'll be able to play close to a great team!"

    Again, Bill Shankly

    "The difference between Everton and the Queen Mary is that Everton carry more passengers!"

    Bill Shankly on Tommy Smith

    "If he isn't named Footballer of the Year, football should be stopped and the men who picked any other player should be sent to the Kremlin"

    How about Ray Clemence?

    "Sometimes I feel I'm hardly wanted in this Liverpool team. If I get two or three saves to make, I've had a busy day."

    Or Emlyn Hughes?

    "Liverpool are magic, Everton are tragic."

    Yep, the past Liverpool teams were never confident or showed any element of being cocky or bigging each other up...were they?

    YNWA 96

  13. Oh please!

    Anyone can see the difference between Shankly's quotes and the quotes I've highlighted.

    Shankly and Liverpool players of old were not *incessantly* in the press bigging themselves up and running down the chances of other teams. Many of the quotes are in purely good natured humour, not self-important attempts to convince the world that Liverpool is the best.

    Furthermore, even if you posted every published Shankly quote, it still would not amount to even a small percentage of the dross coming from Liverpool players in the last 2 years alone.

    If you can't see the difference between what I've posted (now and in the past) and the quotes you've posted, then there's no point continuing this discussion.

  14. I read an amusing anecdote, from Carra's autobiography if I'm not mistaken, when he described Benitez coming out of a press conference telling Carra that he had just declared to the media that "Carra is a better defender than John Terry". Apparently the manager then made a motion with his fingers to mimic a "Pinocchio" nose, suggesting he hadn't been truthful.

    In response, sometime later, Rafa asked Carra what he (Carra) had told the media at a certain press conference. "I told them you're a better coach than Mourinho", Carra responded, making the same Pinocchio gesture.

    I think this tells us two things. First, it is evident that the manager and players don't take the media too seriously. Second, they recognise that manipulating the media is a game that is a necessary part of modern football.

    To suggest that the club is engaging in "nauseating self-love" is disingenuous, considering that virtually every single manager and many players practice this. Mourinho, Wenger, Fergie all enjoy a good moan.

    So I don't think it's fair to demonise the Liverpool players as being sole perpetrators of this incessant farce that is the rabid media.

  15. Yikalo Yohannes7:53 pm, June 14, 2009

    2 and 4, 1 and 3 are the same thing