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Why are the English media obsessed with Liverpool?

Tuesday 16th August 2011
When you look at the relative success enjoyed by other teams since the Premier League came to be, they deservedly got media coverage. Unfortunately, column inches and air time are always in short supply when said teams either decline or plateau. Newcastle had great success in 1995/96, Everton flirted with the Champions League, Portsmouth won the FA Cup, Spurs had their season in the spotlight and Leeds reached the Champions League semis.

But in the media there is always an ache that presumably can only be cured by Liverpool returning to the top of the English mountain and planting their flag.

Guardian journalist Paul Hayward on Saturday tweeted, “Only now, with the Kop roaring, will Adam, Henderson, Downing and Enrique fully known what it means to play for Liverpool,” and I only saw this via a re-tweet from a friend who followed up with, “That last RT is the kind of sycophancy we can expect for the rest of the season”. Henry Winter wrote an article under the headline “Liverpool's new boys appear ready for the Anfield revolution,” but why is there an obsession with a team that has, for the past twenty years, been inconsistent and quite frankly, average?

I know many people will cry ‘ISTANBUL' but you'll notice I said relative success. Winning the Champions League and finishing fifth is not how Liverpool should be performing and it won't happen again. For Pompey fans, lifting the FA Cup was their Istanbul, Spurs crushing reigning European champions Inter Milan at White Hart Lane was theirs. It's all relative.

Liverpool's best final position in the Premier League era was second, four points off of Man Utd, exactly the same as Newcastle in 1995/96 but we never wonder when they're going to return to the top.

If Mr. Hayward was talking about the noise and atmosphere at Anfield, it has been proven that the Britannia Stadium is the loudest in the Premiership. Nobody said “Jonathan Woodgate now knows what it means to play for Stoke,” did they?

Liverpool earned their stripes in the 70s and 80s and yes, we all know how many European Cups they have won, four, right? But let's be honest, that's in the past. This revolution has been coming for 20 years now and we say that Arsenal are in a lengthy transition.

I suppose it doesn't help that whenever we switch on the television we run the risk of seeing a legend from Liverpool's golden years, Hansen and Lawrenson on Match of the Day and Phil Thompson on Soccer Saturday, all beating the same drum. There is a fascinating romance when it comes to Liverpool and Anfield; Mark Bright even tipped them to win the Premiership this year.

It's unhealthy and quite frankly, tiresome. The media is fuelling this cloud of false optimism and false entitlement over Anfield, year after year the question is asked “Is this their year?” regardless of where they finished the season before. At first, it was amusing, now we just need to get over it, Liverpool just aren't what they were twenty long years ago.

I read a comment on a forum at the end of last season, a Liverpool fan said: “Chelsea would pay £500 million for our history,” to which a Chelsea supporter responded, “Liverpool would pay £500 million for our present.”
Rob Hayes

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