As an avid Liverpool fan (and I think all others would agree with me) an 8th place finish not good enough.
When that 8th place finish is four points behind rivals Everton, 17 points behind a Champions League place and 37 points behind the top two then you begin to worry.
For a team that won the Champions League in 2005, FA Cup in 2006 and was competing in the top three of the Premier League under Rafael Benitez this is a dramatic fall from grace.
Yet perhaps the most upsetting thing is that, whilst our early misfortunes were blamed heavily on the dysfunctional ownership of Hicks and Gillett, the arrival of the Fenway Sports Group has brought solidity to Anfield. No longer can fans claim that money is an issue for our lack of competition.
Yes we might not be able to spend as freely as new champions Manchester City, but the ability to spend £80 million on Henderson, Downing, Carroll and Adam suggests some severe flaws in this clubs evaluation process. Some may say that inflated transfer fees are simply the way the game is heading. Yet it surely must be about the players.
Liverpool does have some areas in their squad that they need to address. A youthful rebuild of the defence is important for the team that has begun under Dalglish with the signing of Coates and the integration of Flanagan, Robinson and Kelly into the squad. Yet it is the midfield and striking situations that need addressing desperately.
Lucas’ return to his defensive role should provide some stability for the team but with their captain aging Liverpool can not continue to rely on Steven Gerrard all the time. Recent rumours have suggested Dalglish removing some players from his side, most notably the youngster Henderson.
Yet this is the completely wrong tactic for Kenny to use. Having bought him from Sunderland for such an extravagant fee, selling him will just be admitting a waste of £19m. Kenny has to coach his players in the summer not just buy people, plug them in and expect them to know what it is to play for this historic club.
Henderson and Carroll alike have shown flashes of their potential towards the end of relatively unsuccessful seasons for the pair of them. Let them develop this, build in their new team and they could come back and be big performers. The same goes with Downing, Adam, Enrique etc. who have all looked good at some point this season.
With regards to bringing people in Liverpool have to score more goals, having only scored 2 more in their entire season than Manchester City have at home in the league. Dalglish should look at some more attacking options to turn the 9 home draws into wins as well as reducing their 10 away losses this season.
More goals are key and Kenny could look to another striker to complement Suarez and Carroll in their attack, or even an attacking midfield threat to take the burden off their captain. Downing should be encouraged to stick out wide and provide the dangerous balls into the box everyone knows he’s capable of. For Henderson, Dalglish should give him a role and tick to it (not move him inside and out onto the wing) in order to get the best out of the 21 year old.
It is without doubt that Liverpool need to make changes this summer in order to improve on a dreadful season. Even the League Cup doesn’t provide enough respite particularly after the dismal FA Cup loss.
Whilst some tinkering is needed with the team, Dalglish has to improve in two specific areas. Firstly, his purchases have to be shrewder and more specific to Liverpool’s needs – he can’t just see a big name talent and pay over the odds money for them like he did last summer.
Yet more importantly he has to coach (or continue to) these players into his system. With financial woes at Anfield, the Scot has made a commitment to these players. Now he has to add a few more pieces and inspire this side in order to achieve a second legacy on Merseyside.
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