Liverpool still not a big player

Last updated 10:39 24/03/2012

The cup competitions in English football have enjoyed a resurgence.

Previously, the Carling/Littlewoods/Rumbelows/Milk/Mitre 10 Cup had become a bit of a tinpot trophy for the big boys, who had more substantial fish to fry. The vast reserves of gold at the end of the Champions League rainbow meant they generally sent out reserve teams in earlier ties, resting crucial, more precious legs.

However Liverpool, United, Spurs and Chelsea have still dominated the winning podium, just because they can. But these days, a trip to Wembley for the little old ‘third’ trophy can keep you in a job – can’t it Kenny Dalglish?

The oh-so friendly, diminutive, legendary Scouse Mouse that is King Kenny has been telling all and sundry how the mighty reds have been moving ‘forward’ as a club – and of course they haven’t given up on that fourth Champions League spot. Oh god no…I mean what’s 12 points between friends?

Give it a rest Kenny… Liverpool have been below average – and for a club of their stature and with the remit/money you’ve been given, your job should be under serious pressure.

Of course there are mitigating factors. The loss of Steven Gerrard for 15 games has been massive, alongside the totemic Luis Suarez, who felt the full wrath of the FA’s ‘alleged’ clamp down on racism. The EPL is also unforgiving and there has been a bucket-load of surprising results this campaign. Arsenal can testify to that.

But perhaps the seeds were sown in the very first game – a 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland after dominating proceedings. Anfield draws with Norwich, Swansea, Blackburn and Stoke have followed, with Liverpool having scored just 35 league goals this season.

The problems of 35-million-pound-man Andy Carroll have been well-documented (three goals in 15 starts, if you haven’t heard), but he’s not the only highly-paid passenger on this team. Jordan Henderson has been nothing short of dreadful. Positionally unsure, the 20-million flop was seen as a bright light at Sunderland – well Kenny has certainly dimmed that beam. Stewart Downing, a natural winger with a blistering shot and an England regular – no goals this campaign.

Even Charlie Adam, who is one of the finest set-piece experts in the EPL, has drifted in and out of matches. Dalglish likes Jay Spearing, who has recently returned from injury, illustrating that numerous combinations have been utilised, but still Liverpool struggle for a successful system and have no consistent tactical plan.

And don’t start me on Craig Bellamy – am I the only one who thinks he is real quality and just has to be managed correctly?

Anyway, once the players cross the white line the manager can do no more and they must take responsibility. But as the god-awful collapse against QPR illustrated, this is a side bereft of confidence – two wins in their last 10 league encounters says it all.

Is it simply a case of no one being honest enough to criticise the Liverpool messiah that is Dalglish? He is, after all, the epitome of all that was great and good about the club.

An epic player in his pomp, he’s considered one of the finest Britain has ever produced, with his reds having dominated the world of football. He managed the club to three league titles and showed incredible dignity and bravery as the tragedy of Hillsborough unfolded around him. A hero, a legend, a God.

But here’s the rub. There hasn’t been progress for Liverpool under his tenureship this season and he’s deluding himself if he thinks otherwise. A penalty shoot-out was all that stood between Cardiff City and the Carling Cup this year – a very fine margin. And yes they’re still in the FA Cup.

However Liverpool fans want to be challenging for the league. Currently 28 points behind United, they’re nowhere near. And under King Kenny, I don’t believe they ever will be.

Comment of the week Thank you Jambonz: I think 'Arry would be foolish to take the England job if it were offered to him. He'd be forcing his luck, surely. He's in the best place, managerially speaking, of his career. His date with Spurs is about being the right guy in the right place at the right time. Not regarded as a master tactician, he seems to be getting mileage out of Spurs on the basis of his motivational and man-management skills. And he's shining during a period when the general standard of the premiership's top teams is noticeably lower than usual. So luck is also playing a part.

TV schedule

Sunday morning
1.45am
Chelsea v Tottenham (delayed)
4am Arsenal v Aston Villa
6am Stoke v Man City
8.30am Liverpool v Wigan (delayed)
10.30am Sunderland v QPR (delayed)

Monday morning
1.30am
Swansea v Everton (delayed)
4am West Brom v Newcastle

Tuesday morning
9am Man United v Fulham

- Fairfax Media

24 comments
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Bomber25   #1   01:19 pm Mar 24 2012

"There hasn’t been progress for Liverpool under his tenureship this season and he’s deluding himself if he thinks otherwise."

When KD decided to sign British players ahead of the best players for this great club, I knew it was always going to end this way. Didn't he watch England in the 2010 Wold Cup Final? That was the problem he was buying into when he chose British.

ccheong68   #2   01:49 pm Mar 24 2012

So sad to see Liverpool FC need to challenge for last champion league spot instead of winning the league. Some of the current players are simply not good enough to play for the team. I don't see any consistency performance from the team. They seems to inspire to play against "big" teams and lost to the so-call "small" teams in next game. On every match day, I am wondering will they win the game or not. My feeling is like sitting on a roller coaster, happy when they won a game and sad when they lose another. How much time the players need to gel together and how long they need to learn from the games they lose? Please stop talking that you still can get that forth spot and start showing us that you can do it by winning the rest of the games.

Craig   #3   02:08 pm Mar 24 2012

your a joke mate. liverpool are rebuilding you clown

hassaan   #4   03:39 pm Mar 24 2012

no progress??? we one our first trophy in six years and things are much better off the pitch. stupid article

E   #5   05:31 pm Mar 24 2012

i agree. well kind of, bellamy is quality, henderson terrible, carroll terrible however i think biggest loss was losing lucas to injury. such a underrated player that does so much work and gerrard is quality too but so prone to injury. ah well another rubbish season for liverpool

Jerry   #6   05:33 pm Mar 24 2012

Oh for goodness sake. He's been in the job a little over a year and you're dismissing him already? This time last year, the club was out of all cup competitions and had the same amount of points they have now in the league. This year they've won the League Cup and are in the semis of the FA Cup. No progress in the league is disappointing, but there hasn't been no progress at all as you suggest. To say, on the basis of less than one full season, that you don't believe Kenny will ever challenge for the title, is laughably short sighted.

Crawf   #7   06:11 pm Mar 24 2012

Under Dalglish, Liverpool have been disappointing in the league this season. No doubt. After he came back to a club in crisis he had managed to get them within throwing distance of 4th spot last season. So the expectations this year were high. They have had money and so far the new recruits have not paid off. Having said that, we have won a cup in the first full season with him in charge. We are a semi from a second final. The league remains the most important thing. But I would suggest that one and perhaps two trophies is progress!

Dene   #8   06:25 pm Mar 24 2012

Liverpool showed massive promise the end of last season.. not sure has happened. But a few players have been a waste of Money. Henderson, Downing, Carrol... all shocking. Liverpool deserves better than this.

Lets all hope City can tip the title this year because we are all sick of the usual BS at the top, how about a change up? Tottenham next year would be awesome too!

Chambers   #9   08:59 pm Mar 24 2012

The criticism of Dalglish would appear to be reasonable even if it were for only one facet of it. He surely must have understood the absolute lack of scoring power his team had from an early stage of the season. This became even more evident as time passed. Criticism grew with each passing game and yet he remained blind to any fault and indeed when the January window came instead of attempting to rectify this glaring omission ignored it. LFC now find themselves in a position solely due to their own blinkered outlook in not rectifying faults that were only too self-evident. This can hardly be called "management" in any sense of the word.

Sgnt Peppers   #10   11:50 pm Mar 24 2012

If King Kenny was not so blindly idolised by many of the Kop faithful, I seriously doubt he would still be in a job. His teams have served up utter crap recently, and they struggled to even win their carling cup final against a championship side. But I will never understand why, just why he spent 83 million pounds on Carroll, Downing, Henderson, and Adam. Would not be surprised if they finish below Swansea, top 7 will be the highest they will get.

Looking forward to Chelsea Tottenham in a few hours, although seeing Chelsea in form (bar City) and Tottenham in decline I only see a Tottenham win…but then again it is Tottenham snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Hopefully another false goal and offside goal this time around again should get the old guard a win eh! If they do, I see them finishing top four


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