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Liverpool v Villa | Taking Advantage to Stop the slide

Clarke & Dalglish: Must translate frustration into cohesion and goals

Liverpool never seem to make it easy for their fans. It certainly doesn’t need me to remind anyone of the times hearts have been in mouths, followed by expletives, followed by delighted cheers. West Ham cup final, Olympiakos, penalty shootouts to win cups whether European or domestic. But all the ones I’ve mentioned have a happy ending. Where we are now is an entirely different place.

Liverpool, fans must’ve been expecting a post Bolton defeat type backlash to come from the men in Red.  The post match interview on 21st January when we had suffered the humiliation of being beaten 3 -1 by Bolton Wanderers was what we all wanted to hear.  A Manager who feels the same outrage the fans feel, someone who knows what it means to wear a red shirt with pride and knows what is good enough,,,and above all what is not.

 “If that’s the level they expect this football club to play at, they won’t be here long. The most disappointing thing for me was I don’t think they were ready to play the game.”

Kenny Dalglish following 3-1 away defeat to Bolton

Following this we turned in battling, winning performances, securing a 2 all draw to knock Manchester City out of one cup and Dirk Kuyt putting the final nail in a 2-1 defeat of Manchester United, to knock them out of another.

But after the Newcastle defeat, Kenny’s comments, if anything, seemed to suggest that the frustration that is getting to the Liverpool fans is now acknowledged as being translated to the pitch

“The boys have shown a wee bit of frustration and disappointment because of results,”

“It’s all very well and good having frustration and disappointment, but we have to manage that and make sure we channel it in a proper way.”

Kenny Dalglish following 2-0 away defeat to Newcastle

The frustration being mentioned was clear on the pitch. Andy Carroll storming off down the tunnel. Pepe rising to the niggling bait of Perch tripping him, only to have the Newcastle player go down like the hidden gunman in the crowd had taken him out. Embarrassing. At least Pepe’s reaction was honest. But also other frustrations showed themselves. The YouTube video of Jonjo Shelvey cajoling the flatfooted Carroll into the box having been forced try an effort himself having broken into the box, showed the right kinds of frustration. I think Shelvey earned his place in the starting line up against Villa, showing maturity and penetration whilst keeping the slightly cocky edge he had prior to his loan spell at Blackpool. And his goal return at Blackpool of 6 goals in 10 games could do with the chance of translating into premier league games. He is not shy of shooting and provides a physical presence in midfield. He won his only aerial possession duel in the air and won 83% of those on the ground. That compares to our most combative midfielder Jay Spearing who completed a higher percentage of passes at an impressive 86% but a lesser ground duel win at 77.8%.

Shelvey v Newcastle United

So Anfield hosts Aston Villa next. Villa themselves have had a fair few ups and downs. Whilst Liverpool endured the rank mismanagement, deception and soul-destroying tenure of Hicks and Gillette, it was with a degree of envy that we looked towards Villa Park and how it might have been. Randy Lerner came in and seemed to be steering the ship in very much the right direction. Whilst I would have still taken Rafa Benitez over Martin O Neill, Lerner seemed to have taken the helm in the right way, providing funds and very much allowing the manager to manage. But as things have changed for the better at Liverpool with new Americans taking the helm and ousting the cuckoos kicking and lawsuiting out of their Anfield nest, so Lerner’s outlook has changed. O’Neill left 5 days before the start of the 2010/11 season reportedly angry about being forced to lose Gareth Barry and James Milner to wealthy Manchester city in very quick succession. In came Gerard Houllier.

An Anfield Legend but I suspect an appointment that Villa would rather forget. Liverpool fans smiled at his greeting the Kop and touching the “This is Anfield sign” as they arrived to suffer a 3 nil defeat. An apology was called for following the Frenchman stating if he was going to lose 3 nil he would rather it be to the reds. Heart problems drew Gerard’s reign to a close at Villa Park. His management was not missed by many Villans. Then again better the devil you know may have been the cry soon enough. Ashley Young’s departure was followed by that of our own Stewart Downing 12 months later. In the meantime Villa had to further suffer the ignominy of an ex Birmingham City Manager taking over at Villa Park. Imagine how the Anfield faithful might greet a certain Mr Moyes and you might appreciate the sense of injustice felt. Current league form sees Villa 7 places and 9 points behind the reds in the league. However over the last 10 games Liverpool have managed just 7 points to Villas 10.

Next Page: More Liverpool and Aston Villa comparisons, including league form & performance stats.

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