Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

It's fine to have an opinion - everybody does - but Matt Stanger is tired of being told what to think about the title race. Liverpool deserve it? We'll see on May 11...

Last Updated: 16/04/14 at 09:15 Post Comment

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Football is a game of opinions. They're like third nipples, apparently, in that we all have them and we're all just dying to get them off our chests. There is nothing wrong with that, of course (or perhaps there is - that's your opinion), but there reaches a stage when repeatedly expressing the same point of view becomes a sustained and tedious campaign to tell people what they should think.

Presumably most people will have been impressed by Liverpool's title challenge this season. That the Reds have climbed from seventh to first in the space of a year is a remarkable feat in itself, while the thrilling style of play Brendan Rodgers has introduced is even more admirable. With the club's 34 matches thus far featuring an incredible 135 goals, there is probably no better team to watch in terms of pure entertainment.

But again, that's an entirely subjective argument. One man's meat is another man's poison. Manuel Pellegrini might claim that it would be "very disappointing" if Chelsea win the Premier League, given that many perceive them to be less pleasing on the eye than Manchester City and Liverpool, but there are others who would love nothing more than to see the plucky little horse beat its two rival stallions. One man's parking the bus is another man's catenaccio.

Pellegrini is entitled to his opinion as much as anyone, perhaps even more so given his position within the game. But even the City manager, with all his years of experience across five different countries, can make the wrong call occasionally. And suggesting that the disappointment of a Chelsea title win would extend to "football, the fans, everyone" was certainly a bad call.

What is it that provokes people to speak on behalf of others? Being enthralled by Liverpool's form at the top of the table shouldn't mean you have to root for them, but we're constantly told - and at an increasing rate - that neutrals favour the Reds. I happen to be a neutral in this debate - well, about as neutral as it's possible to be - and yet I have no particular inclination to cheer on Liverpool for the rest of the campaign.

The same goes for Chelsea and City. Pellegrini's side should be respected for the manner in which they have blown most teams away this season, but equally as impressive is Jose Mourinho's feat of being the only manager to do the double over City so far this year. If Pellegrini is to be left disappointed, it should be at his own failings in those crucial encounters, along with Sunday's defeat at Anfield.

As Liverpool continue to surprise everyone with their exhilarating displays, the number of articles claiming they 'deserve' to win the league has grown at an exponential rate. Not only should we all be googly-eyed at the football, apparently we now also have to like their players. We're frequently told that Luis Suarez has turned a new leaf, with goals seemingly more important in this regard than remorse, while Steven Gerrard has to be seen as the best player of the Premier League era should he finally get his hands on the trophy.

However, for all the column inches on Liverpool's virtues, it will be difficult to argue they deserved to win the title if they slip up in their final four matches, even if they break Chelsea's goalscoring record from 2010. Their fans - and the horde of neutrals they have reportedly acquired - are free to make the case. That's how opinions work. But please don't waste any more time telling the rest of us how to think.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

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