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FA Cup provides saving grace for Dalglish

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Phil McNulty | 07:30 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

Liverpool fans of a certain vintage will remember only too clearly footage of legendary former manager Bill Shankly jabbing a finger at the old League Championship trophy with the words: "This is our bread and butter. This is the one we want."

And in a phrase that could have been carved into the Anfield boardroom walls, the Scot also insisted the only purpose of the club's existence was to win trophies.

So Liverpool season's balances precariously between those two Shankly statements as they prepare to face Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

The Carling Cup has been won, the FA Cup is there to be won - but the "bread and butter" of the title is as far away from Liverpool's table as ever.

Fulham's 1-0 win at Liverpool on Tuesday produced another unwanted record as it was their first Anfield win after 30 previous attempts. It brought the tally of points dropped at home to 30 this season, a campaign that has also resulted in a meagre total of just five wins at their supposed "fortress".

Liverpool are 34 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and second-placed Manchester United and any hopes of fulfilling the pre-season goal set by owner John W. Henry and his Fenway Sports Group of securing Champions League football next season disappeared weeks ago.

Kenny Dalglish's team are level on points with Fulham and three points behind neighbours Everton, who have had a small fraction of Liverpool's spending power at their disposal.

And yet, when presented with the challenge of cup competition, Liverpool have been transformed from lambs into lions. Chelsea and Manchester City were eliminated en route to winning the Carling Cup, a run also saw a victory on notoriously hostile turf at Stoke City.

Liverpool last won the FA Cup in 2006 with a penalties win over West Ham at the Millennium Stadium. Photo: Getty

Liverpool knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup and came from behind to beat Everton in the semi-final at Wembley when form, an admittedly unreliable measure in this part of the game, was overturned.

So have Liverpool, in a question that would have had a succession of legendary Liverpool figures such as Shankly and Bob Paisley horrified, become a cup team? Is that famous "bread and butter" of the title off the menu for the foreseeable future?

Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby believes their season can only be labelled as a satisfactory one if they add the FA Cup to the Carling Cup - but understands the method behind the mask of mediocrity in the Premier League.

He told BBC Sport: "It appears that Liverpool have become a team that excels in the cup. I don't think ultimately that is what Liverpool want to be. The big prize is winning the Premier League but it appears the first step for Kenny Dalglish has been to get some trophies in the cabinet.

"Maybe because of that they might have prioritised the cups a bit. You have got to start somewhere. People talk about confidence and a winning mentality and you get a winning mentality by winning things - winning matches is not enough you have got to win trophies.

"You start there and build on that. Cup football is a different type of game. In the league games at home maybe Liverpool have gambled more in their approach and they have been caught out.

"Perhaps in the cups the initial mentality has leaned a little more towards not getting beaten and they then have individual brilliance in the shape of people like Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard who can win those games."

The Dane added: "You get some seasons where teams do well in particular games, perhaps having a very good record away from home. The confidence grows in those specific games and cups are the same.

"Liverpool will now be having entirely different thoughts when they play in cup games, they will be thinking, 'We can do this. We've done it all season and we can do it again now'.

"It can also have an effect on the opposition. If you took it on form alone in the FA Cup semi-final then you would have backed Everton to beat Liverpool, but psychologically Liverpool will have been thinking the cup tie suited them and perhaps Everton were concerned that they were up against a team that were specialists in cup competitions. It is a two-way street.

"I don't even think it is something that will carry on into next season, where Liverpool go especially well in cups butChelsea will certainly be aware of how well Liverpool have played in the cups at Wembley on Satuday."

Dalglish appears to have made a concerted effort to target silverware as a starting point for his second spell as manager, even more so when it became abundantly clear Liverpool were not title material.

Molby added: "Kenny will have hoped to do better in the Premier League, but when they didn't he probably thought they couldn't go to places like Exeter City or Brighton in the Carling Cup and play weakened teams or chuck things away. He played strong teams, stayed in the competition, gave themselves something to fall back on apart from the league and that's been fantastic for Liverpool."

Final judgement on the outcome of Liverpool's season will come on Saturday, however, and Molby is clear on how the verdict will be reached.

"The only way Liverpool's season can become a good one is if they win the FA Cup on Saturday," Molby said. "I think if they don't then you are entitled to go back and analyse the season and there will be some tough questions asked.

"If they don't win the FA Cup, then all they have won is the Carling Cup and there are very few clubs that make that competition a priority.

"The owners are sensible. They will know this is going to take time but they are not going to put up with competing for seventh or eighth in the Premier League forever."

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    Yay!

    the Lets all laugh at Liverpool blog, finally!

  • Comment number 2.

    If they win the FA Cup it will be viewed as a good season for Liverpool but surely it will not disguise the fact they are over 30 points (10 games) behind the top 2 after playing 36. On course for their lowest scoring season at Anfield since 1904 and still in need of major investment, which may be difficult following yesterday's annual results.

    If they were to lose Kenny will be under severe pressure. Next season will be the test, not many sided retain cups so the League form will have to be massively different. I have no doubt a lot of Liverpool fans will two out the 'we have hit the woodwork 2 million time' or 'the GK played the greatest he will ever play' etc but the old adage that the table does not lie will not make pleasant reading for Dalglish.

    £100m invested (and it is £100m before people start saying he sold) to take a team backwards in the league table is not a good return at all on such a huge outlay on personnel. His hero status will buy him time but will the owners back him to go again in the transfer market following the poor return most of his signings have provided.

  • Comment number 3.

    my predictions are as follows.

    kick off = 0-0
    half time = 0-0
    full time = 0-0
    1st period of extra time = 0-0
    2nd period of extra time= 0-0
    penalty shoot out= 0-0
    extra penalty shot out = 0-0

    after 24 hours the game is abandoned due to lack of interest.

  • Comment number 4.

    He needs to be ruthless in the Summer and ditch Henderson, Downing and Adam definitely and maybe Kuyt, Aurelio and Maxi if the bids are good enough. Then there needs at least one strong goal scorer and a decent right winger brought in. Then they all need to do some @£$#ing shooting practise!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    We have been a cup team expect for one or two seasons for many years but it has given me some truly fantastic times as a fan. So yeah not were we'd like to be but I refuse to be drawn into trying to find negative aspects of going to the FA Cup final. I couldn't tell you who we were playing the day we secured the all important champions league place last, But I remember fondly all the cup finals I was lucky enough to see us win. Yes I'd prefer to be in the Champions League but one trophy already and the chance of another is a pretty good consolation prize!

  • Comment number 6.

    Let it not be said that Phil McNulty doesn't listen to his readers. The long awaited Newcastle blog followed by the eagerly anticipated 'Lets all laugh at Liverpool' blog, great work Phil!

    I think winning the FA Cup might actually be bad for Liverpool, they have a lot of problems with the team and an FA Cup win might paper over those cracks. Their summer signings have been awful and it has not been a good season for them. 5 wins at Anfield is an appalling record and their recent run of form was one of the worst in their entire history as a club.

    Kenny does not seem to have any coherent game plan on how he wants his team to play. 'Pass and move' is the Liverpool mantra, yet he goes and buys Carroll, a static target man who can't pass, move or even shoot properly. Stewart Downing has also been abysmal, a winger who is renowned for his crossing but cannot beat a full back to put in a cross anyway. I'll cut Henderson a little slack as he is still pretty raw, but I don't see him becoming anything more than an average workhorse midfielder.

    But never mind, eh? At least they got that killer kit deal!

  • Comment number 7.

    Who really cares about Liverpool ? Too much spoken about a very ordinary club that has shown arrogance and ignorance in equal amounts this season. Other clubs are far more deserving of column inches and for much better reasons.

  • Comment number 8.

    Not sure how "Liverpool being a cup team" is even a debate, given it's over 20 years since they last won the league title.

  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 10.

    This season has been a complete failure for Liverpool even if we win the FA Cup. No team fears Liverpool, everyone comes to Anfield and expects a result.

    Every signing bar Suarez and I guess Enrique and Bellamy have been disastrous.

    I hope Kenny can turn it around but of he's not up to the task then we need to bring someone with fresh ideas. We are absolutely toothless upfront it's not even funny. People say we're unlucky hitting the woodwork constantly but that's no excuse.

    Liverpool have some serious thinking to do this summer

  • Comment number 11.

    Look on the bright side. Once you realise that Liverpool have not moved on since Benitez you can then criticise the new England manager in the summer. Dalglish undermined Hodgson and you fans got what you wanted. Enjoy your cup final - me, I'm playing cricket.

  • Comment number 12.

    4.At 08:26 4th May 2012, conradk wrote:
    He needs to be ruthless in the Summer and ditch Henderson, Downing and Adam definitely and maybe Kuyt, Aurelio and Maxi if the bids are good enough. Then there needs at least one strong goal scorer and a decent right winger brought in. Then they all need to do some @£$#ing shooting practise!!!!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    If he was really ruthless he just ditch himself. HAve you seen his intereviews all season?

    Firstly, Dalglish looks 10 years older than he is. He's already a wizened little old man. He's grumpy and defensive and nothing is ever his fault.

    Keep him at your peril.

  • Comment number 13.

    I know it is a laboured point but have you read Lawro's predictions? Liverpool to win the cup is one thing but dedicating the whole analysis of it by failing to talk at all about Chelsea and using it as a way to defend his mate's reign at Anfield is a joke. How do the BBC let him use this as a platform to do his friends bidding?

  • Comment number 14.

    Serious question: when did Liverpool last win a trophy without flukeing it on a penalty shoot-out? It was a very long time ago I believe!

  • Comment number 15.

    Substitute the 'u' in the word cup for the letters 'ra' and then you get the answer to what kind of team Liverpool are - and yet their deluded fans will still expect a title challenge next season!!

  • Comment number 16.

    It still saddens me that the priority for clubs is money over trophies. Be it sacrificing teh FA Cup for top 3/4 or Premiership safety managers are choosing the league 9 times out of 10, probably due to pressure from their respective boards. Fans now also follow suit in the hope the extra revenue may win them the chance to spend big in the future and compete with 'the best' as only the League and Champions League matters anymore with everything else 'Mickey Mouse'.

    Honestly give me a cup any time, let alone the realistic chance of 2.

  • Comment number 17.

    Before the money obsessed days of the Premier League, when finishing third or fourth was not regarded as a "trophy", winning a domestic cup competition, especially the FA Cup was always regarded as a success. Now it seems to merely offer consolation. I'm sure however, Liverpool will revel in the glory of the moment if they win it and rightly so.
    Having said that, I don't think Liverpool will find that "consolation" on Saturday. Chelsea to win a tight, turgid affair 2-0 with goals by Drogba and a late clincher off Torres's shin !!

  • Comment number 18.

    Liverpool were in a terrible mess when Kenny Dalglish came in, on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, it appears a lot better. no we don't really know the fenway group yet but they seem much better than Hicks and Gillette. On the pitch, we've ben inconsistent; sometimes good, sometimes appalling. Liverpool need continuity so sacking Dalglish is not the answer. Leave that policy to Chelsea. Lots of players look better in their second season at a club. Consider the example of Lucas Leiva, initially deemed rubbish, now look at how the team has missed him. Molby's comments are not far wrong. We'd like a centre back, another defensive midfielder is essential, a true right winger (Hoilett / Moses) is a must and an explosive midefielder (Sigurdsson) would be excellent. However, the outstanding need is for a goalscorer. Someone who can't help but score (Aldridge, Rush). Buying that player will be what sets the tone of next season and could set the tone of Dalglish's reign. if there's only so much money available, spend it all on a goalscorer.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm a Liverpool fan and this season has been the one that has tested my commitment the most. The team is the poorest I've ever seen; far too many weak links to even trouble the top 6. The team that played against Fulham would be relegation fodder; fair play he's resting players ahead of the cup final but that is a dangerous game when dealing with fans that pay a lot of money to attend games and have no superstars to watch and cheer.

    But above all else, the way the Suarez racism debacle was handled was hugely embarrassing. I haven't liked the way the King has conducted himself at all this season, more excuses than responsibility taking and he seems so bitter. I can't now bear to watch his post match interviews.

  • Comment number 20.

    Of course 20 years ago the FA Cup meant more than finishing 4th but times have changed. Clubs who wish to attract the top talent need either an incredibly wealthy investor or to be in the Champions League. The fact is a cup is all well and good for Liverpool and will be rightly celebrated if they beat Chelsea, however player are paid to perform in the League first and Liverpool have clearly been a huge let down on that front.

    Do Liverpool really want to be a Cup team or push themselves week in, week out to be the best they can be? I know it is about looking for positives but if they do lose it has surely been a hugely disappointing season, especially if Moyes gets Everton above them in the League

  • Comment number 21.

    I've said for the ages that Liverpool remind me of the Man United teams of the mid 70's and 80's. They had 1 or 2 exceptional players surrounded by mediocrity who could rouse themselves up big matches and cup ties but in league absolutely no consistency.

    It took SAF 5 full seasons to get United close to and then eventually win the league, looking at the current Liverpool squad it may need the same amount of time to do the same and I'm not sure KD will have that amount of time or the skills to be able to do that.

  • Comment number 22.

    Question: Take out the stats that we all know and take out Molbys interview and what is left of this blog?
    Answer: Virtually nothing - such poor journalism

  • Comment number 23.

    Why bother with the word "become"? They've been a cup team for the best part of two decades now.

    New signings take time to settle in, granted, and Dalglish may still be finding his feet in the modern day top flight again but winning the FA Cup should never be a priority for a supposed "big club" over qualifying for the Champions League. If Liverpool really want to be challenging again on all fronts the first, and most crucial, step is qualifying for Europe. The history of the club is such that it can still attract a certain calibre of player, but a couple of seasons without European football will soon start to take it's toll. Teams like Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Utd and City are now the most attractive to play for in the Premiership due to the common belief that they can challenge for the league and regularly play in the Champions League.

    With every year that passes without progression they move further and further from the "glory days" that Liverpool fans still remember so fondly.

  • Comment number 24.

    @16 Thrashball

    Football is about winning the big trophies. To win them you need money. To get the most money you need to qualify for the Champions League.

    It's weird how when Hodgson was in charge, the Liverpool fans demanded better performances in the league as they saw themselves potential contenders. Now Dalglish is in, they are taking the line 'oh we didn't have much chance anyway, lets concentrate on the cups'.

    To argue against the whole 'Carling Cup is better than Champions League football' stance, I think more people will remember Bale slaughtering Maicon and getting a hat trick than Liverpool struggling to overcome a Championship side and needing penalties.

  • Comment number 25.

    Finally a "Let's laugh at Liverpool" blog the day before a cup final? How I love having a journalist on your side.

  • Comment number 26.

    So, if Liverpool win tomorrow they will consider it a successful season? I consider it wallpapering over the cracks.

    Another question, if the manager currently in charge was any other than Dalglish, would he still be there?

  • Comment number 27.

    " if there's only so much money available, spend it all on a goalscorer."

    I foresee 40million on Grant Holt

  • Comment number 28.

    De Gea, like I said the priority has moved to money. I doubt owners are really that bothered if the league or Champions League is even won considering you get something £50 million just for making the final of the latter. With the top 3 or 4 places now with the chance of this Champions League money they are able to spend more with less risk of dropping out thus cementing their place there unless something goes drastically wrong. To realistically challenge you need big investment from an external source which is in turn criticised because it's not 'earnt' etc.

    So yes, there'll be more people that remember a Bale hattrick which ultimately won Spurs some more money but no silverware. The League will always be the ultimate for most as it proves you're the best in the land however even this is becoming secondary to UEFAs money competition.

  • Comment number 29.

    With the discussion being about Champions league qualification over domestic cup winnning and the finances being more important than glory, does anyone think that a European "super" league will ever take off? ie top 20 European clubs playing in a league format week in week out?

  • Comment number 30.

    I can see Liverpool winning this comfortably. In fact I would be surprised if they don't.

  • Comment number 31.

    14.
    At 08:49 4th May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:


    Serious question: when did Liverpool last win a trophy without flukeing it on a penalty shoot-out? It was a very long time ago I believe!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Serious question - Can I take it from your post that you think that Man United's 2008 European Cup win was a fluke?

  • Comment number 32.

    @28 Thrashball

    Money is important, but it is a means to an end. You get more money, you buy better players, your team gets closer to winning one of the big prizes: the league or the Champions League. It is all done for the sake of long term improvement. A cup win is good to have but if you focus on nothing but winning those cups, you are not going to improve your chances of winning the league in the long run.

  • Comment number 33.

    Lets be honest about Liverpool's season. The results in the league have been poor but the majority of performances have been very good. Liverpool have consistently dominated possession below par finishing, have often left the field with fewer points than they deserved. However, as I said, the performances are there and if the luck changes next season we can expect them to be 15-20 points higher in the league.

    As for Kenny's signings. Suarez has played well but missed a huge chuck of the season with a unfairly long ban. Carroll has played well, but due to tactical changes not had the time on the pitch to get a run together and score (I've seen enough to believe he can come good). Henderson and Coates both played well in patches but are players for the future. Bellamy has done well and cost nothing. Enrique started the season strongly but faded in recent weeks. Downing has done ok, but is rarely on the pitch it seems at the same time as Carroll to provide him the crosses. Adam and Doni have both been poor and can leave!

    For next season - Some pace needed down the wing (Hoilett or Capel?) and if Adam leaves a better more creative midfielder to replace him. These minor changes and with hopefully better finishing top four is not unrealistic (perhaps the Europa League too)

  • Comment number 34.

    24.At 09:05 4th May 2012, The awkward facial hair of David De Gea wrote:
    I think more people will remember Bale slaughtering Maicon and getting a hat trick
    ____________________________

    Did he , when was that ?

  • Comment number 35.

    24.
    At 09:05 4th May 2012, The awkward facial hair of David De Gea wrote:

    It's weird how when Hodgson was in charge, the Liverpool fans demanded better performances in the league as they saw themselves potential contenders. Now Dalglish is in, they are taking the line 'oh we didn't have much chance anyway, lets concentrate on the cups'.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What a lot of nonsense.

    Liverpool fans just wanted better performances under Hodgson, perhaps unreasonably, no matter what competition.

    The low point of Hodgson's reign was the defeat to Northampton in the Carling Cup. Perhaps, if he had been able to manage to motivate his team to win a home fixture against a team from the lowest tier of the football league, he might not have lost the job.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'll doubt there will be any hiding at Anfield at the end of the season in regards the Premiership campaign. The league doesn't lie and the club knows it. However, getting to the final in both domestic competitions is certainly positive and something they will look to build upon.
    When you have won the title as many times as the club has it is no surprise that the supporters expect a challenge.

  • Comment number 37.

    32: Possibly why Dalglish comes out with comments about sponsorship being an important part of modern day football and then gets ridiculed. And back to fans celebrating winning 4th over winning a trophy. I'm assuming you're a Man U fan and it's understandable that after Ferguson's reign you have your priorities set out, ie League and Champions League, as you very rarely have to go long without winning one but periods of dominance end and cups may go from being Mickey Mouse to something to be celebrated.

    League is great, so is Champions League but the modern day obsession with them to the point of denigrating all other competitions is not something I like.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    For next season - Some pace needed down the wing (Hoilett or Capel?) and if Adam leaves a better more creative midfielder to replace him. These minor changes and with hopefully better finishing top four is not unrealistic

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes it is, massively unrealisitic. Look how far Liverpool are behind the top two and the rest. 'More pace down the wing' isn't going to close that gap bearing in mind everyone else will be strengthening as well, and 4 teams will have the carrot of Champions League football to attract players with as well.

    Liverpool are a good cup team. In regards to a top four finish, they're as likely to do that as Fulham or West Brom.

  • Comment number 40.

    It appears to me Phil, that you couldn't really be bothered to write this blog at all so just copy and pasted all of the Molby article to fill this out!

    As for the main point of it, The FA Cup should not really provide any real saving grace for King Kenny. For a team who many believe should be at least in the top 4 shake up come the end of the season, just a decent cup run is not good enough! Its like Charlton (who were strong favorites to be promoted from League One for most of this season) just winning the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and finishing 8th.

  • Comment number 41.

    On the bright side, another FA Cup triumph tomorrow will be Liverpool's 50th trophy since 1970 ... so whatever else, they remain in the business of winning trophies. There are no open-top parades for finishing 4th ... not yet anyway.

    Downside is the Reality of where LFC is in the scheme of things, not least the Financial realities. The link below is to an excellent review by the Swiss Ramble blog, which looks at the club's recent history in depth, its (lack of) financial resources/power compared to rival clubs - and does so without any premeditated pro or anti agenda.

    http://bit.ly/IJnzqv

  • Comment number 42.

    13.At 08:49 4th May 2012, sirHellsBells wrote:
    How do the BBC let him use this as a platform to do his friends bidding?
    ____________________________________________________

    So how would you compare that to the publishing of this blog ?
    They are both on the BBC.

  • Comment number 43.

    38.At 09:54 4th May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    It's a fact well known by everyone outside of LFC (aka the delusional).
    _________________________________________

    So you are saying that everyone outside of Liverpool FC is delusional ?

    Well , you could knock me down with a feather :)

  • Comment number 44.

    33.At 09:42 4th May 2012, Simon Fletcher wrote:
    Lets be honest about Liverpool's season. The results in the league have been poor but the majority of performances have been very good. Liverpool have consistently dominated possession below par finishing, have often left the field with fewer points than they deserved. However, as I said, the performances are there and if the luck changes next season we can expect them to be 15-20 points higher in the league.

    As for Kenny's signings. Suarez has played well but missed a huge chuck of the season with a unfairly long ban. Carroll has played well, but due to tactical changes not had the time on the pitch to get a run together and score (I've seen enough to believe he can come good). Henderson and Coates both played well in patches but are players for the future. Bellamy has done well and cost nothing. Enrique started the season strongly but faded in recent weeks. Downing has done ok, but is rarely on the pitch it seems at the same time as Carroll to provide him the crosses. Adam and Doni have both been poor and can leave!

    For next season - Some pace needed down the wing (Hoilett or Capel?) and if Adam leaves a better more creative midfielder to replace him. These minor changes and with hopefully better finishing top four is not unrealistic (perhaps the Europa League too)

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On such delusion was 20 years in the wilderness founded. Some seriously mind altering potions would have to be consumed to put such a ridiculously optimistic slant on the debacle that has been Liverpool's season, the inept failure that has been the Steptoeesque Dalglish, and the shambles that is the current Liverpool squad.

    Where's that stuff growing?

  • Comment number 45.

    Can I point out to the posts (and the BBC) that their are two teams involved in the cup final.

  • Comment number 46.

    but periods of dominance end and cups may go from being Mickey Mouse to something to be celebrated.
    -----------------------------------

    Sensible point but it also masks the failure to meet expectations at Anfield by Kennysaurus Rex. They've ended not even close to 4th and need even more team investment in a club that has been one of the PL's biggest spenders over the past two decades.

    A good start to the league, an okay middle and a woeful end that might see Everton finish above them, has increasingly led to calls within their own support for KK to move on. A fluke win over Cardiff just papers the cracks and KK's press conferences have become increasingly truculent.

    Still they have provided some of the more comic moments in the league: buying Andy Carroll and playing him a striker when he should be selling hotdogs was a masterstroke, paying £20m for Henderson staggeringly good for Sunderland and the hapless campaign over Suarez was an embarrassment for them.

    Kenny must stay and the show must go on please

    HaHaCharade at #3 correctly predicts tomorrows game :)

  • Comment number 47.

    What's a cup team? Surely every club should be wanting to win a cup? If you don't then your priorities as a club are all wrong.
    Managers like Wenger and Ferguson have made the League and FA Cups look trivial while they try to persue Champions League glory without success. It's ok bringing in the money from Europe but if your trophy cabinet is still bare after 7 years what's the point. Well done Liverpool for putting the desire back into domestic competitions. It would be nice for clubs to start taking these competitions seriously. Why not do away with 2nd, 3rd and 4th enrty to Champions League and give future winners of the League and FA Cups entry. Maybe Ferguson, Wenger and all the league only matters fans might take them seriously then.

  • Comment number 48.

    My personal favourite this year was reading recently Pool fans discussing how AC was starting to link play better...£35m for a guy who after a season and a half is starting to get to grips with passing it to his teams mates.

    Not so much a Moneyball purchase as a recovered Donkey found wandering on Blackpool beach!

  • Comment number 49.

    39.At 09:54 4th May 2012, United wrote:
    'More pace down the wing' isn't going to close that gap bearing in mind everyone else will be strengthening as well
    ______________________________________

    What Liverpool need is a 20m piece of plastic tube with a 50cm diameter.

    Then they can place one end in the goal and then kick the balls into the tube from the other end....that should do the trick :)

  • Comment number 50.

    @Joe 47,

    yeah but if the shoe was on the other foot, would you say the same? i doubt it. I do hate it that United seem to forgo the FA cup though, but realistically in the climate that its is, can you really compete on four(or 5 if you count the WCC or whatever it is now) fronts? somethings got to give

  • Comment number 51.

    38.
    At 09:54 4th May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Learn the art of debate? Since Liverpool were the better team against Cardiff at wembley I reasonably presumed that you were suggesting that winning on penalties at any stage was flukey. Mourinho implied something, similarly ungracious, recently.

    However, thanks to your clarification, I now realise that you were asking a fairly pointless wumming question.

    I will leave it to Mr Blue Burns to correct your rose tinted impression that United were more than deserving winners in 2008. Suffice to say I have not found too many fans, United or otherwise, who don't think that Chelsea were the better team that night.

  • Comment number 52.

    33.At 09:42 4th May 2012, Simon Fletcher wrote:
    Lets be honest about Liverpool's season. The results in the league have been poor but the majority of performances have been very good. Liverpool have consistently dominated possession below par finishing, have often left the field with fewer points than they deserved. However, as I said, the performances are there and if the luck changes next season we can expect them to be 15-20 points higher in the league.

    As for Kenny's signings. Suarez has played well but missed a huge chuck of the season with a unfairly long ban. Carroll has played well, but due to tactical changes not had the time on the pitch to get a run together and score (I've seen enough to believe he can come good). Henderson and Coates both played well in patches but are players for the future. Bellamy has done well and cost nothing. Enrique started the season strongly but faded in recent weeks. Downing has done ok, but is rarely on the pitch it seems at the same time as Carroll to provide him the crosses. Adam and Doni have both been poor and can leave!

    For next season - Some pace needed down the wing (Hoilett or Capel?) and if Adam leaves a better more creative midfielder to replace him. These minor changes and with hopefully better finishing top four is not unrealistic (perhaps the Europa League too)

    ----------------------

    I'd hardly call 8 games a HUGE chunk of the season! He has played 29 games this season in the league and scored 11 goals (3 of the in one game v Norwich). Papiss Cisse on the other hand has played 12 games and scored 13. Suarez is not the goalscoring answer

  • Comment number 53.

    49.At 10:08 4th May 2012, repo wrote:

    What Liverpool need is a 20m piece of plastic tube with a 50cm diameter.

    Then they can place one end in the goal and then kick the balls into the tube from the other end....that should do the trick :)

    ------------------------------------------------------
    Love it! Now were getting a bit of momentum going!

  • Comment number 54.

    I will leave it to Mr Blue Burns to correct your rose tinted impression that United were more than deserving winners in 2008. Suffice to say I have not found too many fans, United or otherwise, who don't think that Chelsea were the better team that night.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Difference is that game featured two of the best teams in Europe. Over 120 minutes in the Carling Cup final, Liverpool couldn't beat a lower league team.

  • Comment number 55.

    51.At 10:11 4th May 2012, DUBLINVIEW wrote:
    I will leave it to Mr Blue Burns to correct your rose tinted impression that United were more than deserving winners in 2008
    __________________________________________

    Wordsofwisdom cant help it , he is delusional by his own admission :)

  • Comment number 56.

    Whatever happens Liverpool will have won more trophies than 17 other premiership clubs this season.

    If they win the FA cup then they will have won more trophies than any other club in the entire football league.

    Guys - ask yourselves, what do you anticipate your club achieving next season?

    Will your club go down in history by successfully landing a legendary fourth place?

    I think the Liverpool fans are actually laughing at just about everyone else ;o)

  • Comment number 57.

    54.
    At 10:18 4th May 2012, United wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That does not make them undeserving winners - not even on the Stretford End :-)

  • Comment number 58.

    53.At 10:12 4th May 2012, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    Love it! Now were getting a bit of momentum going!
    ____________________________________

    I follow Liverpool mate , but you got to have a laugh :)
    This year they have been pants !

    But to put things into perspective I am more worried about my daughters exam revision than how Liverpool finish the season.

  • Comment number 59.

    @18. "We'd like a centre back, another defensive midfielder is essential, a true right winger (Hoilett / Moses) is a must and an explosive midefielder (Sigurdsson) would be excellent. However, the outstanding need is for a goalscorer. Someone who can't help but score (Aldridge, Rush)."
    ________________________________________________

    I thought you made some good points in your comment to be honest, but the names you've mentioned show a real problem in Liverpool's expectations/ambitions.

    Why would you want to buy players from;
    *Blackburn - Hoilett,
    *Wigan - Moses or
    *Swansea - Sigurdson (regardless of his German club)?

    I miss the time when Liverpool were a big continental club. Torres was a world class signing. Mascherano, Luis Garcia, Xavi Alonso, Reina etc. They're the sort of signings Liverpool need, not more average mid-table under-achievers.

    Even as a Gooner I'm hoping Liverpool have a big clear out this summer and reinvest in some top quality. Get some better scouts a la Newcastle and you may even get them under the radar and cheaper. Its a bit embarrassing seeing European youngtsers being targeted by Arsenal, Man City, Utd, Chelsea, Spurs... and Liverpool. Unfortunately, and I mean that, at the minute Liverpool can't be held near those sort of teams. I hope they've not fallen behind long term, but I doubt they have.

    Chelsea to squeeze the final and Dalglish to kick off in the post match press conference.

  • Comment number 60.

    will be a shocking game

    just hope 'the great khali' plays upfront, he is terrible

  • Comment number 61.

    #57
    I didn't say they were undeserved winners, but it doesn't exactly suggest they're going to be doing any better than a cup run and a mid-table finish any time soon.

  • Comment number 62.

    #56
    I don't think anyone is saying that winning the FA Cup is worth it, of course it is. But come the end of the season, if you asked fans of teams that finished in the top 4 would you swap that for the Carling and potentially the FA Cup, I guarantee zero would take up the offer.

  • Comment number 63.

    @56 So you would not trade the FA & Carling cups for CL football?

    Liverpool won't go down as legends for this double and winning these two cups will not attract the players you need to improve.

  • Comment number 64.

    #62
    'Isn't worth it' that should of read.

  • Comment number 65.

    59.At 10:26 4th May 2012, wilshere_wontshere wrote:
    I miss the time when Liverpool were a big continental club. Torres was a world class signing. Mascherano, Luis Garcia, Xavi Alonso, Reina etc. They're the sort of signings Liverpool need, not more average mid-table under-achievers.
    ___________________________________

    I think Liverpool went on a "buy British" spree to try to create a close knit unit , but it did not come off !

    Poor purchases were Adam and Downing !
    I dont mind Henderson he is young and I think he will improve.
    If I remember rightly Carroll was flavour of the month just before he moved , even Àrry put in a 20m bid for him. He has improved of late , but he is still not good enough to lead the line for Liverpool.

  • Comment number 66.

    61.
    At 10:32 4th May 2012, United wrote:


    #57
    I didn't say they were undeserved winners, but it doesn't exactly suggest they're going to be doing any better than a cup run and a mid-table finish any time soon
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No you didn't suggest it but the part of my post that you quoted was in response to somebody who had implied that.

    No it doesn't exactly suggest they're going to be doing any better than a cup run and a mid-table finish any time soon but anybody who saw United struggle past Crystal Palace in the 1990 fa cup final would not have thought they were on the cusp of twenty years of domestic domination. Not suggesting thats going to happen to Liverpool btw :-)

  • Comment number 67.

    @59

    Yeah, maybe Liverpool should focus their ambitions and sign some quality like the 'Young player of the Tournament' at the Copa America, the 'Player of the Tournament at the Copa America, the captain of the England U21's etc. Oh hang on...

    Liverpool certainly do not need a 'clear out', but ought to move some of the older players like Kuyt and Maxi on.

    What they desperately need is Lucas back - his absence upset the balance of the team disproportionately and that is where the league form went all wrong.

  • Comment number 68.

    @65 I don't think it was a by British spree, It's just they can no longer attract the players you stated.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 65. I think you're right. Remember the Liverpool Team that won everything in the 80's with Dalglish was almost completely British. I wonder if he felt that would bring it back?

    I agree as well that Carroll was actually excellent at Newcastle. If I remember rightly though he was injured and hadn't played for a while before he was transferred to Liverpool. Could have been a real lack of confidence coinciding with a new start and huge price tag hanging over his head. Who knows. Maybe next season he'll be epic.

    It is ridiculous as well how much teams have to pay for British players. Absurd. Look at Man City's signings in the early Sheikh years; Lescott £20 odd million for example. There's no wonder European Teams don't come in for British players, not worth it at all. Especially looking at Van der Vaart for £8 million, Pappis Cisse for less than that. Wow.

  • Comment number 70.

    liverpool are right were they should be as of league standings

    they havent played well, apart from occasionally against the TOP teams as liverpool treat these as lower clubs do as massive games for the fans because they are no longer up there with the likes of city united arsenal spurs

    they are now a mid table club, who hope for a good cup run and a trip to wembley for a 'day out'

    i just hope dogleash stays there and keeps them 'improving' :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 71.

    @62

    What a crock of nonsense.

    Arsenal for example have had this mythical coveted CL place for the last seven seasons, yet have won nothing and their best players are all leaving.

    Players want to win stuff.

    The derided Downing, Carrol and Henderson all have cup winning medals framed on their walls.

    What have the Newcastle, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton players got?

    Picture hooks ;o)

  • Comment number 72.

    @69 Carroll wasn't excellent, he made a good start to his first premiership season, as quite a few players do. He was simply a panic buy when they realised Torres was gone.

    Difference with Lescott and Van Der Vaart is that everton didn't want to sell, where as Real were looking to offload. The reason British players cost so much isprobably more to do with clubs not wanting to sell these players I reckon

  • Comment number 73.

    68.At 10:43 4th May 2012, Theres_something_about_joe wrote:
    _________________________________

    You can go shopping in Europe and pick up top quality players for peanuts ( look at Newcastle this season, Cisse was only 8m ).
    The problem has always been how they will adapt to a new culture and a foreign language.

    For example Liverpool could have got Oscar Cardozo as a target man for about 8m at the same time they bought Carroll.
    Cardozo is not too quick, but he has great technique, can hold the ball very well, brilliant in the air, and one of the best strikers of a dead ball in Europe.

  • Comment number 74.

    I suppose the biggest compliment you can give to Liverpool is that even in an awful season (which it has been) where there has been some awful signings (Downing, Carroll and Adam) we are still all Man Utd fans want to talk about.

    You would think that they would be excited enough by their own glorious team. The heroic effort to nearly compete with and beat Basle in the Champions League group stages, the narrow defeat to Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup, the fantastic losing effort against 'the worse Liverpool team ever' in the FA Cup. But there is more.

    A triumphant effort of scoring at home against the 'noisy neighbours' If only they hadn't gotten 6 in reply! An outstanding performance in only narrowly losing to Bilbao (a team that cost roughly the same as Michael Carrick) home and away. Battling on despite losing an 8 point lead at the top of the table.

    But, ignore these silly Liverpool fans with their trophies and cup finals. Second place will give mighty Man Utd another crack at the giants of Basle, and who knows? If Ashley Young has polished off his diving gear, they may just upset the odds and beat them!

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 71 So if you ask a player "would you rather play for the winnersof last years domestic cup competitions" or "would you like to play champions league football" you think theanswer would be the former?

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    At the start of the season, if you were told your club would win both the League and FA Cup, would anyone turn their nose up at this? Honestly I don’t think you could or would, not even United or City fans.

    However the fact that Liverpool have been so woefully poor when it comes to the ‘bread and butter’ that no matter what happen I do not think they can look back at this season and feel it has been successful. After spending the best part of £100 million expectations in the Red half of Merseyside certainly were higher with regards the league than the distinct possibility of not even being the best team on Merseyside, let alone the 8th, 9th or potentially 10th best team in England. It seems these Cup runs have papered over the cracks that have been there at Anfield for the past 3 or 4 years – but let’s be honest, I would much rather it was Moyes leading Everton out at Wembley tomorrow, rather than finishing 7th in the league with no trophy and the gaping holes that continue to show at Goodison…

  • Comment number 78.

    #71
    I didn't mention the players did I, I said fans. The majority of fans would rather their club finished 4th or higher than win either of the domestic cups. Of course you don't get a trophy for 4th but unfortunately for some the prize is bigger. The FA Cup still has it's place but if the Carling Cup was scrapped no one would bat an eyelid.

    The FA Cup is a nice day out but in the case of Liverpool this season, who after spending £120 odd million in the last year or so declared top 4 was this seasons target above everything else, it'll be merely papering over a diabolical league campaign.

  • Comment number 79.

    #74
    And despite all that, are 34 (thirty four!) points ahead of Liverpool in their 'bread and butter' competition.

  • Comment number 80.

    @73 I agree you can get players for less abroad (possibly because of there being less money in those leagues?), but still few players do as well as Cisse and finds like him are still quite rare.

  • Comment number 81.

    @71 dogeared

    Wow, talk about delusional. So those teams have all had terrible seasons when in actual fact Liverpool are the most successful team in Britain!? That's some twisted logic.

    Downing, Carroll and Henderson may have a winners medal but they also have the tag of overpriced failures. If you Carroll could swap this season with Liverpool with being a part of the overachieving Newcastle side, he would jump at the chance. No one goes to Liverpool to win the Carling Cup; they go because they are a massive club who should be capable of challenging for major honours. The FA Cup, assuming they win it which is a big if, will be good but it has come at the expense of one of the most dire showings in the league in recent memory.

  • Comment number 82.

    @75

    I give you the Arsenal example.

    Why are their best players leaving?

    Because entering the CL and getting knocked out turns out to be quite an unfulfilling experience.

    No doubt RVP will also leave in the summer - he's only got a few more years left to actually win something.

  • Comment number 83.

    @77 Of course you wouldn't turn your nose up, but champions league football is now the most important element of mantaining your status as an elite club.

    If you look at Tottenham for example, would Bale and Modric stay if the finsihed 5th, but won both the cups?

  • Comment number 84.

    Well its ridiculous to say that winning 2 cups cant be viewed as a success because Liverpool are 8th in the league, its like finishing fourth and saying its not a success because you didn't do well in the cups, its up to each Liverpool an to decide whether they class that as an overall success and to evaluate the position they're in. Its embarrassing to read pople like Wordsowisdom's comments they are just so anti Liverpool with very little substance.

  • Comment number 85.

    Liverpool fans are used to their league form being rubbish so they can concentrate on the Cup's, it is afterall what they spent years doing under Rafa.

  • Comment number 86.

    why cant we just get of Dalglish's back he has won us 1 cup and got us into another final which hopefully we will win. Question for all you red fans did Shankly win us anythin in his 1st 2 years no did Paisley win us anythin in 1st year no, it takes time to build a team but you red fans moan even when we win cups. Stop moaning and back him and you will see us win the league in the near future.

  • Comment number 87.

    #82
    So Liverpool winning the odd domestic cup has helped them keep all their best players have it? So Torres, Alonso, Mascherano haven't all left and eventually had their boots filled by Carroll, Henderson and Adam?

  • Comment number 88.

    @82 Fabregas left because of Barca who, along with Real, are really the only teams who can attract players from any team in the world. Nasri wanted more money I don't think this had much to do with getting knocked out of the CL.

    Players are probably leaving Arsenal mainly due to wages they can get at other clubs. Liverpool are probably on par in this department and if given a choice a player will pick the champions league over domestic cup winners.

    Liverpool's best players aren't leaving, because there is no real demand for them.

  • Comment number 89.

    You really should cut out the mistakes, Phil. Really poor effort. Don't you proof read?

  • Comment number 90.

    @78

    You know that for a fact do you?

    Interestingly, there was a poll on the Liverpool fans forum which asked in theory, would you prefer a CL place or both domestic cups.

    The result was almost 50/50 but marginally in favour of both cups.

    I just despair when fans say their aspirations are to come 4th and nothing else - what is the point?

  • Comment number 91.

    #84
    But what if Liverpool lose tomorrow? Surely this would have to go down as one of their worst EVER seasons considering the money spent?

  • Comment number 92.

    75.At 10:53 4th May 2012, Theres_something_about_joe wrote:
    if you ask a player "would you rather play for the winnersof last years domestic cup competitions" or "would you like to play champions league football"
    __________________________________

    With all due respect the only reason why players want champions league football is because their pay packets can go through the roof with the bonuses.

    Then they can spend a few more hours in the bookies, buy a new baby bentley , and entertain more WAG´s.

    I think the majority of players could not care less about winning a trophy , just how much they can get paid.

  • Comment number 93.

    Gosh, how is it that Liverpool can win 7-game competitions where the opposition is made up of football league teams and Premiership sides with higher priorities, but find it harder to do well in a 38-game competition where (on average) better quality teams are battling desperately for every point? Thank goodness we have Phil McNulty and Jan Molby to help unravel this mystery for us.

  • Comment number 94.

    Wiltshire Wontshire wrote

    Why would you want to buy players from;
    *Blackburn - Hoilett,
    *Wigan - Moses or
    *Swansea - Sigurdson (regardless of his German club)?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Why indeed buy players from Blackburn (Phil Jones) or Wigan (Antonio Valencia)

  • Comment number 95.

    #90
    But if Liverpool fans had said anything different they'd be admitting this season had been a disaster, who on a fans forum would do that? Every team wants to see their team win trophies, but the prize on offer for regular Champions League qualification is (rightly or wrongly) bigger than winning a domestic cup i.e more finances to strengthen the squad in the long term.

  • Comment number 96.

    "I think the majority of players could not care less about winning a trophy , just how much they can get paid."

    Joking aside, Sadly I think this statement sums up pretty much everything that is wrong with the modern game (along with blatant cheating)

  • Comment number 97.

    I think Liverpool need to be realistic. Yes they've had a poor league campaign, but they are in Europe next season, and that's the main thing. Nobody can expect Champions League football every year any more. Nobody.

    If Manchester United don't improve their squad next season, even they might find themselves missing out; City have the spending power to expect it, but then again, so do Chelsea, and they haven't achieved a good enough league position this year; without their strong finish to the season, Arsenal might not have made it either.

    There's 6 clubs scrapping for 4 places this season, and if Liverpool improve it could be 7. Then there's the possibility of another mid-table club having an unexpected surge in form, which could make 8. Champions League qualification is getting very tough.

    I'd compare Liverpool's current state with Arsenal's and Chelsea's in the 90s. They won the Cup, won the Cup Winners Cup the next year, then went on to challenge for the league having built on that. Liverpool need to prioritise the Europa League next season. It's a competition they can win (the league probably isn't), and it could be the launchpad for greater things in the next few years. But one step at a time!

  • Comment number 98.

    If Liverpool win the FA Cup it will rescue the season from being disastrous. But the Cup won't make it a good season – they have fallen tragically short in the league. Selling Carroll and Henderson has improved their former clubs whilst Liverpool have gone backwards with their contributions.

    Dalglish looks as though he is implementing someone else's patterns of play - the whole lacks cohesion, ownership and direction.

  • Comment number 99.

    @94 that's a fair point. But Man Utd have also been buying quality and expensive players from across the world to supplement those signings. Liverpool have not done that this year.

  • Comment number 100.

    If Liverpool are as poor as everyone seems to think:
    How did they knock United out of the FA cup?
    How did they knock City out of the Carling cup?
    Only a complete and utter moron can believe that those two teams chose to lose those ties due to lack of interest.
    Still, if Chelsea believe Liverpool are not worth respect, so much the better. Hold back the big names for the Champions League final and play a second team. I don't care if everyone is on here next week saying Chelsea "gifted" us the cup. The cup will still be in the trophy cabinet.

 

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