How Southampton fans hold the key to Liverpool’s title hopes

It has been 28 years since Liverpool last won a league title. While not something we like to bring up that much, it’s very much the elephant in the room after last night.

The pitch wasn’t ideal and while that was the case for both teams, it clearly played into the hands of Leicester more. Not an excuse, merely an observation. There are no excuses, when it comes to weather it is what it is and the other sides that have won the title didn’t miraculously get a free pass from the English winter.

There’s also the fact that playing Henderson at right back is far from ideal. He came in for a ridiculous amount of stick where I was sitting and yet I thought for the most part – especially given he was out of position, he performed his duty well in an unfamiliar makeshift position.

Then there’s the fact that Keita and Shaqiri are not two of the three names I want to see at this time in the centre of midfield. They started well enough but when the game wasn’t going Liverpool’s way after a bright start, neither did enough in terms of wanting to win the midfield battle.

Finally in terms of reasons, the ref was abysmal. Any 50/50 he gave Leicester’s way and that’s being generous. Maybe it was a red card, maybe it wasn’t but it was definitely a pen (Keita).

These are reasons that all contributed to us only getting a point and not three last night and of course the stubborn resilience and belief that grew in Leicester. If I was a Leicester fan I’d be asking myself why my team can show up against City, Chelsea and Liverpool but then dials it in in other games, but that’s by the by.

Every issue that I’ve named there is something that the team should expect and are capable of overcoming. What is not is their own fans turning on them with half an hour left to play.

There’s an old saying “act like you’ve been there before.”

Well it’s been a while for us as fans. You can point to the 2013 season but this is different. I’d argue that this season has been more like the 2009 season only we’ve had more luck when we’ve needed it. Like that side, we are more of a full team that can be relied upon one to eleven, not just a magical attack.

In that 2009 season we had to come from behind to push Man United every step of the way and we suit that role, the role of underdogs.

Our defiance is a quality I have always admired as fans and yet sitting in the Upper Kenny on a cold Wednesday night 4 points ahead of City as things stood, I saw none of it.

This wasn’t defiance, it wasn’t the Anfield roar supporting the side and lifting them to greater things, it was a petulant entitled “I want it now” cry of entitlement.

It clearly filtered through to the players.

I often go on about the best “performance” from a fan base that I’ve ever seen at Anfield that wasn’t from our own. It was 2 years ago in the league cup semi final and Southampton came to Anfield in search of silverware. They started shakey, I remember Tadic in particular was not having his best night.
How did the Southampton fans respond? They sang his name louder. They did this for all their players. It was wonderful.

It’s one of the few times I’ve applauded the away fans as I was leaving Anfield, they were everything fans should be. Loud, proud, defiant and passionate.

I don’t care if we have Klopp, I don’t care if we have Salah, Mane, Firmino and on and on, if we continue to get on our team’s back with half an hour to go based on thinking we have a divine right to the title by brushing aside every opponent, we won’t win it.

Last night we had a “mulligan”, we wasted it. Some will say we wasted it on the pitch, I understand where they are coming from but the fact remains we are now five points clear when yesterday we were four. We could easily have lost that game and we got what I believe is a valuable point.

We’ve drawn four games all season and lost one, the one we lost was to the champions and we lost it by millimetres in one of the best adverts for English football you will ever see.

It’s not on the pitch I’m talking about that we had a “free pass”, it’s off it.

We should have sang our hearts out, loud and proud for 90 minutes sending the message to the players that we realise that titles aren’t won with 15 games left to play but we believe in you and we are behind you. The message we sent was the exact opposite, it was one akin to succeed or else.

We allowed our own fear and our narrative of failure in the league for 28 years to permeate Anfield. I don’t care who you are, no one can bare the weight of that.

We should be delighted with where we are and proud of our lads, not berating them because they haven’t won every game, it’s embarrassing some of the comments out of our so called fans.

We are Liverpool Football Club, let’s start fucking acting like it. If we win the league then we’ve more than earned it on and off the field but if we don’t then que sera but don’t let our own weight of expectation destroy the best chance of the title we’ve had in 28 years.

You might not like it because we’re being compared to another club, but we need to be more Southampton circa 2017 and because football is a funny game of coincidence, guess who Southampton’s manager was in that game …

Claude Puel. Of course it was.

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