I was fortunate enough to be at Wembley on Sunday to see Liverpool win their first trophy in six seasons. In doing so, they shook a monkey off their backs that has been weighing them down since Steven Gerrard single-handedly foiled West Ham’s efforts to win the 2006 FA Cup.
Granted, its not the 22 year old burden of wanting another league championship that all Kopites yearn to shed, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Isn’t it? Depending on who you ask, perhaps not. It isn’t that any Liverpool fan is disappointed that the club won, but rather that quite a few would gladly trade it in if it meant that 4th place could be secured.
Whilst I can understand the logic due to the financial benefits of Champions League football, I personally think that the trophy win will give the whole squad a lift, meaning that 4th place is still within reach for this season. I also think that it was an invaluable boost for everyone involved with the club:
- The owners – they have delivered a trophy, and European football within 18 months of taking over.
- The manager – Kenny Dalglish has become the first ever Liverpool manager to have brought all three domestic trophies to Anfield, and joins Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho in delivering the triple-crown at one club
- The players – the vast majority of the club’s players have very few medals. Dirk Kuyt, as an example, has played in a World Cup and Champions League final, yet only had one Dutch cup winners medal to show for his career. A lot of the younger players, such as Henderson and Carroll, now have their first major trophy medal, and you can bet they will be hungry for more.
- The fans – having had to stomach their beloved Reds nearly go into administration, lose several of their best players and spend time in the relegation zone all within the last two seasons, it is great to finally have something to cheer about, however minor it may be in the wider context of the Premier and Champions Leagues.
As for the match itself, it was similar to so many of Liverpool’s games this season (with the possible exception of Stewart Downing winning the man-of-the-match award, as I doubt that has happened previously). The Reds failed to beat a side who weren’t better than them, they were just more clinical when the chances presented themself.
Across the two hours they had a whopping 37 shots, with 17 of them being on target. Compare that with Cardiff, who put just five on target from their nine shots. The Reds’ shots on target ratio of 46% was no disaster (to give that some context, Manchester United lead the way in the Premier League on this, with a figure of 50%), but to only score two goals from all those shots continues the disappointing trend of profligacy seen for so much of this season.
It was similar with the players’ performances; Henderson was anonymous on the right, Adam went from the sublime to the ridiculous, and Skrtel continued his charge towards the player of the season award.
So in that sense, very little was learned about this current Liverpool team on Sunday. Let’s hope the confidence boost they should surely take from this trophy win inspires them to move up a notch in their pursuit of Champions League football.
Whether they manage to or not, I think it’s safe to say that they care about the Carling Cup, and I for one certainly do too.
I think Pepe is under there somewhere! Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.