Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish breathed a huge sigh of relief last night after a crazy night in Blackburn which saw the reds squander a two goal lead before under fire signing Andy Carroll dived to head an injury time winner for ten man Liverpool.
Worst Run Since 1953
All the talk pre match was of Liverpool’s recent record. Six defeats from the last seven Premiership games have seen Merseyside Messiah Dalglish come under fire from some ex Anfield stars and indeed it was Liverpool’s worst run of results since 1953 so the thought of having to face a Blackburn side fighting for their Premiership lives can’t have filled them with joy.
A two nil defeat at the hands of Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena was still fresh in the mind. A truly bad day at the office for Liverpool which saw goalkeeper Pepe Reina sent off for violent conduct and £35 Million Pound signing storming straight down the tunnel after being substituted
Dalglish revealed that the matter was over as far as he was concerned saying “Both were frustrated but that was dealt with on Sunday. Anything that had to be done was done there and then on Sunday so it doesn’t fester for anyone.”
A big part off the modern game is how the manager deals with highly paid and difficult players you only have to look at Manchester City and see the problems Roberto Mancini has been having with Mario Balotelli!
In the modern era one player’s behaviour can have a devastating effect on team morale and the modern manager must be able to cope with highly paid players who have temperaments as large as their wage packets!
We must stick together
Dalglish pointed out that as far as he was concerned the matter was over and urged the fans to stay behind the club. “Everyone is disappointed with the results and understands it’s much more enjoyable when you win games.” He said.
One thing you can never accuse Liverpool fans off is lack of loyalty and they must be the best in the league when it comes to staying with their team when the chips are down. At kick off time yesterday the away end at Blackburn was packed with Liverpool fans hoping for a change of fortune.
They were also fully well aware that a win would take them above Merseyside neighbours Everton.
Thing started swimmingly as they raced into a two goal lead thanks to a double from Maxi Rodriguez and it looks as if it was going to be a comfortable night!
That feeling disappeared soon after when keeper Alexander Doni was sent off for hauling down Junior Hollett and though sub Brad Joes saved Yakubu’s penalty he grabbed a double with goals on 36 and 61 mins. to bring Blackburn right back into it and it was anyone’s game going into the last quarter.
He who laughs last
With the game finely poised at 2-2 the Blackburn fans sensed their team could take advantage of ten man Liverpool’s fragile nerves and as they surged forward sub keeper Brad Jones was lucky not to be the second Liverpool keeper sent off on the night after he brought down that man Yakubu.
Liverpool showed admirable spirit at this stage as they weathered the Blackburn storm with ten men.
They stared to carve out a few chances themselves and Craig Bellemy was causing the Blackburn defence all sorts of problems with his unselfish running and came close twice.
After a crazy night it was fitting that the much maligned Andy Carroll got the winner for Liverpool in injury time diving to head in stoppage time.
A dramatic end to a dramatic night.
Blackburn was devastated as a point would have seen them climb out of the bottom three.
It’s never good when your at the bottom of the league and every point is a prisoner having a least one point snatched away at the death.
Gutted Rover’s boss Steve Kean felt they should have been awarded a foul before Liverpool’s late winner claiming that Grant Hanley had been fouled by Martin Skirtel in the build up to the goal.
“That’s tough because it’s cost us a point and two places up the league”. He said. after the game.
Liverpool boss Dalglish was obviously delighted with the win and saying “to get a man sent off and come away from here with a victory speaks great credit for them.”
It certainly was a much needed boost for the Liverpool fans who cheered their team off as if they had won the league but I would suggest it was more out of relief than anything else.
Big test to come
The result gives Dalglish and his men some breathing space as they prepare for their big F.A cup showdown with Merseyside rivals Everton next week.
Dalglish is often berated by the media for his monotone dry style when he is being interviewed and he’s had to face up to a lot of people queuing up this week to have a pop at him.
In fairness he hasn’t hidden or dodged the questions he was being asked over the disastrous recent run and he is well respected by players as he clearly believes in protecting them from the media and takes a lot of the flack himself.
Whether he is still in the anfield hot seat next season remains to be seen.
It’s true that Liverpool already have the League Cup in the bag and face Everton in the semi- final of the F.A Cup so could end up the season with two trophies.
But this is Liverpool we’re talking about and their supporters demand that a team with their traditions should be challenging for the league title and even the prospect of a cup double is unlikely to appease them.
Dalglish by his own admission has been given a lot of money to spend and whether the board consider that he has spent that wisely remains to be seen.
Paul Grassick is from Leith Edinburgh and studied Journalism at Napier University. Has recently returned to Scotland after five years in London as lead singer with Edinburgh band The Artisan Clock. Works for Whimsical Records in Edinburgh managing bands and seeking out new talent. In his spare time he likes to read, write, play golf occasionaly and is tainted by a life long love affair with Hibernian Football Club.
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