As Kenny Dalglish faced the Match of the Day cameras on Saturday night, it was clear that something was bothering him. His side have won just nine of their 22 games in the league this season and Dalglish seemed to be running out of patience for his side to string together a run of results.
Just three times have Liverpool won twice in a row in the league this season, with seven home draws. They are six points and three places off a top four finish and lie behind Newcastle United who have spent significantly less money than them over the past year.
Dalglish has spent over £114million on nine players since he returned as manager just over a year ago – seven players if you discount free transfers Craig Bellamy and goalkeeper Cristiano Doni. And few of them have performed.
Yet his job is not under threat. With all the money spent, if Liverpool do not achieve a top four finish this season – particularly with the weaknesses and struggles of Arsenal and Chelsea – the Liverpool hierarchy may have to seriously consider his position.
Arsene Wenger has spent significantly less at Arsenal yet his team remain higher in the Premier League and whether he should be sacked has been a topic of debate, not least in Forge Press.
Recent success in the Cup competitions may provide a little respite from the Merseysiders’ poor league form. They are favourites to win the Carling Cup, with a 1-0 advantage over Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City in the semi-final going into the second leg at Anfield this week. Meanwhile a win against Manchester United in what is sure to be a feisty FA Cup tie on Saturday would raise spirits.
But the league is where Liverpool have underperformed for years, apart from their second place finish in 2009. Manchester United have overtaken their record of 18 league titles and, though their great rivals from down the East Lancs Road may not add to their tally of 19 this season, it appears that they will do sooner than Liverpool reach 19.
It is the league where the fans would dearly like to improve. It also looks increasingly unlikely that they will break in to the top four to add to their tally of being five times European Champions. Good cup runs do not solve poor league form, as Birmingham City found out last season.
I am not saying Dalglish should be sacked. Not yet anyway. But the stats show that little at Liverpool is improving and his regal title of ‘King Kenny’ should not make him immune from the criticism which the likes of Wenger have had to put up with.