Liverpool have won the European Cup / Champions League five times. Liverpool have won the English First Division title / Premiership eighteen times. Through association with the likes of Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish, Alan Kennedy, Kevin Keegan and John Barnes the club has always had an identity that said the best of British. The key word there is not British but best.
Liverpool were associated with the best. After watching local rivals Manchester United dominate a large part of English football for the last two decades Liverpool fans know their stock has fallen. In 2010 the club finds itself in a ruinous state that might potentially determine it’s position in English football for the foreseeable short to medium term future. First things first, with such a proud history and wealth of titles Liverpool will not cease to be a major footballing name for a long time. As of now, and the relatively near future, Liverpool are likely to cease competing for the major trophies.
Two of the best players, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard might well end up staying by default. It appears Steven Gerrard is too old for Real Madrid to warrant spending a large transfer sum on him. Fernando Torres is either not an option because of club allegiances, Manchester United and Real Madrid, or too expensive for anybody apart from Chelsea to sign. One of the world’s best strikers has only one suitor. Liverpool should thank their lucky stars. Javier Mascherano is asking for a move to Internazionale Milan to join his old boss, Rafael Benitez. Liverpool have no recourse to prevent Mascherano moving should a suitable fee arrive. The club’s finances are perilous. Liverpool are now seen as a sinking ship.
It tends to be the case that when a huge club sells a big player, as all big clubs occasionally do, they replace them with someone of equal stature or exceptional promise. As it turns out Liverpool have signed Milan Jovanovic on a free transfer and are now linked with Paul Scharner, formerly of Wigan Athletic, on another free transfer and James Beattie, currently of Stoke City, on a cut price deal. Jovanovic, Beattie and Scharner do not have the same resonance as Roger Hunt, Billy Lidell and Ian Rush. That Jovanovic, Beattie and Scharner might prove to be capable, astute and worthy signings is not a doubt, everybody deserves an opportunity and the Liverpool fans will afford them no less. Only the association between the best and Liverpool seems to be waning.