Following a bitterly disappointing defeat to Tottenham on Sunday marking back-to back defeat for The Reds, the unflappable Scot has been the target of criticism from some sections of the Anfield faithful. A minority of fans tackled Dalglish’s selection and tactics after the toothless display at White Hart Lane with some even suggesting Liverpool’s season lies in ruins if Steven Gerrard’s imminent return doesn’t herald an instant impact.
Dalglish himself put the defeat down to the team not getting out of the blocks fast enough, coupled with the frantic pace which Tottenham did; leading to frustration and a loss of discipline among the Liverpool ranks.
He said: “We started the game short of the level we have been recently, Tottenham started better and Modric scored a great goal to get them up front.
“Despite the other incidents that are best left unanswered I think we look at ourselves and the start we had. That dictated what was going to happen to us.
“I don’t know why we started so slowly. We will sit down and talk with them on Tuesday.
“We will have a look at the video and see what happens and if we have done anything wrong we will address that.
“The boys are upset and so they should be. The football club expects more than a 4-0 defeat when you come to play to places like Tottenham.”
Liverpool’s lack of options at right-back was an area Harry Redknapp was almost certainly targeting and was cruelly exposed time and time again as the day progressed with Martin Skrtel given the unenviable task of dealing with the electric pace of Gareth Bale and the supporting Benoit Assou-Ekotto, a challenge most seasoned full-backs would struggle to cope with.
The Liverpool manager, selected a team he believed would win the game; despite being reduced to 10 men following Charlie Adam’s dismissal and a goal down to an absolute pearler from Luka Modric, Liverpool were still in the game at 1-0. The Reds were disjointed and forward play was patchy but were still capable of getting something from the game until Skrtel’s sending off just after the hour mark. This left the team with a back-line of debutant Sebastian Coates, who replaced the injured Daniel Agger, an aging Jamie Carragher and attacking full-back Jose Enrique.
It was after this point when the goal-glut arrived, Tottenham enjoyed extended periods of possession leaving Liverpool chasing shadows and conceding a further three goals, confounding the team to a comprehensive 4-0 defeat. Cue the doom merchants and keyboard warriors.
The game was a simple ‘bad day at the office’, yet that done little to stop the barrage of abuse aimed at Dalglish through online fan forums and Twitter. Liverpool’s players let the club down on the day, not the manager, who fielded his strongest XI available. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but Tottenham arguably have a better squad than Liverpool at present, but to blame the manager after a catalog of on the pitch errors beyond his control not only wrong but displays a distinct lack of footballing knowledge and plain ignorance.
Dalglish concluded his post-match interview with a frank and honest assessment of the day and offered a rebuttal to the inevitable question marks over his team selection, he said:
“The squad has to be used throughout the season, When there is a victory there are not many comments made about the team.
“But when there’s a defeat then whatever players are playing is being questioned.
“Given how we started the game, we’d have lost anyway.”
Liverpool are a work in progress; a swarm of new players have arrived as part of the rebuilding process and will take time to gel, learn each other’s game and become more of a team unit and ultimately better than the sum of their parts. This is clearly evident at Manchester City who have built a fine squad over the past few seasons but are only now seeing that squad come to fruition and become a proper team yet admittedly are still ironing out a few problem areas. These things take time and to expect instant success is simply idiotic.
That said, it’s only a small number of fans airing their discontent with a high majority backing Dalglish to the hilt (emphasised by fan chants at 3-0) and pointing to his previous success at the club and elsewhere. However, fans must remain remember to take the red-tinted glasses off from time to time; giving Dalglish blind backing and faith can be dangerous regardless of his credentials.
I personally am 100% behind Kenny Dalglish yet no one should be exempt from criticism, Dalglish is just a man as is every member of the team – they will make mistakes, we will lose games but we also will win games and in style, opinions will flutter but the realists among us will know this, a defeat here and there will not dampen hopes for the future.
At Liverpool we have been spoiled with success and have no God-given right to be the top team in the land because at the minute we simply aren’t and are a long way short but that is no cause not to be optimistic, the club is on an upward curve, sure they’ll be a few wobbles on the way but I for one am looking forward to the ride.