Liverpool can’t seem to keep themselves out of the headlines at the moment. Struggling in the league, ownership debates, managerial changes and now King Kenny Dalglish is back in charge after almost 20 years.
The FA Cup provided the Merseyside club with their only real chance left at winning some silverware and rescuing this disastrous season. A trip to Old Trafford is never easy at the best of times, but after Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat, what did we learn from the result?
1. It’s not all Roy’s fault
Admittedly, it wasn’t surprising to see that Roy Hodgson was finally shown the door. After a short six-month spell in charge, his Liverpool side have failed to deliver on pretty much all fronts. However whilst watching them attempt to get one over on the old enemy, it became painfully clear that the squad is just not good enough. Hodgson inherited a very poor team from Rafael Benitez and then continued to add mediocrity to the ranks. Although he did very little to improve the situation, the damage was done long before the former Fulham boss took charge.
2. Dalglish must be given money and time
There is no denying Liverpool are a club in transition. The team needs tearing apart and starting again, but that can only happen in time. The defence must be a priority for Kenny. Paul Konchesky and Sotirios Kyrgiakos to name just two aren’t good enough whilst Jamie Carragher isn’t getting any younger. Questions must be asked also about the future of the likes of Ryan Babel, David Ngog and Maxi Rodriguez. None of these shout out trophy winning players. It’s time for everyone associated with the club to accept that change is needed, but it will take time.
3. It’s time for Fernando Torres to go
As good as he is, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Torres is becoming disillusioned with life at Anfield. Not only does he show frustration at the club’s inability to challenge at the top, but his body language suggests he is unwilling to do much about it himself. Torres is in danger of going stale, which would be a shame for a player who two years ago showed signs of becoming one of the greatest strikers in the game.
4. Dalglish must make sure Gerrard and Reina are staying for the fight
Although it may be time for Torres to move on, Kenny Dalglish must keep hold of Liverpool’s other prize assets. Until he was sent off, anything positive the away side produced came through their talismanic captain. I fail to see how Liverpool would create anything without him. Likewise, Pepe Reina provides the type of assurances in goal that all defenders love to have and need. His distribution is second to none and can turn defence into attack in seconds. Both players are world-class, but the longer the club wallow in mid-table, the temptation to leave must continue to grow.
5. Jonjo Shelvey could be a star in the making
One positive the club can take from the game is that of youngster Jonjo Shelvey. He replaced the disappointing and ineffective Raul Meireles after an hour and once again showed he does have the quality to cement a place in Liverpool’s midfield. The 19-year-old can go from strength to strength with Gerrard as his mentor and epitomises the type of players Dalglish needs to bring through if Liverpool are to once again return to challenge for major honours.