It’s always interesting getting an opinion from the other side of the fence. Most times we won’t agree but occasionally you come across those few fans that appreciate game and watch their teams without those tinted/bias specs on, something I struggle to do. So I was pleasantly surprised to read how realistic and grounded this Scouser actually is.
Liverpool Reality Check
Reality - the state of things as they actually exist as opposed to how they may appear or may be imagined.
In the case of Liverpool football club, a serious dose of reality was handed to players and supporters alike, over the last two weekends, as a virtually fully-fit Reds side labored to a 1-0 loss at Stoke City and then proceeded to get hammered 4-0 at Spurs. Reminiscent of losses to the likes of Blackpool, Wolves, as well as Tony Pulis’s men last season, much of the hype and euphoria of the recent changes at the club were somewhat diminished following more unproductive away performances.
Positive results against a weakened Arsenal side and a struggling Bolton, along with the opening day home draw with Sunderland, meant that The Reds were off to their best start in recent memory, earning a respectable 7 points from their first three premiership encounters. Fans and players were oozing with optimism and positivity but both sets of sentiments have now been somewhat dampened as a result of the two most recent setbacks. Granted that both The Britannia Stadium and White Hart Lane are never easy places to go, let alone win, a point was a necessity from both games to convince fans and players alike that Liverpool are genuine top four contenders once again.
Not for one second am I dismissing the magnitude of the turnaround that the club has undergone since the disgraceful previous American owners and, more recently, Roy Hodgson left the club, but the recent Stoke defeat, as well as the day-to-forget at White Hart Lane, came as a timely reminder that this is all still very much a work in progress.
I have no doubt that with King Kenny at the helm, accompanied by the likes of Steve Clarke and Damien Comolli, Liverpool will once again be a force to be reckoned with. The signings since January are indicative of the direction in which the club is going but these players are still in the process of jelling as they attempt to complement each other in the best possible manner.
As oppose to looking at a bench laden with inexperience and mediocrity, the depth at Dalglish’s disposal is a rare luxury that hasn’t often been afforded to managers of Liverpool in times gone by. While Benitez settled for the likes of Milan Baros and Florent Siname-Pongolle to act as game changers during his tenure, King Kenny can now call on the likes of Andy Carroll, Craig Bellamy and Jordan Henderson, to name a few, to positively impact any match.
While there is seemingly adequate depth and cover in the attack and midfield departments, I’m of the opinion that a re-shuffle is needed in defence. A fully-fit Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly make the right fullback slot the most accomplished in the defensive structures while the real issues lie in the central department. Jamie Carragher is not getting any younger, and while he still reads the game like a book, it’s becoming more and more common to see him falling short when asked to match strikers for pace. Daniel Agger may be able to complement Carra and provide cover for the 33-year old if need be, but the constant concerns surrounding his fitness mean that he’s only made 98 appearances during his 5 years at the club. Martin Skrtel was an ever-present last season, and was solid enough alongside Carra, but one gets the feeling that Liverpool require a more accomplished world-class presence in the heart of the defence should they wish to challenge for top honours once more.
Looking ahead to the home game against Wolves this weekend, anything less than a convincing victory over Mick McCarthy’s men will be unacceptable. It is imperative that Liverpool show the rest of the league that they are better than what they have produced of late and in turn earn another victory in front of a packed Anfield crowd. The timely and long overdue return of Steven Gerrard will be another reason to expect victory as Kenny attempts to rally his troops once more and avoid any further reality checks with games against Everton and United on the horizon.