Liverpool FC Fans – Should You Laugh, Or Cry?

The 2011-12 season will enter the Liverpool record books with a big asterisk next to it.

The 2011-12 season will enter the Liverpool record books with a big asterisk next to it. Massive money spent on good English prospects, three trips to Wembley, one trophy in the bag, maybe two, huge victories over both Manchester clubs and yet more bragging rights in the Merseyside derbies, all under the reign of King Kenny, Kop legend. Plenty of reason to be cheerful, you might think? Big money flops, the ousting of the Director of Football, woeful results in the league, especially at Anfield, the Suarez incident and subsequent media handling of the 8 match ban, Dalglish struggling to match his predecessor, Roy Hodgson, in terms of win percentage, a goal shy strike force and a real likelihood of finishing below Everton. Suddenly the season appears disastrous. This Jekyll and Hyde season causes hope and despair in equal measure. If Dalglish can transform his team€™s cup record, where his players have shown they can get up for the big games, into the league they then can eye up a top 4 finish. If even a tenth of their efforts that hit the woodwork had smacked the back of the net instead things would look a lot rosier. Luis Suarez demonstrated his class with a magnificent hattrick against Norwich on Saturday. If Andy Carroll can continue his recent good spell, Steven Gerrard can stay fit, Stewart Downing can finally find his feet and perhaps one more quality attacking player, either a right winger or another centre forward can join in the summer, there is reason to be confident. On the other hand, it is easy to argue that Anfield will see the same struggles again next season. Suarez can still be hit and miss, Carroll still has a way to go to justify his place in the team each week, let alone his extortionate price tag, Gerrard isn€™t getting any younger and Downing isn€™t getting any better. Jordan Henderson has not settled into one particular role, Jaime Carragher is increasingly looking like a liability, and Dalglish€™s appearances in the media have made him appear like a dinosaur, not up to the speed of the modern game. Unlike the new stadium, there is the groundwork for a bright future when it comes to the playing squad. Lucas has been a big miss and will bring much needed bite to central midfield. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger have formed a solid backline partnership; Sebastien Coates has the potential to be a quality player but needs a little more time to acclimatise. Martin Kelly, Jose Enrique, Glenn Johnson are good full backs, and Dalglish is intent on bringing through players from the academy, which is always pleasing to see. If the Scot can bring another 10% out from Downing, Carroll, Henderson and Charlie Adam they could push on to challenge for a top 4 position. Dirk Kuyt seems set to move back to Feyenoord and his tenacity will be missed but that might give Liverpool the chance to play a proper right winger and get Downing back on to the left. Two wingers delivering balls into the box should bring the best out of Carroll. Damien Comolli was sacked for his negotiation tactics that saw Carroll, Henderson, Downing and Adam join for a combined£79million. However, Dalglish was the man who identified those targets, and while a failure to match their performances to their price tags is not something the manager can take blame for, a failure to match their performances to that expected of a Liverpool player is. After the previous glut of spending how much money will Henry and Werner give Dalglish? And will the former number 7 identify the right targets? A good summer in the transfer window and a good start to the new season are imperative if Liverpool are to get back to where they belong. Using this season as a yard stick, it is difficult to see what the future has in store for Liverpool FC.
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Reporting on football and sports at large since 2007. Written for Channel 5, BT, the PFA, the Football Ramble amongst many, many others.