Although many football pundits have repeatedly argued that off-field problems should not affect what happens on the pitch, the crisis at Liverpool has proved just how closely linked harmony off the pitch can be with success on it.
With players such as Steven Gerrard clearly dedicated to the club to the point that they care about its future as much as Liverpool’s passionate fans, and others like Fernando Torres worried about their future and the decisions they need to make in order to ensure they will continue to compete at the top level of world football, the links between the boardroom and the changing room appear closer than ever before. Liverpool were not Andy Gray bets to win this weekend’s derby and they duly lost, showing just how much of an impact the off-field problems have had.
Although certain ex-professionals still involved in the game can certainly argue that such close links have always existed, the rise in player power and the increasingly influential role of agents continue to alter the way that players respond to off the field issues.
For example, players who may once have been happy to sit back and passively see what the end result of a club’s dealings off the field would be, are now aware that they can invoke rulings and all manner of issues which mean they are more likely than ever to continue to comment and speculate on the future of the club, and are ultimately prepared to act on the back of off the field events. To make matters worse, the Blackburn betting suggests Liverpool could struggle to pick up all three points next weekend.
On the positive side for Liverpool fans, the fact that they have managed to keep hold of their best players is a sign that now the battle to remove Hicks and Gillett is over, the club can look forward to an era with far less damaging politics surrounding the club.