Where now for Liverpool?

So the season finally draws to a close and Liverpool can at best finish 7th, at worst 10th. They have a Carling Cup success and a disappointing performance in the FA Cup final to look back on, as well as countless frustrating days at Anfield, coughing up points on thirteen of the eighteen visits that opposition teams have made to what, a long time ago, used to be a fortress. The overriding feeling of Liverpool’s season is one of frustration, and after Saturday’s capitulation at Wembley, even the “I’d rather win two trophies than finish 5th” line was taken away…

Where now for Liverpool?

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Andy

May 9th, 2012

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So the season finally draws to a close and Liverpool can at best finish 7th, at worst 10th. They have a Carling Cup success and a disappointing performance in the FA Cup final to look back on, as well as countless frustrating days at Anfield, coughing up points on thirteen of the eighteen visits that opposition teams have made to what, a long time ago, used to be a fortress.

The overriding feeling of Liverpool’s season is one of frustration, and after Saturday’s capitulation at Wembley, even the “I’d rather win two trophies than finish 5th” line was taken away from those determined to find progress amongst the rubble of another disappointing campaign. It seems a very long time ago that Kenny Dalglish’s second reign at the club began with some thumping victories and wonderful football.

There have, of course, been extenuating circumstances. The loss to injury of Lucas Leiva has served to underline the importance of the Brazilian to Liverpool’s fortunes, quite simply Jay Spearing is not up to the job of replacing him. The loss of Luis Suárez for eight games did them no favours either, it took him a few more once he returned to get near the level of performance that he is clearly capable of.

Those circumstances, however, do not excuse a resolutely mid-table season from a club whose stated aim before the season was to challenge for Champions League qualification. Too much money was wasted on players who have proved to be nothing more than average, a fact that has already cost Damien Comolli his job, and may yet see King Kenny’s reign come to an end over the summer as well.

The question that now occupies the mind of fans is ‘where do we go from here?’ For many, the answer is to put faith in a man who has a trophy cabinet stacked full of league titles, who point out that in many of the games Liverpool have lost this season there have been a great many chances created, and that had we scored even half of these the campaign would have been much different. For a growing and vocal section, the answer is to dispense of a man whose success was achieved twenty years ago, whom the modern game has left behind and who, unless the season ends with victory over Swansea, will have overseen Liverpool’s worst league season in thirty years.

In truth I sit closer to the latter than the former. There have been questions raised by failures in the transfer market, in team selection and in tactical preparation that I don’t see answers for. The progress that those who back Dalglish see isn’t obvious to my eyes, indeed since the encouraging end to last season we appear to have moved backwards.

It is never an easy call to sack a manager, there is far more to success in football than simply replacing one man with another, even the best can flouder in the wrong circumstances. And there is no doubt that Dalglish helped rebuild the identity of the club in the wake of Roy Hodgson’s failed reign. However, without the progress towards a Champions League place that Liverpool need, and without two trophies in the cabinet to point to success in progress’ place, I find it increasingly hard to argue that Dalglish is the right man to take the club forward, and perhaps it might be best if the King moved on and the club moved forward.

Simon Furnivall

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