Welcome, to another edition of Thunderdome! No, really. Welcome. Wipe your feet and hang your tattered coats stragglers and wanderers before entering. Liverpool haven't been as good as many supporters would have liked to date and have turned in some less than inspiring performances. At this stage, with October still yet to have faded into memory for this season, what should be the appropriate response to the club's relative travails?
Brendan Rodgers and the players deserve some criticism. If you rate the the manager and the players in general, as one probably should, current performances can be improved. There have been some showings and decisions that seem puzzling at various times this season. Whether it is rotation, intensity, or addressing long-standing weaknesses, Liverpool haven't shown enough promise in those areas for even the most positive fan to safely declare faith in time and the set-up. Some problems look to be ones that won't be solved this season or will just have to be managed by somewhat restoring former strengths to provide an adequate counterbalance.
What happens to those who possess a first class ticket for the Brendan Rodgers "way of working" train but express significant doubts about what is occurring in Liverpool's stodgy present state of affairs? Is this tantamount to treason? In a time when patience among supporters is valued, have these folk strayed from the most difficult path for mere humans to follow? It is a strange time for a supporter to express strong criticism of a manager's methods and decisions yet still believe in a brighter future for the club. Some supporters have expressed dismay at any questions directed to the manager and that may be a natural reaction in a climate where the easiest course of action is to criticise, point fingers, and demand an adequate sacrifice. Anything to sate a need for some twisted form of catharsis until those impatient feelings arise once more.
The problem for reasonable supporter folk is when another expresses doubt in the methods utilised in the present in the knowledge that the one delivering them is probably the club's long-term solution. It is tricky to navigate through these discussions without a firm understanding of the general belief of others. Sometimes it is easier to walk into a bar with a tee-shirt indicating pro or anti whatever the issue is. Even on twitter or websites across the vast internet, a simple nod identifying who and what you are may help matters progress enormously. There's no need to pretend and attempt to fit in, just be calm and reasoned in your own particular way of working. Some may cautiously support the manager while others may be his biggest fans. There are those who will tolerate the manager for now until Liverpool fail to meet some basic requirement at the season's end.
It's clear that bawling and moaning at everything and anything associated with Liverpool with even the slightest setback isn't an advisable approach to support the club. However, there are times when legitimate and constructive criticism is required. It isn't to say that all is about to end but to acknowledge that more can be done in the hope that it will be so. As Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid on Wednesday, perhaps that may be the match where Liverpool comes alive or it could be the time to just quietly reflect with Hull City on the horizon.