Being one of Kenny Dalglish’s biggest critics in recent weeks, many people might expect me to eat a slice of humble pie after the cup results in the past week. But with the nature of the victories – and the fact that, as yet, we’ve won nothing – I think I’ll save that for the future, should any tangible triumph, such as a trophy or loftier league position, occur.
As of this morning – Monday 30th – I am as smug as any other Red; the smile on my face when I think of ‘Liverpool 2:0 Manchester’ after the results of the last 7 days is as big as anybody else’s. As far as I’m concerned, the two results were immense but there were still downsides: the often infuriating lack of any kind of defensive midfielder against City and the way in which we sat back at 1-0, allowing them back in to the game.
Against United, the bizarre choice of Carragher in a role that requires a calm head and the stamina of a 28 year old Dirk Kuyt as well as the way we allowed United back in to the game at 1-0. They are a mind-numbingly poor side; the weakest Manchester Utd team I’ve ever seen, in all honesty and we set up like we were worried about what they might do to us. The results were great but in many ways papered over the cracks of two decidedly shaky performances.
But, as we all know from experience, cup games can be the start of something great. The boost of two great cup victories should give the entire squad the impetus to get more good results going forward and should a signing or two be made before the deadline we may be in much better shape for the weeks to come.
I wrote last week that I’m still struggling with whether I think Dalglish is the right man for the job and I’ve recently started to lean heavily towards ‘he isn’t’ but I’d love him – as with Andy Carroll – to prove me completely wrong but I can’t see that at the moment. However, if he uses the recent cup wins properly and uses the added confidence boost to see us push on and claw our way up the table, then I’d perhaps reconsider.
Either way, we’re in our first cup final in years and having put United out (who, in turn, dumped City out) we’re down to Arsenal and Chelsea who would pose the only real obstacle to another cup final come the end of May. With a couple of cup finals and a higher league finish, Dalglish might just have the basis he needs to turn the doubters around and convince the owners that he has what it takes to move the club in the only direction that is right for it: to the very top.
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