by Dave Usher for ESPN
There were a lot of positives to take from Liverpool's weekend victory over Crystal Palace at Anfield, but the play from the wide areas was certainly not one of them.
Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling both had their moments, of course -- the Spanish full-back created the opening goal for Luis Suarez whilst Sterling won the penalty from which skipper Steven Gerrard claimed his 99th league goal. Those highlights aside, both players had their problems, particularly in the second half, when the whole team's performance level dropped. That led to some unrest in the crowd, and Sterling in particular bore the brunt of the fans' frustration.
From my seat in the Main Stand, I heard numerous unflattering comments directed at the youngster, and speaking afterward to friends who were scattered around various parts of Anfield, it seems it was happening all over the stadium. Whilst football crowds have always had their whipping boys (I can remember dozens of them at Anfield just in the 30 years or so that I've been going to the game), it's generally rare for Liverpool supporters to show such a lack of patience toward an 18-year-old, especially one who is playing in an unfamiliar position, as Sterling was at the weekend.
Some would say it's merely a symptom of the "modern-day football fan." I'd agree up to a point but would also suggest that it's partly a reaction to the "modern-day footballer." In Sterling's case, the lack of leeway from the crowd is almost certainly in part due to what happened around this time last year when his agent attempted to hold the club to ransom for a huge contract for his client despite Sterling's having played fewer than 30 first-team games.
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