The King, Elvis Presley, once said that “the image is one thing and the human being is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image.” In 2012, the image is Liverpool FC, the human being is Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish; never before has this great club failed to live up to the image created by Shankly and Paisley as the modern day Liverpool have.
As this seasons draws to a close, Dalglish has presided over a season that has consisted of the worst league form since 1953 but will finish the season with at least one trophy; glass half full or empty? Last week Liverpool’s former Director of Football Strategy and Director of Football, Damien Comolli, left the way most men too afraid to quit do; mutual consent allows the big pay off without the black mark on the CV.
Under Comolli and Dalglish, Liverpool saw a huge investment in players in a period of about 15 months and Comolli paid the price for the overspending on players that were not fit to wear the Liverpool shirt by either being not at a high enough standard or by being disrespectful; Luis Suarez (£23m) an extremely good player who soiled his own name and his clubs for racially abusing Patrice Evra and then by refusing to shake his hand when the whole world was watching; Andy Carroll (£35m) only played a handful of games with Newcastle before suffering relegation, hard to believe that is all £35 million can get you; Jordan Henderson (£16m) only played only 2 seasons for Sunderland, scoring only 4 goals along the way while only impressing sparingly; Charlie Adam (£8m) played well in a team that got relegated; Stewart Downing (£20m) his delivery is just not good enough when he has Carroll in front of him who thrives on crosses into the box, just does not get enough goals; Jose Enrique (£5m) had only been relegated with Newcastle 2 years before but starting to look like a solid defender; Craig Bellamy (free) a solid Premiership player, who has had more clubs than Tiger Woods, more trouble than he is worth.
Most of the players brought in have suffered criticism from the fans and the press but the established players have as well. Jamie Carragher is well past his best and looks sluggish in the modern game, Dirk Kuyt is the hardworking striker that doesn’t get any goals, Glen Johnson is the right back that can’t defend, Pepe Reina has played poorly ever since he threw the ball in his own net against Arsenal in Roy Hodgson’s first game and their best player, Steven Gerrard, cannot pull out miracles for 38 games in a row.
The squad also lacks any real depth; Maxi Rodriguez has scored goals, granted, but realistically he is a poor man’s Downing who is a poor man’s Young who is a poor man’s Valencia who is a poor man’s Ronaldo. Has it really got so bad that Liverpool blame a bad season on the injured Lucas’s absence? Comolli can be blamed for taking Liverpool’s wage bill almost on a par with Manchester City’s but cannot be blamed for all players failings as well. Dalglish has to take responsibility for only winning 5 out of 15 home games this year and have only taken eight points from their last 11 games. The legend of fortress Anfield is a complete fallacy. Liverpool love to compare themselves to Manchester United; Liverpool have as many points after 33 games as United did after 21 games and the gap is only going to get bigger as United close in on another title to take themselves further away from Liverpool. Dalglish said earlier this year that “People should take an intelligence check.
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