In recent weeks, concern has been raised over Liverpool’s season. After the Reds slumped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light, some have been questioning whether Kenny Dalglish is the man to take the club forward. Fair enough, you might say. After all, Liverpool have lost three Premier League games on the bounce and currently find themselves 10 points adrift of those coveted Champions League spots, despite spending in excess of £100million since Dalglish took over from Roy Hodgson. And had they been beaten tonight by Everton, they’d have found themselves below their Merseyside neighbours in the Premier League. As it turned out, Liverpool enjoyed a pretty comfortable 3-0 victory over the Toffees. So what was everyone worried about? Dalglish has to be given the freedom and time to take Liverpool forward.
It must be difficult to criticise an Anfield legend, but since the League Cup victory over Cardiff some Liverpool supporters have been questioning how much more success the club is likely to achieve with King Kenny in charge. Success is a tough word to define in football as every club and every fan will have different aspirations. For a club like Arsenal, should it be winning the League Cup or bringing Champions League football to the Emirates every season? Or you could give in and follow the Gospel according to Manchester City: spend wildly with no thought of the consequences, but the promise of winning the league. Possibly. Then there’s Everton. In David Moyes’ 10 years at the helm at Goodison Park the club has won no trophies. Does that mean his tenure at Everton has been unsuccessful? Surely not. Carlo Ancelotti found, to his cost, that only the one league and cup double during two seasons at Stamford Bridge was not quite successful enough for Roman Abramovich. Liverpool were buzzing after their Carling Cup “success”, but then two defeats later it looked like it was all going wrong.
But it can’t be all bad being a Liverpool supporter can it? There will be many Portsmouth fans out there who would be more than happy to trade places with Liverpool right now. They’d probably be accused of some kind of lower division self righteous indignation for daring to compare their situation with Liverpool’s. But a better word for lower division self righteous indignations is perspective. You can’t win everything every season and believe it or not, there’s always a club worse off than yours. In the real world, Liverpool are 7th in the Premier League. They’ve won the League Cup and are probably second favourites to win the FA Cup, behind Spurs. Ok, owner John W. Henry might be disappointed to see Liverpool miss out on Champions League football having ploughed so much money into the club. But then you could always look at how quickly Tottenham’s ten-point lead over Arsenal disappeared if you’re looking for positives!
In the words of Jeremy Kyle, at the end of the day, Dalglish needs to be given time to achieve success at Anfield, however you want to define success. At the moment, the reckless spending on players like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson is looking almost as absurd as Fernando Torres’ £50million price tag. But having spent so much money on them, they need to be given time to improve, i.e. at least more than one season. Liverpool have shown at times they can be every bit as good as the best, with victories over Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United at various points during this campaign. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard mentioned earlier that the Reds need to show a little more consistency in the league. Is changing the manager every season really going to help to achieve that? Would it be the end of the world to finish outside the European places for a season or two and build a squad capable of challenging the top clubs in the process? There are 19 teams that will fail to win the league. Maybe they should all sack their managers. A new gaffer every season is Chelsea’s thing. One step forward, two steps back. Yeah, that’s the key to progress.