Two wins on the trot and the King expects more from the team, and rightly so. Liverpool players should always strive to improve on every performance and Dalglish will know that succumbing to over-confidence is a factor at the root of a chronic issue which has plagued the club for years now, inconsistency. The players will be reminded that more such performances are required to achieve a high standard and this is exactly what is expected when wearing the Liverpool shirt.
Just looking at Kenny fills me with pride and joy. I can’t find any fault to the start of his reign and I say this not because of the huge respect Dalglish projects. He is simply getting everything right. Yesterday’s game against Fulham came a few days after Liverpool steamrolled past Wolves. Liverpool started off brilliantly, pinning the Cottagers back resulting in a perfectly legal goal by Fernando Torres being disallowed. I thought Torres felt downbeat after this ruling and took time to recover.
It was a industrious display by the Reds lacking flashy football (notable in the second half) but what impressed me most was the never-say die attitude and persistent pressing by all of Liverpool’s players. Meireles was, again, my man-of-the-match, instrumental in keeping the scoreline in favour of the Reds with a goal-line clearance and in the dying stages, as if possessed, intercepting passes in midfield. The temptation to clear the ball blindly seems to be a thing of the past. Possession is being retained and the ball is worked out of defense rather than the team resorting to Wimbledon’s notorious style of hoofing it high up field. This can only be the result of Dalglish and his team highlighting these elementary deficiencies to which the lads have responded brilliantly.
Another positive note was Poulsen’s performance, a player who has been heavily criticised under Roy Hodgson and given the circumstances, you can’t blame those who viewed the Dane’s performances as short of vigor and class. In the unfortunate absence of Lucas, Poulsen did a first-class job in the interdiction role and I appreciated his few but potentially devastating through-passes.
Dalglish stated the result was a “lucky” conclusion to a game which could have gone either way. Liverpool’s goal was no masterpiece but it showed how wanting the team is to do well, score goals. Dalglish has pointed out that the team must defend and attack as a unit, and that is exactly how Liverpool have been playing as of late. The reason for yesterday’s tight result, and, hence Liverpool’s failure to consolidate was, in my view, Gerrard’s lack of (or minor) influence, possibly brought about by his three-match absence and Torres’ dip in confidence after the disallowed goal. One can’t expect these two to be stalwarts in every game and such times call for others to take center-stage and pull the bull by the horns, a feat accomplished by the likes of Meireles, Johnson, Reina and the two center-backs who repelled and countered wave-upon-wave of Fulham attacks, mainly towards the end of the game.
Yesterday’s game was one which required the players to dig deep and grind out a result. This they did and with aplomb! Dalglish and his team have a good part of seven days to prepare the lads for another stern test, against Stoke, a team which easily put two goals past us at the Brittania, the final score resulting in heavy criticism for both team and manager. Rory Delap was allowed to wreak havoc with his long throws and this will be a potential pitfall the team needs to watch out for. Liverpool need to secure the three points before the final ten minutes to avoid a Stoke siege with balls pouring in from left or right in the form of Delap throws. Another entertaining game at Anfield to look forward to and with the current feel-good-factor at the club, I foresee another positive result.
See you next time.