Liverpool Challenging For The Title This Time Next Year?
As satisfying as Liverpool’s victory over Manchester United was for the Anfield faithful, it unfortunately counts for nothing. Bill Shankly’s famous saying wasn’t quite ‘first is first, and seventh is nowhere’, but you get my drift. The result may well have huge bearing on the run in to the title, and even if Liverpool’s victory is realised as a key factor in Manchester United failing to reach number nineteen first, the sense of achievement this may offer would be abruptly interrupted by a quick glance at the league table. Not at second place where Manchester United may find themselves, but at fifth, sixth, or seventh; the Europa League places that Liverpool are beginning to familiarise themselves with.
However, the most disappointing season in recent memory for Liverpool fans won’t necessarily leave that much of a bitter taste. It will be a season that will live long in the memory due to the NESV court case and takeover, along with the historic appointment of Anfield’s favourite son, Kenny Dalglish. That’s not to mention the unforgettably ill-fated six month reign of Roy Hodgson, and the self capitulation towards a relegation dog-fight he and the previous American owners made such a good fist at. The polar opposites at each end of the 2010/2011 season for Liverpool are simply staggering. For Liverpool fans, it doesn’t bear thinking about where the club would have found itself in a year’s time had the previous regime of Hicks and Gillett maintained their stranglehold on Anfield with Hodgson at the helm. Dalglish and NESV, however, pose a far more interesting question as to where Liverpool will find themselves at this stage next season; a question Liverpool fans can take great heart from contemplating.
It was the performance against Manchester United, as much as the result that will offer a hope for the future that hasn’t been present at Anfield for quite some time. The sinking feeling of watching the decline of a great team has been replaced with an optimism only Liverpool’s Greatest could reinstall in such a manner. Everything about Sunday’s result went far in proving scouse sentimentalism wasn’t the only reason behind Dalglish’s appointment. From the Kop being in full voice with all it’s ferocity and wit in tow, to the new number seven Dalglish bought in tormenting a Manchester United defence in a way ‘The King’ would have been proud of. The free flowing attacking football will inevitably draw comparisons with Dalglish’s last time in the Anfield dug-out; four or five intertwining attackers swapping positions in the opposition’s half is a trademark of the ‘Total Football’ mentality Dalglish is a firm believer in. All without the towering presence of Liverpool’s record signing, Andy Carroll, who will have undoubtedly been delighted to make his debut under such circumstances.
With the correct investment in the summer from NESV, Liverpool will have every chance of having a little more say in the title run in. And given Alex Ferguson’s and Manchester United’s refusal to hold any pre or post-match interviews, it is difficult to ignore the idea that Ferguson isn’t keen on playing any mind games with his fellow Glaswegian. Presumably, at fear of losing. Had Dalglish been in place since the summer, you can’t help thinking Sunday’s convincing victory may have had a more profound effect on the race for number nineteen. As for next season, though, King Kenny and Liverpool will be aiming higher than the Europa League places. With the Glazers’ Hicks-esque destruction of Manchester United, Chelsea’s transitional period, and Arsenal and Manchester City’s foot-shooting tendencies, one year’s time could see Dalglish retain his crown at the top of English football. As for the rest of this season, there is nothing to lose. Apart from Hodgson’s chains, that is.
Submitted by Some Team Up North
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