By Sanket Prabhu
Liverpool FC is famed as club that has gone through many ups and downs over the past 121 years. They have brought home silverware and fostered many of the greatest players the world has seen. As a result the Reds have garnered a worldwide fan base that crucifies the team for every misstep, as well as celebrate in jubilance with every victory. The Liverpool Offside is a culmination of these fans and their thoughts on the state of Liverpool FC, past and present.
Being a passionate Liverpool fan, this blog really appealed to me with its content. It has a wide array of content for all users ranging from the hardcore followers to the casual lurkers who watch games but also enjoy a laugh about the player’s lives.
The first thing I noticed about the blog was a post about the LFC academy. Playing soccer and going through the US youth system at the regional and national levels I have a good perspective on youth development. Our system has come far with the introduction of sponsored academies, but it is not up to par with those of Europe, so I have a soft spot for the LFC youth academy. With weekly update on what Liverpool’s young starlets are up to, fans can see what homegrown players are being churned out in the hopes of producing the next Steven Gerrard, or better. There isn’t just a focus on the older group (17s-18s), but coverage going down to the U15 squad. This section of the blog offers fans and inside look at our potential future, as well as helps the young footballers get noticed as they are less likely to get any hype from major news sources. There was one blip I took extra notice of on the July 24th update, and that was about Brendan Rodgers thinking about rolling the academy into the first-team facilities in Melwood. This is a positive sign for Liverpool’s youth and the club in general as they stride to reclaim their past glory.
Another major portion of the blog is geared toward the more technical fans: Liverpool Tactical Review. For the most part, this section is pretty critical towards Liverpool’s performances on the field, albeit constructive in illuminated spots of weakness. Here the self-named pundits give their two cents about the current state of affairs at Anfield. There is a lot of focus on Brendan Rodgers, which makes sense since he is the tactician behind the sidelines. Rodgers is currently seen as a figure that is responsible for setting the Reds’ ship straight (fingers crossed it stays that way), and while in general there is skepticism of his optimism, so far he has been on point. From the general consensus of the commenters, Rodgers has so far been hailed a hero and the fans have been genuinely enthusiastic about his arrival and workings with the team. The piece that caught my eye in this section was concerning Liverpool’s back line. With the retirement of the legend Jamie Carragher and departure of Reina’s experienced voice from the net, a giant gaping hole was left to fill. There was a pretty significant pessimistic voice on the blog about on the blog about the stability of the back line. Luckily Rodgers identified this and brought in some fine talents to buff the back line in the forms of Touré, Alberto, Sakho, and Illori. With Agger out to prove that he deserved the co-captain position and the new signings finding their footing behind the front six, the hole is shrinking day by day. As for the cherry on top, Mignolet has had outstanding showings between the posts in his first games, with hopefully more to come.
At the end of the day, only one thing matters in soccer: what happens on the field. The Match Coverage section addresses each match – not only the Liverpool matches, but also the international endeavors of the players. With pre- and post-game analysis of every Liverpool game, be it the league cup or an EPL match, fans can stay in tune with the team’s play on the field. Each match thread goes through the highlights and statistics, giving fans that missed the game many talking points. In addition each decision by Rodgers, as well each goal, is dissected right from the buildup. The match thread is summed up with some parting words about the day’s performance as well as what to look forward to the next week. The comments section again provides great discussions regarding points brought up in the article as well as anything that was missed. With difference perspectives here combined with the description from the main post, a fan can get a full picture of the match if they missed it, or offer their own advice after watching it.
Overall, the Liverpool Offside provides anyone, fan or not, with access to all things going on with Liverpool. The news coverage is solid and complements the academy, matches, and tactical talk. For the more casual fans, the site offers more light-hearted posts like rankings of the players’ tattoos. With sections for fan threads and picture submissions, it is a friendly community that fosters constructive discussion about the state of Anfield. Whether a new fan or old, I would recommend this blog to anyone who really wants to know what the Reds are all about.