Col. Jessup said: “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide…”. While the context may be different, the character’s shade might be different, I hope this is what Kenny tells the doubters. The twitter brigade that goes crazy after every disappointing
game or result. What makes Kenny the King is that he would never say that. Less than 15 months ago we were redefining abjectness. Less than 18 months ago we were dreading the Championship fonts on our replica shirts. Today, we are one trophy up. We are 180 minutes from another. We’ve a much stronger squad than the Koncheskeys and Poulsens. And we’re still moaning. What’s changed? Expectations have changed, or rather, have been restored. And since you and me didn’t play a part in that, credit should go to Kenny for affording you the platform from where you can dream and when they are not entirely fulfilled, you go slagging the one person who let you dream in the first place. Kenny has been a victim of his own reputation and the stature we’ve given him. It’s to Kenny’s credit that we wanted more than we would finally get. Go ahead, blame Kenny for making us dream. But while you’re crying for them not being fulfilled, remember one thing: the dream is not over. It might take a little longer than we would have liked, but realize the dream we will. Actually, we would still be sitting on the same couch or at the same pub. It would be Kenny who would realize them for us. To be a critic is a fan’s right. To be a knee-jerk is his vice.
No right-minded person will tell you that Kenny has been error-free. Nor would anyone tell you that everything has panned out according to the script. But sometimes LFC does manage to break you heart in different ways. If finishing was a problem earlier, the Suarez, Downing and Seb goals would tell you finishing is anything but a problem right now. We had the most compact defense for most the season and suddenly we leak 3 in 15 minutes? Not a lot of us are qualified to know what really went wrong in the pursuit for the ‘main target’, although the fat lady is yet to sing. Here’s what I make of it and it is not an excuse. I have always thought that a little too much of the team is new. Bellamy, Jose, Downing, Henderson, Suarez, Carroll, Adam are all less than 15 months into the system. Gerrard hasn’t played with most of them for most of the time. Spearing hasn’t played for too long with most. As a team you can adapt a couple of new players into the team at a time but you really can’t expect for everyone to know everyone else’s game when they’ve not played together long enough. One can only hope that one season is long enough for these folks. On that note, we should also be cautious against demanding wholesale changes. May be some members of the squad that we added may not have been up to the quality desired or the quality that we thought they would add. However, some of them are young and will improve. The others, who are more experienced, would also help the young ones blend better and adapt to LFC’s style. For some others, it might be the right time to cut our losses. Nobody gets everything right, and what makes you better is when you learn where you might have erred.
If anyone from the club tells you that top-4 would not have been the target, you’d most probably be right to assume that he/she is lying. But then that’s the nature of sport. Things go right and wrong. Sometimes they do that in spectacular manner. What is the point of watching sport if you cannot take the negative results and move on to the next game? If everything has to go according to the script, I would suggest movies would make an ideal entertainment choice for you instead of sports. What’s pertinent is that while top-4 would have been the target, of course people who would have set it wouldn’t have thought that failure in that particular goal can be an outcome too. I’m not going to kid myself by terming Carling Cup as a monumental success but it does take the sting out of the last couple of years, doesn’t it? It is a reminder to the fans, the rivals and more importantly, to the players themselves that the club is competitive again. It is a building block. And when it comes to a building, believe you me, every block is important. Carling Cup can be a balm for past heartbreaks, the FA Cup can really shift us into next gear.
Deep down, one still hopes that we win the rest of the games and those above us screw up in a manner that makes us get the coveted Champions League place but pragmatically that might not be possible. We’ve got two important games in the semi-final for the FA Cup and possibly, and hopefully, the final as well. We might also like to beat Chelsea in the league. But apart from the three games, I hope we give some promising youngsters like Shelvey, Sterling, Morgan and Coady a look into the first team. If we are to play Europa next season, having a deeper squad and an inexpensive one would make sense. That is, we should be promoting academy players to Europa. Having won the Carling Cup this year, and may win the FA Cup as well and who knows, we’ll start the next year with a Community Shield, what Kenny would do well is to realize that Europa, FA Cup and League Cup will be side-shows for 2012-13. The only thing that would matter would be to finish in top-4 and without too much of a tussle. Please.