LIFE for Liverpool FC is such that as they announce an intention to remain at Anfield, their players would evidently rather be anywhere but.
A mixture of delight and relief met this week’s confirmation the club are planning a long-term future at the ground they have called home for their entire 120-year history.
But if supporters and romantics were pleased the proposed new stadium on Stanley Park had finally been shelved, Brendan Rodgers and his players would be forgiven for a little twinge of apprehension.
After all, home comforts have been few and far between during the last 18 months for the Anfield outfit.
The statistics may have been trotted out with unsettling regularity in recent times, but they are worth repeating.
Liverpool have won only six of their last 24 home Premier League games. Rodgers remains without an Anfield league win as manager. And only Europa League minnows FC Gomel have been beaten at home this season.
Rodgers, a clear custodian of football tradition, made a point on his arrival this summer of reinstating red nets and the original ‘This Is Anfield’ sign.
But it’s clear it will take more than some minor cosmetic changes to arrest a decline that ultimately cost Kenny Dalglish his job.
Fortress Anfield needs rebuilding, both on and off the field. And with Liverpool in the midst of a run of four home games, such reconstruction must be immediate.
The controversial goalless draw claimed by a characteristically obdurate and physical Stoke City side last time out exposed the shortcomings of Rodgers’s squad, not least the overreliance on Luis Suarez.
Matters degenerated further during the international break, when the injury to Fabio Borini, who is expected to be sidelined for at least two months with a fractured foot, emphatically underlined the folly of Fenway Sports Group not to back Rodgers’ deadline-day pursuit of Clint Dempsey.
Suarez, having already accrued three Premier League bookings in seven games, has become such an obvious target for referees that a suspension appears almost certain in the coming weeks.
Not even the Europa League could offer Rodgers any Anfield respite earlier this month, a lackadaisical defensive display allowing Udinese to snaffle a 3-2 win despite being outplayed for long periods.
Two more home matches are to come in the next week, a testing European assignment against megabucks Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala following Saturday’s visit of promoted Reading.
The confirmation of the largely open secret that Liverpool will look to redevelop Anfield at least provides an increased sense of the stability and certainty that has been sadly lacking for much of the previous decade.
In many respects, the now doomed Stanley Park project represented Liverpool’s struggles to keep pace with their main Premier League rivals in terms of matchday revenue.