Sunday, 8 April 2012

Kenny Dalglish's Paranoia Claim Fails to Hide the True Depth of the Troubles at Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish
It's hard to listen to Kenny Dalglish and keep a straight face these days.

Crafty Kenny has spent the season glossing over the kind of second rate showings that got his predecessor Roy Hodgson the sack.

And his latest attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of doting Liverpool fans was bordering on the farcical.

He claimed the decisions which went against his side in this draw would make right minded people paranoid.

``Some people may feel paranoia and they will think there is an agenda against this football club,'' he opined. ``We don't see it that way but I suppose other people will do.''

Oh, come on Kenny. Pull the other one.

We all know the only person in Anfield believing the whole world is against him is a grumpy Scot.

Dalglish was in his element here pointing accusing fingers at officials. Aiming barbs at referee Michael Oliver for not giving three penalties and booking Luis Suarez for diving.

The truth is, the reason the Reds failed to add to their five home wins was down to his players flopping once again.

Liverpool fell behind to a Chris Herd goal in the tenth minute and took the rest of the game trying to figure out a way of opening up Villa's patched up side.

They were hampered by a lack of luck, hitting the woodwork four times, and their own ineptness when Dirk Kuyt missed from two yards out.

But they were not hampered by a ref with an anti-Liverpool bias as Dalglish insisted.

Once again his side struggled to defeat an outfit that Reds teams of old would have tossed aside.

Three defeats and now a draw is hardly the kind of form which suggests King Kenny is capable of turning the mess that is Liverpool around.

The Scot is living on reputation rather than results.

This is Liverpool's worst run in 59 years. They are now 15 points behind fourth and 15 points above the drop zone, a rather pathetic return for the huge investment his owners have indulged him with.

Liverpool were behind when stand-in keeper Doni made his only mistake of the game. He failed to get a glove on Stephen Warnock's cross, Barry Bannan gathered the ball and squared it for Herd to sweep home.

The home side were rocked. They had already suffered a set-back when Kuyt's shot was pushed onto the post by Shay Given.

The Dutchman then contrived to serve up the miss of the season, hooking his effort over from two yards after a Steven Gerrard cross-shot fell to him.

Villa were living dangerously. Suarez's cross hit Herd's arm and the striker tumbled in the box when his trailing leg caught Alan Hutton's calf.

Neither incident convinced Michael Oliver to award a penalty. You could feel Dalglish's anger simmering.

At least his team were suddenly on the front foot. They laboured for much of the first half but finally realised the visitors were there for the taking.

Suarez aimed his header from Gerrard's pinpoint cross against the post, with Given producing miracles to glove away the rebound.

The Uruguayan was at the centre of more controversy when he tumbled under Stephen Ireland's challenge. Referee Oliver booked him. Dalglish moaned the decision was ``a joke''.

He added: ``The guy has trod on him. You know the headlines will be about him being booked for diving and the lad trod on him. He is lucky he didn't break his foot.''

At least now he was breaking a sweat. Craig Bellamy, roused from the bench, drilled a volley goalwards that smacked the outside of the post.

The goal was coming. Villa finally capitulated eight minutes from time, just as the finishing line was coming into view.

Gerrard delivered another teasing cross and Agger, on as a sub at left-back, charged in to win a far post header.

The ball ricocheted off the bar and dropped for Suarez to nod over the line. Defeat was avoided, now a victory could be gained.

But for all their pressure, there was only one more chance though. The ball dropped to Gerrard and he eyed the chance to net the winner with wide eyed anticipation.

His power packed volley swerved through the air and troubled Given. The Irish keeper dived but needed to readjust his hands and punch away the effort.

Villa celebrated a point that edges them closer to safety. Dalglish was left grumbling about conspiracies. 

The rest of the football world turned their gaze back to the title race. When Dalglish was last in charge that was where Liverpool would be. Those days seem a lifetime ago and with the Scot in charge it will be a lifetime until they return.

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