Stubborn Dalglish Persists With Transfer Flops, But Gets Away With It…Just

By on September 25, 2011

Kenny Dalglish persisted with under-performing signings as Liverpool hosted Wolves at Anfield, and although the first half performance was good, another second half deterioration proved Liverpool are nowhere near the level they need to be at.

Dalglish’s team selection suggested a stubbornness for his signings to work. The likes of Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson were preferred over those who performed so well against Brighton in midweek.

Maxi Rodriguez’s key role in that game — making the tackle that led to the first goal and then providing the assist for the second — didn’t even earn him a spot on the bench, while the ever anonymous Jordan Henderson was again preferred over Dirk Kuyt.

Initially at least, it looked like Dalglish’s persistence with those under-performers had payed off, as Andy Carroll headed a ball down to Charlie Adam, who faked to shoot before striking in a deflected shot off Roger Johnson for the first goal.

Surprisingly, Andy Carroll was effective throughout the match. His laziness, poor understanding with his team mates and unintelligent movement were replaced by hunger, a decent first touch and flair that hasn’t been seen since the Manchester City game last season.

His teasing cross that fizzed straight across the face of goal and just inches away from Suarez’s boot showed that perhaps he has more to his game than he is given credit for. But one good performance does not undo almost ten months of mediocrity, and the fact that he still has a poor understanding with Suarez is worrying.

That was obvious when a beautiful no look pass from Suarez in the 39th minute caught Carroll completely unaware, when perhaps had Bellamy or Kuyt been there, it would have ended up in the back of the net.

While Suarez and Carroll might not be reading from the same page yet, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique appear to have an almost telepathic understanding with the Uruguayan.

Enrique’s perfectly timed chipped through ball to the number seven — who beat Wolves’ offside trap with a perfectly timed run and then went on to score—  provided evidence of that. If Liverpool were proving their critics wrong in the first half, they invited them back with their second half display.

Within minutes Wolves had got a goal back in a manner that highlighted the defensive frailties that have seen Liverpool struggle to keep a clean sheet only once in ten competitive games.

Pepe Reina punched a cross straight to Karl Henry, who galloped towards the corner flag before laying a pass back to Steven Hunt. Charlie Adam — whose defensive deficiencies have been called into question — was caught marking nobody in particular. He failed to pick up Steven Hunt who, with all the time in the world, was able to pick out Steven Fletcher who calmly guided the ball into the roof of Reina’s net.

Another concern was Liverpool’s poor finishing. Suarez was guilty of missing a guilt edged chance when Downing found him unmarked in the box, Carroll hit the post with a free header in the box and Downing himself shot when it was so clear that a pass into the box to any of his four teammates would’ve much more easily resulted in a goal.

Indeed, it was that failure to kill off the game that nearly saw them fail to collect all three points again. A two goal lead by half time was enough in the end, but Liverpool, like a few times already this season were left reeling under pressure in the second half.

Their 4-4-2, and the tendency to sit too deep in the second halves of games has seen the midfield overrun consistently. Largely, that’s due to Charlie Adam’s ill discipline in defense, which often sees vacant space left next to Lucas for the opposition to exploit.

Indeed, at Tottenham last Sunday, Liverpool’s midfield was dominated, and Charlie Adam’s dismissal left no larger hole in midfield than was already there. It’s one thing to show reckless abandon in positioning against Wolves but to do so in a match against Spurs, or the likes of Manchester United — who the Reds face in three weeks time — is another thing entirely.

Another player who has been under fire recently is Jordan Henderson. Unlike Carroll though, he failed to provide anything that might quieten his critics. Again, he was completely anonymous on the right hand side, and seems more concerned with the state of his hair than who he’s supposed to be marking.

When Dirk Kuyt replaced him late in the game, Liverpool instantly looked a better side. His determination in chasing down a wayward header from Carroll that was destined for the touchline was symptomatic of the energy he brought to the game.

With the current trend in Dalglish’s team selection though, it appears that Kuyt will continue to come off from the bench in future games.

Wolves had more possession (51% to 49%) and more shots (17 to 16). Those statistics are not good enough considering Liverpool were playing at home and Wolves only narrowly avoided relegation last season. A good performance by Andy Carroll, and the continued excellence of Luis Suarez did nothing but paper over the cracks of obvious deficiencies in Liverpool’s game.

The time and space Liverpool were gifted in the first half is unlikely to be afforded to them against better sides, and the recurring second half collapses that are becoming increasingly common are worrying to say the least.

Luis Suarez’s tantrum at the end of the game can be looked at in two ways. Frustration at not being able to play the full ninety minutes, or frustration that his team — who were playing such fluid and offensive football in the second half of last season — are looking far more rigid and unsure after significant investment over the Summer.

Whatever it was, it’s clear that Liverpool are by no means at the level they need to be at. Next up are Everton away, followed by Manchester United at home. Both games will provide far bigger tests than this game has, and by the end of those two games, it will be clearer where Liverpool stand in the race for a Champions League place this season.

Submitted by Liverpool Football Blog

 

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40 Comments

  1. Bomber25

    September 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Dalglish only got away with it because Suarez – who he is trying to drive out of the club – got him off the hook. What more can Suarez do to prevent himself from constantly being picked on by Dalglish? I think the owners of this great club will have to step in at some point. Liverpool – thanks to Dalglish’s signings – is currently one of the most boring clubs in the Premiership.

    • Callaghan

      September 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      “Dalglish is trying to drive Suarez out of the club”? You are an idiot.

      • Bomber25

        September 26, 2011 at 8:20 am

        Were you looking at the mirror when you sent this post; because you were actually staring at the person you’ve described.

        • King Kenny

          September 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

          How is Dalglish trying to drive Suarez out?!?!?!?

          • Bomber25

            September 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

            Frustrating him with silly substitutions. Suarez wants to enjoy his football and make Liverpool great again; not indulge in some fantasy trip. Liverpool FC is the greatest football club on earth and as a result, both Suarez and Gerrard should be featuring together.

        • Callaghan

          September 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

          Provide evidence Dalglish is forcing Suarez out or admit you are an idiot.

          • Bomber25

            September 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

            Two substitions using Gerrard on both occasions arse wipe.

            • Callaghan

              September 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

              Each time a player is substituted they are being forced out? Oh, you really are the dumbest of the dumb. I’m afraid of people like you.

              • Bomber25

                September 28, 2011 at 9:20 am

                Nob head!

  2. Callaghan

    September 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Weird article that undoes itself with its own argument.

    @bomber25
    very strange comment, perhaps you know things absolutely no-one else does

  3. Bomber25

    September 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Callaghan,

    Would you say that Liverpool’s performance yesterday was a vintage one?

    • Callaghan

      September 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm

      I hope we save our vintage performances for more worthy opponents. No doubt you are a knee-jerking, nincompoop.

      • Bomber25

        September 26, 2011 at 8:18 am

        Another boneheaded response from an idiot.

        • Callaghan

          September 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

          Would you say your post was a vintage one? Probably, by the standard you’ve set yourself.

          Is it your first season following football or should I say soccer?

          • Bomber25

            September 27, 2011 at 8:35 am

            Wow! Very clever lines of questioning. What an intellect!

            • Callaghan

              September 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm

              Are you ‘endorsing’ me? Mr Doneky Brains (What was that?) lol

              • Bomber25

                September 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

                I think nob head suits you better.

  4. TomD

    September 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    The signing of Adam is a real disaster. He is simply not good enough to play in a top side, but Dalglish’s desire to persist with him is undermining the fluency of the team. Liverpool can’t play fast free flowing football with a snail in midfield who constantly gives the ball way and can’t/won’t track back. Kenny needs to ditch this guy and bring in players who know how to pass and move.

    • Bomber25

      September 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      TomD,

      I endorse your points. A world class midfielder whose nationality shouldn’t be an issue. I don’t think that my view meets Dalglish’s requirements.

      • Callaghan

        September 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

        you “endorse”? What an arrogant prat.

        • Bomber25

          September 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

          When a person lacks simple content for a debate, they resort to abusive language. Callaghan, come out with something sensible.

          • Callaghan

            September 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm

            Do you know what the dictionary definition of ‘endorse’ is? Your use of it is not at all sensible. Why are you taking the moral high ground with someone you practically agree with? You rebarbative oik!

            • Bomber25

              September 27, 2011 at 8:28 am

              With your use of very colourful language, it appears you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘endorse’doneky brains.

            • Bomber25

              September 27, 2011 at 8:31 am

              Donkey brains.

              • Callaghan

                September 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm

                lol oh, the irony!

  5. Spiv

    September 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    The internet is great isn’t it? It brings out all types of ridiculous comments from millions of unqualified and misguided folks. I sometimes wonder if any of you have ever been to Anfield or even to a Prem footy match for that matter. We are 6 games into our season and still in third gear. Yes, last week was a horror show but that will happen from time-to-time and LFC is currently a work in progress. One major criticism of Benitez’s reign was his ability to suck the confidence out of young players by constantly dropping them. KK is building a squad for the future and he needs to ensure he gives the likes of Carroll and Henderson the chance to bed-in. Players like Bellamy and Kuyt have reached their peak and we already know they can come on when needed and do a job. But the young players need all the encouragement they can get. Did Ronaldo start off well at Utd, or even Nani or Anderson? Yet Red Nose kept playing them week-in week-out cos he knew they would come good…and guess what, it worked! Go and buy yourself a plane/train ticket and go see a match at Anfield and then you might actually get what football is all about!

    • Bomber25

      September 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Spiv,

      I am sure you might recall that the owner of the club has given Dalglish a clear ultimatum of a top four finish. If Dalglish carries on in this vein of form, he will be out of a job by May 2012; because you need your strongest team with world class players to achieve such a mission; not rebuilding a squad for the future.

      • Spiv

        September 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

        I’m not aware of any ‘ultimatum’ that was publicly stated. I’m aware there is an expectation from the owners for LFC to get CL football next season but I’m not convinced that KK will be sacked if he fails to deliver this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these fans who’s held up on past glories and believes KK is untouchable. However, what KK has done is bring belief back into the club and amongst the fans at the ground…something I have not felt since midway through ’09/10 season. There is so much psychology associated in football and that transcends not just amongst the players but als the fans too. There is a real sense of belief at the ground this season that LFC can get back amongst the elite and credit must go to KK and his staff for that. So therefore I’m not convinced KK is walking a thin tight rope.

        • Bomber25

          September 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

          Henry has given him the ultimatum of a top four finish; which gets the club into the European Champions League, and we all know what that generates by way of finance. Football is not just a sport now, it is also a business. The Fenway Group had faith in Dalglish and have invested heavily in the club. He has to deliver a European Champions League spot this season. Failure to this means anything is possible.

          • Callaghan

            September 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm

            No such ultimatum has been made, you fool.

            • Bomber25

              September 26, 2011 at 8:13 am

              Enough of the abusive language please. If you don’t want to believe then tough.

              • Callaghan

                September 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm

                Back it up with evidence! Put up or shut up!

    • acha5066

      September 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      But there lies the problem that Dalglish is making. He persists with young players at the expense of the team. Liverpool are a better side when Kuyt, Bellamy and Maxi play.

      Why not go out and win the game with those guys, then when there’s no pressure bring on the younger guys and let them earn their right to start.

      No one is bigger than the club, so no-one deserves to start for anything other than merit. Right now, Kuyt is better than Henderson and Bellamy is better than Carroll. Fact.

      • Spiv

        September 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm

        It will be interesting to see if Kuyt and Bellamy are preferred to Henderson and Carroll over the next 2 matches. I will be surprised if Kuyt (barring any injury) will back on the bench at Goodison. However, I do expect Carroll to get the nod ahead of Bellamy. Not because Bellamy isn’t better or because Carroll cost £35M but because Carroll offers a physical presence and we’ll need that against the toffees. Bring Bellamy on with 15/20mins to go to run their defence ragged, I’m sure that’s what KK bough him for.

        • Stan

          September 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

          Spiv that is the best comment you have made in all your comments throughout the LFC sites. I however dont actually think Kuyt will start again. I hope you are right and i am wrong but I doubt it. By the looks of things KD is hellbent on playing his signings regardless of their form.

          • Bomber25

            September 26, 2011 at 8:15 am

            Stan, Hopefully that would lead to his (Dalglish) speedy departure from Anfield.

      • jim

        September 26, 2011 at 10:19 am

        Hey! iam better than henderson and i am a old man!bad mistake this kid and carrol and adam it will be the end of the king if he does not sort these
        wasters out and i say that as someone who loves kenny!

        • Stan

          September 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm

          Honestly if this is the quality and potential Kenny wanted out of his new signing then we could have bought someone from League 2 and saved ourselves 15mill pound. What an utter waste. I wonder what the owners are thinking now

          • Bomber25

            September 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

            Absolutely Stan. A complete waste of money in my view.

  6. Bomber25

    September 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

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