Thursday, November 10, 2011

Editorial | DT: Red alert for Liverpool |

Editorial | DT: Red alert for Liverpool |

They need to enjoy the game

Football is meant to be fun and enjoyable. And when a player - or in this case a team - enjoy playing the game, they will usually excel at it. An example would be Lionel Messi and Barcelona.

That is the secret to the Catalan giants' success on the pitch. They play, not work. Liverpool on the other hand are doing the opposite thanks to the pressure of expectations of the Anfield crowd.

Kenny Dalglish and his charges need to get back to basics - playing and enjoying football. Those who have watched Liverpool play recently will agree with Daniel Agger that they look like "headless chickens running around".

The Reds' performances have not been free-flowing - in fact they look like they will struggle against the poorest of teams, who have nothing to lose. Dalglish's men are holding on to the ball when they shouldn't and passing it when they should really take the opponents on - all in the fear of committing a mistake.

The Reds need to relax and be confident of their ability. The goals and results will follow.

Dalglish the right man?

Yes, it's too early to judge. But a feeling that King Kenny has done what he could, which is to lift the club's atmosphere and spirit, is starting to creep in. Will he be able to lift trophies at Anfield - or even lead them to Champions League this season? To be honest, the signs don't look so good.

From the day of his appointment, I've always believed that it was one out of pure emotion than rational thinking. While Dalgish's record speaks for itself and he has done an impressive job so far in his second stint, his approach and ruthlessness or lack thereof, are major flaws.

The former Reds legend is known for his fierce protection of players in public. So it makes me wonder how he conducts his half-time team talks, especially when his side need a real wake-up call.

The goalless draw against Swansea at Anfield last weekend was disappointing and almost agonizing for the fans to watch. One would have expected Dalglish to fire his charges up in the second-half. But it didn't happen.

I hate to make comparisons - but I'm sure Sir Alex Ferguson would have demanded an improvement and a result from his Manchester United side - which he usually gets.

It may sound harsh, but on current evidence one can't help but feel that Dalglish is a glorified babysitter at Anfield.

Just not good enough

Charlie Adam from Blackpool; Jordan Henderson from Sunderland; Stewart Downing from Aston Villa; Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique from Newcastle. Spot the similarities in Liverpool's summer signings? They are mostly from mid-table clubs.

No doubt the above-mentioned players are good footballers. But are they world class?

Besides Enrique and Suarez the rest of the other signings simply don't look like they belong at a club like Liverpool. Adam has been average, Henderson has largely been absent, Downing has blown hot and cold and Carroll looks more £3.5million than £35million.

Having said that, it would be unfair to judge them so early in the season. After all, the likes of Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker, who were both thought to be not good enough for Arsenal initially, now seem to be settling in well for the Gunners now.

Wanted: Goal poacher

Luis Suarez has been a revelation at Anfield, creating a constant supply of opportunities for Liverpool. However, his problem lies in converting the chances. In 11 Premier League appearances thus far, the former Ajax man has scored only four goals. That's not enough by any yardstick.

Let's face it - the Uruguayan is more of a creator than a lethal finisher. Carroll was supposed to be the man at the end of the chances. But he is struggling to even get into the starting line-up. The truth is the Reds should have been right up there with the likes of United and Manchester City if they'd had someone to take the plethora of chances that have fallen their way.

Dalglish needs to bring in an out-to-out goal poacher who can get the tap-ins and score some ugly goals. Robin van Persie is the perfect example and it's his ability to be ruthless in front of goal that has seen Arsenal rocket up the table after a horrific start.

Liverpool need a striker in a similar mould.

A top-four finish still looks a feasible target for Dalglish's men. However, their only enemies are themselves if they continue dropping points against teams they are expected to beat - especially at home.

But the sad truth is, Anfield is no longer the fortress it once was.

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