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A Week Is A Long Time In Football
What a week in Liverpool’s season. Liverpool’s season could have been over if results went against them in the last week, but instead the week just past has been a memorable one, with wins in the Carling Cup against Manchester City, followed by knocking out Manchester United in the FA Cup. All this after Liverpool suffering one of their worst performances and results since Kenny Dalglish’s return to Liverpool the previous weekend away to Bolton, where Dalglish came out and made it publicly clear that he was not happy with his team’s performance.
Liverpool supporters must have been fearing the worst going in to two massive cup games against the two Manchester clubs that are flying high above Liverpool in the league right now. But Dalglish was looking for a reaction from his players, and he certainly got that in abundance. The performance against City in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final was superb. The hunger that was shown was great to see from the players, especially after suffering two setbacks as City took the lead twice. The excitement at gaining the result needed to take the club back to Wembley was there for all to see. Liverpool has never been to the new Wembley and now they have a cup final to look forward to for the first time since 2007.
Little time to celebrate Liverpool had to prepare for another massive cup tie against bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield. This match was a totally different match with Liverpool approaching the game more defensively as they allowed United most of the possession and looked to hit their visitors on the break. Kenny got his tactics spot on with Carragher deployed in midfield to protect the defence and Kenny’s tactics limited United to very few chances. But in the second half Dalglish made attacking substitutions with Charlie Adam, Dirk Kuyt and Liverpool’s in form player, Craig Bellamy coming on as Liverpool looked to knick a winner in the closing stages. Scripted perfectly in a Liverpool memoir was United nemesis Dirk Kuyt to score the winner in the last couple of minutes and shatter Fergie’s dream in the FA Cup.
It really was make or break time in Liverpool’s season with two cup ties in a week followed by a league fixture away to Wolves on the Tuesday in their chase for a top four place. It would have been easy for Liverpool to ease into complacency after their success in two cups, but Liverpool kept their momentum going with a convincing win at Molineux, even resting Steven Gerrard in the process as Liverpool’s squad is showing strength in depth, where Dalglish felt he never needed to bring in any new faces in the January transfer window. Liverpool have stuttered a bit in the league this season but their cup form has been an important distraction and has also brought them some confidence with some great wins against tough opposition. Liverpool have managed to progress in the cup competitions and kept up their challenge in the league in the absence of their star striker Luis Suarez. The much maligned Andy Carroll has looked a much improved player in the last couple of games and Liverpool’s defence is looking water tight.
So there is much to look forward to in the remainder of the season, but whatever happens I’m sure it will be a long time before we forget last week with the importance of keeping our season alive and proving how far the team has come in just over a year under Kenny’s management.