Quite bizarrely, a section of the Liverpool support turned on manager Kenny Dalglish both during and after Sunday’s 4-0 thumping by Tottenham Hotspur. In what is possibly the most defining ever statement on the fickleness of the modern game, a man who has revitalised from a team heading more towards the bottom half than the Champions League to genuine top four contenders, felt the brunt of the supporters frustration as the goals reined in.
Setting aside the question of how a man can go from being a legendary saviour to an unwanted parasite in the space of two defeats, the blame can hardly be laid at the feet of the manager for Sunday’s capitulation. Dalglish picked an attacking side, opting for a front pairing of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and, while this may be considered naive in the modern game it is a refreshing change from the approach adopted under Rafa Benitez.
The blame most certainly lay with those in Liverpool shirts on Sunday. After falling behind to a stunning strike from Luka Modric, Liverpool shot themselves in the foot with indiscipline. Charlie Adam’s first booking may have been soft, but his reckless lunge on Scott Parker was madness and he can have no complaints at being sent packing.
A man down and a goal down, Liverpool’s task was nigh on impossible. Make no mistake about it, Spurs at White Hart Lane are arguably second only to Manchester United when they have their tails up. The quality is rife throughout the Spurs squad and they are looking very good for (at least) a 4th place finish this season.
Supporters can blame Dalglish, but it wasn’t him who made the needless challenge on Gareth Bale to pick up a second booking and leave his teammates high and dry. It wasn’t him who spilled a relatively simple shot at goal, allowing Emmanuel Adebayor to seal the game with Spurs 3rd goal.
Just as supporters shouldn’t turn on Dalglish, neither should they panic. This was just a bad day at the office for Liverpool and while back to back defeats has tempered some of the early season optimism, both were very difficult games.
With captain Steven Gerrard set to return this week to add to the quality of Suarez, Stuart Downing and Carroll and new boy Sebastian Coates still settling into defensive duties, Liverpool have plenty to be optimistic about.
A top four finish is in my opinion not likely as I believe Spurs are more advanced than the Reds, but we are definitely in the right direction and Dalglish has my full confidence to continue steering the ship back to where it belongs.
Written by Colin Hill, a sports writer who blogs about Serie A jerseys.