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4: Mustn’t Grumble 6: Coates 8: Bellamy 10: Sky Rat: Gary Neville 12: The Big Debate: Aquilani 14: Do one Meireles 16: Liverpool FC: The Complete Record 20: Luis Garcia 22: Henderson – the new Lucas? 24: Leaving Anfield: Special report on how it would feel to leave our spiritual home 30: Manc Love: We’ve found one who likes us
32: Stuart Downing 34: We’re not Spanish, We are Scouse. 38: Loving Lucas Leiva 40: Window Pain 42: Feature: Own goals 46: A Life in Liverpool Matches p10
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16/09/2011 14:01 INDEPENDENT LFC SUPPORTERS’ MAGAZINE No.10 OCT/NOV 2011
Still work in progress
SO Liverpool are not going to storm to the title – unbeaten, sweeping aside all before them – in Kenny Dalglish’s first full season in charge. The King, it seems, is human after all. He, like any manager, makes mistakes. Who knew?
Not many judging by some of the overreaction to consecutive defeats to Stoke and Spurs. A glance at the squad at the start of the season should have been enough.
It’s good, but it’s still not good enough to challenge for the top prize. The teams who will fight it out for the title (you know who they are) have greater quality and depth in their squad.
That’s not to say the current Liverpool team should lie down and die. Far from it. This side is more than capable of upsetting the title favourites on a one-off basis.
performers – players that have improved the squad, but players that need time to gel as a team and settle at Anfield.
The big gamble was Andy Carroll – and the jury is still out. Should he stay in the side and find his feet and fitness, or is his presence hindering the kind of football that we’d all like to see on a regular basis?
It’s a huge dilemma – a difficult decision that needs to be made.
But it must be remembered that this was the man who was tearing up the league not long ago. Fit, firing and happy he IS a force to be reckoned with. The problem is making sure he is all of those things. Meanwhile, there’s the waning powers of the local heartbeat – Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher – to contend with.
There’s the fragility of Martin Skrtel and the injury-prone Daniel Agger.
But over the course of a season? Liverpool is work in progress. It’s a much tougher ask for Dalglish this time around. We’re playing catch-up, and unlike the teams that have caught up in recent years, we don’t have a blank chequebook on our side. That’s not a criticism of FSG, far from it. The owners have been great so far (although they are still to tackle the stadium issue).
But look at the transfer fees and wages forked out by Chelsea and Manchester City. It’s a different world. Everyone at Liverpool is pulling as one to close that gap but it’s never going to be easy.
The realistic aim is, and always was, to challenge for the top four – to get in the Champions League then trade up the playing staff accordingly.
Two away defeats at two grounds that have repeatedly caused Liverpool problems doesn’t put an end to that. What it does do perhaps is sharpen the mind as to where we are as a club. The Reds have lost a couple – they’ll undoubtedly lose a couple more – but they’ll win more than they lose. Money has been spent, of course it has, but Liverpool are not the top payers in the league and they didn’t have the lure of the Champions League to buy the ready-made world-class players that others have regularly plucked from the shelves.
That’s why Phil Jones and Gael Clichy chose Manchester instead of the right end of the M62.
Instead, the cash has, in the main, funded purchases for solid Premier League
And in Sebastien Coates there’s a promising youngster new to the country to bed in. There’s plenty of work to be done. Perhaps Dalglish and the backroom staff have to take stock, too.
It’s a good side, a promising side – but not perhaps a side that should be going to Spurs balls out.
We’re not yet at the stage where we can turn up on a good team’s doorstep and expect to play them off the park.
Dalglish loves to entertain and play good football but in the modern game there’s times when shutting up shop and trying to nick one is a tactic that, at least on occasion, must be employed. White Hart Lane was perhaps that time. All that said, the situation at Anfield is infinitely brighter than just a short time ago. Around about this time last year, Christian Purslow was describing selling Liverpool to FSG (then NESV) as a “bottom of the barrel” deal.
“There is no extra money on the table to enable short-term investment in what remains a squad palpably needing more quality if we are to be definitively top four,” he wrote in an email that was later revealed in court. We now know that claim about the cash is not true. FSG have backed the manager. They’re a world away from the vultures.
And if ever there was a time when we were at the bottom of the barrel, it was when Purslow and Hodgson were stalking the corridors of Anfield and Hicks and Gillett had a claim on the club.
That’s well worth remembering the next time Liverpool simply lose an away game.
Editor Gareth Roberts @robbohuyton
Email editor@ wellredmag.co.uk
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