As Liverpool prepare to face Blackburn in the FA Cup this evening, their season hangs in the balance. Following their humbling defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal, their hopes of a top four finish are all but over.
Following on from Liverpool coming perilously close to winning their first title in over twenty years, they seem to have taken a huge backwards step this season. But will an FA Cup win be enough to save their season?
Brendan Rodgers is now coming to the end of his third campaign as the man in charge at Anfield and for all of his heroics last year he is still without a trophy. Liverpool is a club that demands silverware, one that demands success. The question that those in The Kop will be asking is whether an FA Cup triumph, is more important than a return to Europe’s elite competition?
Looking back at Liverpool’s previous manager, Kenny Dalglish, he managed to guide his side to a League Cup triumph and an FA Cup final, but his failure to qualify for the Champions League meant his tenure was cut short.
But Rodgers is undoubtedly in a different position to his predecessor, and there is the feeling that the Northern Irishman could build a dynasty on Merseyside, may be one to rival the great empire built at Old Trafford.
[ffc-gal cat=”liverpool” no=”5″]
In that respect, a cup win could be a bigger moment for the manager. He will have something to show for his reign, he may feel a huge monkey will be lifted off his back.
On the other hand, this campaign in Europe has proved just how far away this Liverpool team is from not only the elite teams on the continent, but the so called ‘lesser’ sides in Europe. Another year outside of the competition will mean they cannot attract the sort of calibre of player to bridge that gap.
Liverpool’s history is littered with trophies and tales of the past. Not only of those great European nights, but the years of domestic glory. This generation of fans have not had the same sort of success as previous ones have enjoyed.
The lure of Champions League football, and the way that the game is now sold, is that European football best’s all. But will the fans on The Kop reminisce of the magical day where they clinch 4th spot in years to come? Confirming their entry in a competition, which at this point, their team is not ready for? Or will they wish to look back on a day at Wembley, lifting the most prestigious cup competition the domestic game has to offer?
To the pragmatist, missing out on a top four place could leave Liverpool further away from where they want to be. But the purist, the romantic, still loves a cup win.
For the development of both players and coach, a walk up the Wembley steps may prove to be more beneficial to the development of this young team and manager.