By Alastair Pike, columnist
I was 11. One day, a boy brought a pack of soccer cards to school. It was new to everybody, and it instantly set off a frenzy. Everyone, including me, started buying and trading these cards at school. My friend, Justin, was a big fan of Liverpool FC at the time, and we started looking out for the Liverpool players in the packs. Just like that, I started supporting Liverpool.
Back then, I only watched Liverpool play from time to time, and I was more drawn to the players I was getting in my packs than the ones I saw on TV. The days at school felt longer, but there was always something to look forward to. All it took was one boy’s small gesture.
Today, I find myself watching every match Liverpool plays and sweating and pounding over every attempt of a goal and every defended corner. From not knowing who Liverpool was to learning the names and faces of the players, I can say I love Liverpool FC. It’s been seven years, and I have found my passion in soccer and in sports.
It takes time and, at this moment, I think Liverpool hasn’t found its passion this season. One goal in 120 minutes of soccer against a team that has conceded the most in the fourth tier of the English league is not like Liverpool. Failing to score more than one goal in all but the last match is not like Liverpool.
There is something infuriating with the way Liverpool has played so far. The League Cup game against Carlisle was one match that lacked passion. Liverpool had 58 shots but ended up with only one goal, and more strikingly, 72 percent of the shots were off target. The lack of speed and ability to read the game were fully exposed. Liverpool moved up the pitch so slowly that Carlisle had put every player behind the ball even before Liverpool passed the halfway line. The product of that was disappointment – disappointment that will morph into anger.
How, then, will Liverpool find its passion? Will it stumble upon the boy with the soccer cards, or will it hunt it like it’s treasure? Liverpool desperately needs to play with speed, power and passion. The soccer philosophy of Jürgen Klopp rings true to the tunes of Anfield, Liverpool’s home stadium, in its glory days. “It’s very emotional, very fast, not boring, very strong… with a big heart, emotion makes the difference, life in our game.”