GOLDEN GIRLS: Việt Nam’s women’s team celebrate after winning the gold medal at the SEA Games. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh
By Paul Kennedy
Liverpool Football Club and the Việt Nam national team both play in red, but that’s really where the similarities end.
As much as I love and admire the pride, determination and skills possessed by the national team here in Việt Nam, if by some bizarre twist of fate they found themselves up against the current Liverpool team with Mane, Salah and co., there would only be one winner.
And that’s to be expected. Liverpool FC under Jurgen Klopp are the champions of Europe, currently unbeaten in the Premier League and are odds-on favourites to lift the title come May.
Off the pitch, the owners are slick, astute business people that in the 10 years or so since they took the reins have taken Liverpool FC from the brink of bankruptcy and transformed them into one of the richest clubs in the world.
Liverpool are on fire at the moment, and on a personal note, I have never been happier.
But, believe it or not, they are lagging behind Việt Nam in one key footballing area, and that’s their women’s team.
Việt Nam’s women’s team were equally as successful as their male counterparts at the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines earlier this month. In fact, you could argue more so.
The men made history by winning the gold medal at the tournament for the first time, for the women it was their sixth triumph at the Games, a truly remarkable achievement.
Liverpool FC Women on the other hand are currently second from bottom in the FA Women’s Super League and have just three points after 10 games.
I understand when Liverpool next play at home it will be a sell-out and when the women’s team plays chances are you will be able to hear a pin drop in the stadium, the crowd will be that small in comparison.
I get that superstars like Salah and Mane have far more commercial value right now than the likes of Jessica Clarke and Niamh Charles of the ladies squad, but surely in the future that will change.
In the last match, Liverpool FC Women managed a draw with Chelsea, but after the game, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes complained about the state of the pitch (it wasn’t Anfield, but Prenton Park, home of League One Tranmere Rovers).
She described the venue and conditions as "a stain on Liverpool FC" and she’s not wrong.
Sure, as the men's side chase for the title they have coveted for so long then I understand they must keep Anfield in pristine condition, but the women’s team deserve better.
Each time they play they represent Liverpool Football Club, and right now, they are not looking too good.
And as the men’s team flies high, the women are being left behind in a major way, unlike Việt Nam who have proved themselves as the best in Southeast Asia.
Liverpool FC are building for the future. They are currently constructing a state-of-the-art training facility on the outskirts of the city and their German manager has recently signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2024.
If the best player in the world becomes available, then Liverpool will be one of the teams he will consider joining, as money won’t be a problem.
But that future must take into account the inevitable growth of the women’s game and right now Liverpool FC Women are not only a long way from the success, but they are also a long way behind the current Vietnamese ladies. VNS