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"Sterling not worth getting worked up over" by Chris Smith

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I’m half decent at writing when I’m fired up, even if I do say so myself. On most days, when constructing every sentence feels like extracting teeth with a hammer and chisel, I ponder my choice of profession. However, on those rare occasions when a nerve is touched, the words flow, the thought process clears and something relatively readable occasionally hits the page.

 

As relates to Liverpool, over the years, those occasions have become increasingly fleeting. Call it the removed geographical proximity, a general antipathy towards modern footy, the constant bullsh*t spouted by everyone in a position of prominence at the club, the perennial infighting started by ‘The Rafa Wars’ or just… *sigh* getting older. Whatever, it is, I haven’t written a decent piece about LFC for years and, due to today’s subject matter, I don’t suppose the streak will be broken by the following.

 

The Raheem Sterling situation should have us all seething – like Jamie Carragher, visibly straining to contain his anger on live television. You’d expect the usual “How dare he… the ungrateful little… the club is screwed… this is Rodgers’ fault…FSG…Ayre…” and so on. But that’s a little old hat isn’t it? Been there, done that, bought the replica shirt.

 

Carragher’s raw emotions were understandably a result of a perceived personal affront; of course he of “who’s bigger than Liverpool?” fame would consider it a slap in the face. However, I don’t think you’ll be reading too many impassioned articles from Liverpool fans regarding Raheem Sterling’s already tiresome summer saga.

 

That’s because I don’t think anyone cares enough to justify the energy expenditure. And that’s a good thing. For me, this is a much bigger deal outside the club than it is among our fraternity. While the nation savours the slow and painful death of our institution, laments agents’ influence, and players’ greed; Liverpool fans seem decidedly “norrarsed.”

 

Reading through the forums over the last few days, there’s been a collective shrugging of shoulders. Not out of sad resignation, but of genuine indifference. Go/stay, sign/don’t sign… do whatever you like. It’ll make zero difference to the majority of us.

 

Now, he’s clearly the player in the squad with the highest potential ceiling, so outsiders might question such apathy? Although it’s difficult to pick out where to start, there’s nothing new about a poorly advised young footballer detached from reality is there? “I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise,” as the fella says.

 

We were expecting it, we’re kinda used to it and deep down we probably don’t even blame him. Unfortunately, “who’s bigger than Liverpool?” is no longer the rhetorical question Carragher believed it to be. Sh*t, it probably wasn’t even when No.23 uttered his most iconic soundbite.

 

For so many years we’ve been indelibly wrapped up in this Liverpool myth, but it’s unravelling with greater velocity every year. Again that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not healthy for us to exist in that world anymore, particularly when the club’s only real reverence for the past is its suitability for commercial exploitation.

 

Then there’s Rodgers. Most of us have waded through enough of Brendan’s bullsh*t to see its brown-tinted transparency. I can’t imagine how galling it must be to listen to it face-to-face (or hands-to-face in Rodgers’ case) on a daily basis. There’s been so much talk about how Sterling’s ascension has been Rodgers’ doing, but for the last year he’s played left back one week, centre forward the next and rarely in a position that gives him the best chance to succeed. If I don’t trust Rodgers with Liverpool’s future, why should Sterling continue trust the manager with his? Christ, sometimes I feel like handing in my own transfer request after listening to the manager talk.

 

All of that, in my eyes, contributes to the lack of feelings. However, the apathy is also through the realisation that the player is, you know, not actually that good. We’ve seen Fowler, Owen, Gerrard, Carragher and even McManaman come and go; are we really losing that much in Raheem Sterling? Sure, he’s a uniquely talented boy with the ability to perhaps become great, but it is all packaged within a highly questionable temperament, level of intelligence, desire and, seemingly, an outright aversion to turning up when it matters most.

 

Losing him would doubtless be a blow, but perhaps more to the club’s pride than our ability to succeed on the field. Not a single person I’ve spoken to believes he’s worth the money his representatives asked for. Even with the club's brass constantly berated for the miserly approach, few think they should cave on this.

 

For better or worse, there’s also a real lack of affection for Sterling. Despite graduating from the academy, he hasn’t been considered one of our own and unlike Hyypia, Suarez and Alonso he wasn’t adopted. Michael Owen never that rapport or that personality that often inspires the bond, but he was better at 16 than Sterling is now, so it’s a moot point. While fans bellowed Owen’s name celebrating his triumphs in various odes, The Kop couldn’t even be bothered to give young Raheem a chant.

 

Many grown men were reduced to tears when some of the aforementioned foreign transplants moved on, let alone the likes of Carragher, Fowler and Gerrard. However, I doubt even the most devoted kid will shed a tear if Raheem Sterling leaves Liverpool this summer.

 

Although he behaves like a right little scrote at times, I don’t think Sterling is a bad lad. I have zero ill will towards him. I just don’t care what he does. In the context of Gerrard’s departure, the Sterling ‘drama’ doesn’t even register on the fabled give-a-f*ck-o-meter.

 

Whether he stays or goes, it’s really irrelevant. We’ll go on and, at some point, restart the perpetual time-loop of recovery, renaissance, resistance and sobering reality. This will barely register as a dropped stich in tatty-yet-timeless tapestry that is the modern Liverpool Football Club. It’s really not worth getting that worked up about, is it?

 

Chris Smith

 

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No, he isn't. But here we are.

 

After the latest, I'm not worked up about him leaving but about him staying. He's becoming a fucking cancer, best rid immediately.

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A good piece Chris.

 

I think that £40m for him would be good business- if I thought we would buy well with the cash. I don't.

 

What can Brendan teach Sterling about international football, or European football?

 

What galls me is how each season we lose a little more playing strength. title tilts and Euro adventures now rely on the likes of Pascoe and Brendan to mastermind, Joe Allen and Lambert to execute.

 

That it has come to this.

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Since all four teams above us are interested, and one or two top European teams as well, I think the fee might reach 50M. But we've shown that we are not very good at spending money. If Klopp comes in and buys, say, Draxler and Reus, then the money is good. Give a new manager as much money as possible. But most fans would be wary of Brendan having a lot of money to spend. 

 

Perhaps the better outcome, if Rodgers is staying, is player exchange, with a modest fee adjustment? There are good players in all the teams above us who would improve us. That might be the way to go?

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Disagree on a few points and thought the writing was a bit rusty but I've always liked reading these articles and wish there were more of them these days.  Like a cross between Holden Caulfield and, I dunno, someone else really famous.  

 

Encore une fois.

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No, he isn't. But here we are.

 

After the latest, I'm not worked up about him leaving but about him staying. He's becoming a fucking cancer, best rid immediately.

 

Have to say, I agree with you.

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I don't share the pessimism regards our future but I understand how frustrating/repetitive it all seems.

 

Spot on with Sterling though. Get him gone and let the managerial dream team of Klopp and Hyppia invest it and re-ignite our mighty red army.

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