New Anfield boss has a mountain to climb.
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If you had said to a Liverpool fan at the start of this season that two of the newly promoted Premier League sides would sit above them in the table come mid January, you’d have been met with a sneer and perhaps an expletive or two.
The fact that this is now the case is the perfect example of just how far Liverpool have declined this season. And it’s no fluke – this is now the second time this season that Liverpool have been defeated by surprise-package Blackpool and for the first time (almost) since conflict ended in World War II.
1946 was the year – The CIA was first established back then and it is certainly no secret that Liverpool’s season has been suspect.
You can point fingers at the unfortunate Roy Hodgson for this decline, and perhaps even Rafael Benitez too, but it appears not even King Kenny can stop the rut that has seen Liverpool lying precariously above the drop zone by a frightening 4 points.
Relegation from the Premier League would have seemed laughable at the start of this season but again this is now a very real prospect. There is no such thing as being too big a club to go down, just ask Leeds United.
So are the managers to blame for all this? Kenny Dalglish returned to the Anfield hotseat for the first time in 12 years ahead of last Sunday’s FA cup elimination at the hands of Manchester United in just the 3rd round, this latest set back means it is back to back defeats for him – not the start long suffering Liverpool fans had hoped for I am sure.
Perhaps then the real problem is on the field rather than in the dug-out. A manager can name the team and choose the formation but can have little control as to how the team performs as a whole. It wasn’t Roy Hodgson who blazed a penalty wide of the goal when Liverpool were humiliatingly beaten 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers, it was Steven Gerrard – a man who Liverpool supporters once looked upon as a saving grace.
His sending off for a reckless two footed lunge on Michael Carrick on Sunday capped a woeful week for the Red’s captain and was further evidence that after a disasterous World Cup campaign, perhaps he is on the wane.
He and Fernando Torres have been carrying Liverpool for far too long. Gerrard is pushing the wrong side of 30 and you have to wonder if World Cup Winner Torres may question his future if Liverpool continue to fail to live up to his lofty expectations.
Should they leave, or if Gerrard continues his inconsistent patch of form, Liverpool, quite frankly, look doomed to mid table mediocrity at the very best.
The reality is Liverpool have failed to replace world class players, players such as Alonso and Mascherano, two brilliant midfielders who can turn a 1-1 draw into a 2-1 win rather than the opposite, as we witnessed last night.
Pepe Reina is another world class player but he can only do so much – he is too good to be picking balls out of the back of his net in freezing cold Blackpool.
This is a team in serious decline and it doesn’t matter who is in charge – Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guadiola, heck, maybe even Bill Shankley himself – they’d all have a hard time turning this team around.
Dalglish certainly deserves more time than his predecessor was given but if Liverpool are going to stop the rut, they need their new owners to spend generously this January.
If they don’t, they’ll be in for more disappointment again next season at Bloomfield Road, or perhaps even Deepdale.
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