Dalglish satisfied with Liverpool mediocrity?
Kenny Dalglish has labelled Liverpool’s 2011/2012 campaign a success after the Reds saw off Chelsea 4-1 in their last home game of the season.
In his post-match interview he described the Anfield faithful as “the smartest supporters in the country”, suggesting performances rather than results were what the Kop crowd were happy to see.
Against a fatigued Chelsea side, Liverpool were in control and produced some fantastic periods of play. There was indeed a cause for celebration as players like Carroll, Henderson and Downing finally proved they are capable of displays that matched their inflated pricetags.
However, this romp was three days to late. The two teams met in the FA Cup final on Saturday, which Chelsea won 2-1. John Terry was unusually poor in the middle of Chelsea’s defense and Ross Turnbull, getting a rare start, had a shocker in goals to help the Reds’ cause.
It was a rare night at Anfield, as Liverpool’s results at home this season have been the worst since 1954, when they were last relegated.
Dalglish was quick to point out their Carling cup success, an FA Cup final appearance, and qualification for next year’s Europa League. There has also been constant referral to the newly assembled squad, an expensive one at that, needing a “bedding in period”.
King Kenny is right that some of the Reds’ performances this season have been breathtaking. They have hit the woodwork more than any other team in EPL history, and were also without talisman Luis Suarez for eight weeks after his suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
But would the fans really be happy to be below Merseyside rivals Everton and equal on points with London stragglers Fulham with one game to go? And had it been anyone else in charge rather than Kop hero Dalglish, would he still be in a job?
Director of Football Damian Comolli was sacked in April after signings on his recommendation didn’t quite live up to the hype. But is he ultimately the one to blame?
Liverpool is still a massive club and need to reinvest heavily to have any chance of clawing their way back into the fold of challenging for the league and playing Champions League football.
While their performances haven’t always been below par, they have lacked the quality to get a result in too many games. As the Manchester clubs at the top will attest too, it’s more important to win ugly then lose in style.
Dalglish will probably be given the funds to bring in more players. If the Reds’ home form doesn’t improve early next season, his second homecoming may turn out to be an expensive mistake.