Posts Tagged ‘Carling Cup’
Whilst the departure of Damien Comolli came as a shock, it was inevitable that there was going to be a reaction to our poor league form this season. Reports that the owners had flown in early ahead of the semi-final against Everton should have given us a hint that something was about to happen. They took the decision that he wasn’t the right man for the job and it’s hard to argue. Whether you think the likes of Carroll, Downing, Henderson and Adam will come good or not, it’s fair to say none of those players have consistently played at a level required at a club like Liverpool. Even the form of Enrique and Suarez could be called into question. This may sound harsh but if we have ambitions of getting back into the top four and challenging for trophies that’s the pressure that the players have to cope with. Unfortunately too many of the players I’ve mentioned have struggled with this pressure and haven’t stepped up to the plate since leaving so called smaller clubs.
I know Kenny took responsibility for bringing in the players, but this is just a sign of the man and his loyalty to those around him. He wasn’t even hired when Suarez and Carroll were bought There’s no way the owners would have entrusted £57m to a temporary manager.
For the owners, getting rid of Kenny is an impossible task. Although some supporters have questioned his position, many still remember all he has done for the club in the past and have faith that he is the right man to lead us to more glory in the future. John W Henry and Tom Werner are no fools. They know if they were to get rid of Kenny and appoint someone else only for it to not work out they would alienate the fans. Furthermore, they have rejuvenated a massive club in America and understand the importance of stability. Replacing a manager every twelve months doesn’t lead to success.
That said, the sacking of Comolli demonstrates the owners are prepared to make big decisions if they feel it’s the right time. The pressure is now on Kenny. What I like about Werner’s interview is that he was very emphatic when he said we will be better next season and we can compete with other clubs for the top players. Another season of underachievement in the league won’t be tolerated. We can expect a busy summer in the transfer window where first and foremost we will undoubtedly look to add a quality goal scorer. Despite our poor results in the league, we have played some great football this season and if we had someone like a young Robbie Fowler who gets in the right positions and puts the ball in the net we would surely be looking forward to playing in the Champions League next year.
For us, this season is now all about adding the FA Cup to the Carling Cup. Two trophies and European football would be an impressive start to Kenny’s second coming. First we have to overcome an in-form Everton. I think we will and I’m heading to Wembley with confidence.
Come on Red Men!
Our recent results have been inconsistent. There’s no doubting that. We just don’t score enough goals. Too many players seem to either not be up to playing for Liverpool or they’re taking a lot of time to settle in. Carroll still looks like he’s off the pace. Adam isn’t living up to what people expected of him when he signed for the club and even Enrique has struggled since January, losing the ball in dangerous areas on too many occasions. But we’re already guaranteed a place in Europe thanks to our Carling Cup victory and we have an excellent chance of getting to the final of the FA Cup.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been as frustrated as anyone watching us lose games against teams such as Arsenal, despite outplaying them. QPR is the latest example where we have dropped three points. And it isn’t good enough. But why do people keep calling for Kenny to go?
The man’s a legend. As a player, Kenny had more twists and turns than any title race. As a manager he’s experienced, loyal and he commands the respect of every player at the club. Maybe some of his critics are too young to remember Kenny the player. Because I doubt anyone who recalls his sensational first touch, magical runs and delicate chips in a red shirt would be so quick to call for his head.
We aren’t Chelsea. And we shouldn’t get into the habit of sacking managers every year. Unfortunately, it was probably the right time for Benitez to go. He was finding the situation with the previous owners intolerable and had become quite stubborn in some of his decision-making. Letting Alonso leave was a big mistake. Hodgson was out of his depth and should never have been given the job in the first place. But in Kenny we have a manager who has won the league with Liverpool as both a player and a manager. He even won it while managing Blackburn! Yet all I seem to hear is fans on phone-ins calling for him to be sacked.
The fact is, Liverpool’s squad isn’t good enough. I know some people will argue that Kenny, along with Commoli, bought many of the players but it’s hard to attract the best talent when we’re not in the Champions League. This was always going to be a transitional season and our best chance of taking teams by surprise in the league was ironically our lack of European football. Sadly the top four now seems beyond us for another year so we have to do our best, aim to win two cups this season and hope top players see the potential at the club. There have been lots of games during this campaign where the team has played the opposition off the park and we desperately need a goal scorer. Also, Suarez needs to add more goals to his game. A lot of people will jump to the defence of Suarez but I’m not slating him – his strike against Stoke was brilliant. I just think if we want to improve, get back into the Champions League and have a chance of winning the title we need all of the players to step up their game.
Messi has scored 54 goals for Barcelona this season. Now I’m not expecting Suarez to start scoring 50 plus goals a season but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a player of his quality to get 20. Torres (3 in 36) Carroll (5 in 31) and Suarez (10 in 36) have scored as many goals in a combined 103 league games as Messi has in his last 7. That’s phenomenal. Obviously Liverpool have no chance of signing Messi. Carroll is probably never going to be a twenty goal a season man. And I personally wouldn’t want Torres back. So we need Suarez to stay at the club and start scoring more. Thankfully he wants to stay. He’s still young and he will only get better. In him we have a player with similar qualities to Kenny – now we need a player alongside him with the game of Ian Rush. A young Robbie Fowler. That’s the level we need to get back to if we are to be up there challenging for the main trophies.
Some of the other players either have to dramatically improve, settle for being squad players or need to move on. But for me the only place Kenny should go is back to Wembley when he lifts more trophies with us.
“It’s only the League Cup.”
Despite our victory today, these words were said by our very own Liverpool fans three decades ago. Rival fans didn’t hesitate to remind us of that.
Liverpool were at our peak in the 1980s. Let’s face it – we were unstoppable, and everyone knew it. We had won six League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups, five Charity Shields and two European Cups just within those ten years. More importantly, we commanded a presence in the footballing world. Teams would play us in fear, and we would give them a hell of a game. The Liverpool of the 1980s was the Barcelona of the 2010s – only better. Our greatness had psychological effect among our fans, who in 1977, coined the term “Mickey Mouse Cup” when Everton reached the League Cup final to belittle the Toffees. At the time, it did seem like a “worthless” cup in comparison to the others that we had been winning. When we were knocked out of one cup, it was easy for us to obtain another. We were on top of the world. Nothing was impossible.
However, after a six-year trophy drought and nearly going into administration under Hicks and Gillette, all of that has changed. For the past two decades, United and Chelsea have taken turns as being the most successful club in England. Liverpool fell into the shadows in the 1990s, despite the Spice Boys displaying great amounts of potential. The 2001 Treble, 2005 Champions League title, and 2006 FA Cup title came as a pleasant surprise, for we were no longer undisputedly the most successful club at the time. The Liverpool of two years ago wouldn’t stand a chance against the Liverpool of three decades ago, relatively speaking.
There’s a commonly quoted phrase that says: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” The phrase couldn’t be more applicable to Liverpool’s current situation. After going through such a dark age, I’ve come to realize that a trophy’s a trophy, whether it is the European Cup title or a “Mickey Mouse Cup” like the League Cup. Trophies are a tangible sign of progress – the progress that we’ve made under Kenny Dalglish and NESV, the progress that wasn’t happening under the Hicks and Gillette administration and Roy Hodgson. “Progress” doesn’t mean that we’ve gotten there yet. We are still improving, still learning. After all, it took Sir Alex Ferguson a whole six years to establish his regime.
And Kenny’s already won a trophy in just a year of coaching.
- Follow me on Twitter if you’d like: @AccioMaria
Carra captains the Reds as we take on Chelsea in the Carling Cup Quarter Final.
Liverpool Starting XI : Reina; Kelly, Carra, Coates, Enrique, Henderson, Spearing, Lucas, Maxi, Bellamy, Carroll.
Subs : Doni, Suarez, Kuyt, Downing, Adam, Skrtel, Flanagan
Chelsea Starting XI : Turnbull, Bosingwa, Alex, David Luiz, Bertrand, Lampard, Romeu, McEachran, Lukaku, Torres, Malouda
Subs : Hilario, Ivanovic, Ramires, Mata, Ferreira, Kalou, Anelka
Follow the game live on Twitter @empireofthekop
Unfortunately we dropped another 2 points at home yesterday more…
Kenny “We need to improve” more…
The club is furious over the 48 hour turnaround time for our Carling Cup game against Chelsea more…
(We host City on Sunday and then away to Chelsea on Tuesday, nuts)
Kenny has warned all Suarez critics more…
(Tell them Kenny)
Enrique reveals his misery at Newcastle more…
(We saved you senor)
Keegan says that Carroll is better in the air than Toshack more…
(I am sure the height is an advantage)
Stevie is big in Tanzania more…
(Hehe, I tweeted this picture a few days ago)
FIFA bans England from wearing poppies more…
(Another disgusting move from Blatter and his corrupt organisation)
And finally Tom Hanks is a Villa fan more…
(Momma always that Villa is like a box of chocolates)
On Twitter @empireofthekop
written by Jamie McLaughlin website at www.anfieldnews.com
With no European football for Liverpool this season the Carling Cup has taken on extra importance. Drawn away to Stoke was not the kindest draw for Liverpool but they would know what to expect after losing 1-0 to them recently in the league. Kenny has stated how important this competition is for the club and he has proved with his team selections in previous rounds of the competition. The last time Liverpool visited Stoke at this stage of the competition was in 2000-01 when they won 8-0 on their way to lifting the cup.
Kenny made 8 changes for the visit to Stoke from the team that drew with Norwich at the weekend. But the team Kenny selected certainly wasn’t a weakened side as he has so many more options and strength in depth this season. Dalglish obviously selected a team to cope with the Stoke’s dangerous set-piece tactics. The team read, Reina, Kelly and Agger at full-backs and Carragher and Coates in the middle of defence. The midfield had Maxi on the left and Henderson on the right with Lucas and Spearing in the middle, with Carroll and Suarez up front. There was also a very strong bench with Aurelio, Kuyt, Adam, Doni,Skrtel,Flanagan and Bellamy. There was a big surprise with no mention of Gerrard on the team sheet.
As ever a tremendous atmosphere for this match at the Brittania Stadium, and it was Liverpool who threatened first when Carroll had a chance with a free header from a left wing corner. Suarez almost beat the Stoke offside trap as he started menacingly.
But Stoke had the next chance when Walters saw a curling effort worry Reina as it flew just over. But Liverpool were on the front foot and dictating the play and Carroll was unlucky with a stinging shot which Sorenson could only parry to the onrushing Suarez but he could only direct his effort wide of the target with the ball rebounding to him so quickly.
Stoke were playing second fiddle to a very sharp looking Liverpool side, but they did have their moments, mostly from the menace of Delap’s long throws.
Liverpool were playing some great football in the first half as Stoke struggled to cope with their movement. A great move involving Lucas and Maxi resulted in a low cross to Suarez but his close range effort was superbly saved by Sorenson as Suarez cursed his luck once again.
Liverpool showed they were not going to be intimidated with Stoke’s physical approach as Carragher showed when he was booked for a strong challenge midway through the first half.
Liverpool once again were not getting their reward in goals for their superb play similar to the match last weekend and they were dealt a blow just before half-time when Stoke took the lead. A mistake by Coates allowed Walters to get down the right flank before crossing to Jones who headed past Reina stunning the visitors. Suarez almost equalised in stoppage time but he dragged his shot wide.
The second half started with Liverpool still creating chances although the second half was contested more evenly. But Liverpool did manage to equalise, and what a way to do it. Suarez collected the ball on the left before producing a sublime nutmeg on Shotton giving himself a sight of goal from the edge of the box, Suarez then spectacularly curled a shot into the far corner of Sorenson’s goal giving the keeper no chance.
Liverpool and their supporters were buoyed by this goal and were now looking for the winner. But with all the enterprising play from the visitors they could not find a winner so Dalglish brought on Bellamy for Maxi with about ten minutes to go to ignite some pace into Liverpool’s attack and he made an immediate impact hitting the post with a shot from 20 yards after good link up play with Carroll.
With extra time looming Liverpool snatched the winner with 5 minutes remaining when Henderson found Suarez at the back post with a volleyed cross and the Uruguay striker headed past Sorenson sending the visiting support wild. Stoke bombarded the Liverpool goal in the latter stages but the visitors held on to book a place in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup.
A superb performance and result from Liverpool. The desire and work ethic of the players was superb. Stoke is such a difficult place to go, and to go behind after playing so well in the first half was like a kick in the teeth, but the response was brilliant. Dalglish put out a very strong team, but I was worried their would be a lack of creativity in the midfield without Adam and Gerrard, but I was oh so wrong, some of the passing was superb as we created so many chances. Andy Carroll was flying around the park like a man on a mission and his link up play was very good, all that was lacking from the big man was a goal. The defence was superb as they had to withstand many long throws. Coates was very impressive apart from the mistake for Stoke’s goal. But it was great to see us get a win we so greatly deserved after being left frustrated against Norwich. So many great performances from Liverpool players but I think Agger deserves a mention, he was superb on the left side of defence and creative going forward. But Suarez is amazing, unplayable at times and deserved his superb goals, For me, this was the performance of the season so far.
Man Of The Match – Suarez- it just had to be. He is unbelievable right now and got the goals his performance deserved.