Anfield side brought back down to earth with a bump.
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On Saturday, Liverpool went towards Old Trafford with an injection of optimism. Many said a cloud had been lifted. Kenny Dalglish called for faith and unity. He banged the drum, but exercised caution. A debatable penalty and a rash challenge by Gerrard ended Liverpool’s hopes. But it was still a decent performance considering Liverpool’s woeful away record over the last eigtheen months.
Tonight’s game against Blackpool would provide a far more accurate gauge of where Liverpool are, and their realistic aims for this season. Liverpool showed they currently do not have the fight to grind out results. All over the pitch players are underperforming. Results cannot be argued against. Blackpool doing the double over Liverpool is not good enough. Owner, manager, players and fans all agree.
Now Liverpool are searching for stability. But the Merseyside derby is a game where there’s nowhere to hide. Players are found out and commitment is paramount. A side need to win the ball in the tackle before they can pass it around and create chances.
Steve Clarke has been appointed without fuss, but it will prove to be a superb piece of business by Liverpool. He brings sound coaching methods and professionalism. Despite another defeat, Liverpool look to be making the right important decisions at the right times.
A top eight finish will be a solid platform for Liverpool to build on. So might a good run or even lifting the UEFA cup. The January transfer window might bring new signings. But they may take time to settle in.
Liverpool have to be realistic. The club and its fans must look for a professional, if unspectacular second half of the season. The mood may have lifted and enthusiam and hope returned. But at the moment the situation remains unchanged. Liverpool are a team in trouble. Dalglish may be a messiah, but even he can’t work instant miracles. Fans need to be patient.
Kenny Dalglish undoubtably feels he has unfinished business at Anfield. So do most fans. But first he’ll need to be given the full time job at the end of the season. And then time to to build his team. Something his predecessor was denied. And after walking through a storm, he may well hold his head up high, see the golden sky, and put him and Liverpool back on the road to success.
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