Embattled, inconsistent, fatigued, distracted: heavy is the crown for ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish.
Liverpool have only won three matches in their last thirteen English Premier League outings. They are set for an FA Cup Final this Saturday against a rampant Chelsea side and tonight they could only push themselves to a meek performance against Fulham. They lost 1-0 following a Martin Skrtel own goal. In a season where the league form has been patchy at best they need to have some stern words before their showcase final.
It is tough to sum up what is happening at Liverpool. They have won a Carling Cup already and winning silverware must always be praised. Yet, while the Reds have thrived in two cup competitions they have found themselves swinging from sufficient soccer to feckless displays without too much fight.
Fans have bemoaned the lack of depth in their squad, but Dalglish has overseen the big summer signings. English players like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have come in, but all have disappointed. The problem with signing English in the Premier League is that the talent comes at a premium. There just aren’t enough quality Brits around.
While the reemergence of talisman Steven Gerrard lifted spirits at first, in recent weeks he has fallen by the wayside. The team needs a boost. A few weeks ago the panic started. Liverpool, it seems, are always surrounded in panic.
Such frustrations at the inconsistencies boiled over and the money spent, previously thought as acceptable by the Liverpool owners, became a rod for their collective backs. Director Damien Camolli was forced to walk, despite Dalglish explaining that he was responsible for the signings.
So why is all of this significant? A lot has to do with Liverpool’s cache.
The panic is because Liverpool were once the most dominant team in England and a European force. The return of Dalglish coinciding with new ownership has brought about optimism, but it is an optimism tinged with desperation. Liverpool exhaust themselves chasing trophies, but they cannot compete in every arena. Yet.
So while Liverpool were worked over by a Fulham side tonight, they can potential pull out a performance on Saturday. They have already won one trophy this year and will start over again next term. Of course Liverpool need much more quality than they currently possess if they are to get to where their nostalgic fans expect them to be. However, the schizophrenic nature of LFC must be addressed.
King Kenny will be afforded time. He must sign better next season, and his team must compete more on several fronts. Nonetheless, they have signed with a few season’s down the line in mind. Dalglish may not be there to see his plan through, but do not be surprised if there are grand changes to Liverpool’s squad this summer.
Liverpool fans must realize that they are still rebuilding. Maybe a hammering in the final will show them that.