It’s quite clear for everyone to see that, at the current time, all is not well at Liverpool.
After winning the League Cup final against Cardiff at the end of February, Kenny Dalglish’s side have seemingly sunk without trace in the Premier League. All hope of reaching the Champions League has now finally gone, with Sunday’s defeat to Newcastle the last nail in the coffin.
The simple fact is that, in two-and-a-half months, Kenny Dalglish has gone from hero to villain on Merseyside. After beating Manchester City in mid-January, the Scot’s side have won just two league games - against Wolves and Everton.
That victory over the Toffees came on March 13th, and a win over Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-final at Anfield five days later suggested a good run could be around the corner. However, defeats to QPR, Wigan and the Magpies now have Liverpool back at square one.
And, as you’d expect, the fans are growing extremely restless. The fact the Toffees have now moved above the Reds in the league is a fact not lost on many of the supporters.
Liverpool are now eighth in the table, with Sunderland, Fulham, Swansea and Norwich all within three points of their more illustrious rivals. Should results continue in their current fashion, then a bottom half finish is a realistic possibility.
Part of the problem is that the players have little to play for. Whilst pride is constantly on the line when wearing the famous red shirt, European football is already secured and a trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final – against Everton – is the main priority.
With two games to be played before that massive derby, the Reds need to start showing some determination, spirit and, most importantly, pride.
They also need the fans to remain united behind their manager, who has enjoyed great success at the club in the past and helped lift spirits after taking over from Roy Hodgson last January.
Former manager Roy Evans knows just how important the passionate Liverpool fans can be in helping to lift the team, and he’s also urged the supporters to stick together during this period of difficulty.
“You have to be positive. You have to stick together in times like this from the players, to the manager, the backroom staff and the supporters,” said Evans, who was in charge between 1994 and 1998.
“It is always a difficult time when you go through periods like this as a manager. Especially as, being manager of a club like Liverpool, you know what it means to the fans.
“They are suffering at the moment, and having a hard time of it. And they have every right to be critical. That is part of being a fan. But at the end of the day, Liverpool still have a chance of winning the FA Cup, to go alongside the Carling Cup.
“The league position is not what anyone at the club wants it to be, make no mistake, but my message to the supporters would be to stick together, and try to stay behind the team for the rest of the season. Because the team, the players, the manager, they need fans’ support at times like this.”
Success this season now hinges on how the club fair in the FA Cup. Whether fans will be happy to win two trophies and finish in mid-table is up for debate, but as long as it’s only for one season, then it’s not the worst return.
And ‘King Kenny’ is likely to get more time to turn things around because, unlike Hodgson before him, he was the choice of the supporters.
“He was the fans’ choice as manager when Roy Hodgson left. I don’t think there was a fan around who didn’t want Kenny in,” added Evans.
“Nobody will be hurting more than Kenny. I hear people say they don’t listen to the critics, but in this day and age that is almost impossible. The media coverage of football is 24/7 now. There is no escaping it.”
Dalglish is a man who has Liverpool running through his veins, and will be trying harder than anyone to rectify the situation currently playing out at his football club.
For everything he’s done to-date, he deserves the full backing of everyone associated with the club – including the fans – and with their support he has every chance of delivering another piece of silverware when the season comes to an end.
Only then will it be time to look in more depth at the issues behind where Liverpool’s league season fell apart, and make changes if the powers that be believe a change is needed.
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