Posted by: Pete Robertson | January 28, 2012

Liverpool Relying on Cup Success to Hide a Failed Season

It’s been a good week to be a Liverpool fan. In back to back Anfield encounters the Reds have first swept aside Manchester City to reach the Carling Cup final, before beating long-term rivals Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

But their league form doesn’t match up to their superb form in the domestic cups. With 7 draws at home from just 11 games, and 5 losses from 11 away from Anfield, the Reds have found themselves down in 7th place in the Premier League, with little hope of any title challenge from the Merseyside club this season.

In fact, their league form under Kenny Dalglish, who’s been in the job a little over a year now, has only been a slight improvement of that under his predecessor Roy Hodgson – surely the fans would have wanted more by now.

£35million striker Andy Carroll hasn't had the best start to his Liverpool career

Their league form looks especially poor when you consider the huge transfer fees they have been paying for players under Dalglish’s reign. Most notable of the lot is the £35 million they paid to Newcastle for Andy Carroll, but they have paid £23 million for Luis Suarez, £20 million each for Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing, and £5 million for Charlie Adam. With all this investment and money spent on the squad, the fans would expect more than 4 wins from 11 at Anfield in the Premier League.

Their form hasn’t improved in the new year either. In January this year their league form has included a 3-0 loss at Manchester City, a 0-0 home draw against Stoke, and a 3-1 trashing at the hands of Bolton. One league goal in a month is no way to survive in, let alone challenge for the Premier League, especially with a £35 million striker leading the line.

The fans that fill The Kop every week might not mind as much if the home draws were against the top sides in the league, but, and I mean no discredit to the teams who have held them to draws, they simply haven’t been. Draws to Stoke, Blackburn, Swansea, Norwich and Sunderland are all games which the Reds would have had to have won if they were to mount any serious challenge on a Champions League spot, or even the title. 10 dropped points.

But despite their below par showing in the Premier League, ‘King’ Kenny has transformed Liverpool into something of a cup specialist side. With no European football this season, the fans turned their Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City into something resembling a Champions League night at Anfield, with choruses of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” roaring around the stadium.

And it seemed to work too. While it was yet another draw at home, Steven Gerrard’s penalty in the first leg ensured passage though to the final on aggregate. The final against Cardiff City will be the first trip to the new Wembley for Liverpool,  and Craig Bellamy will be looking to score the winner against the team he played for on loan last season, just as he scored the winner against his previous employers in the semi-final.

Dirk Kuyt blasts home the winner against Manchester United in the FA Cup

Following this with a home win thanks to Dirk Kuyt’s late strike in the FA Cup over Manchester United, and Liverpool are suddenly looking to do the double, and secure European football next season along the way.

The only question is, will the Liverpool fans accept this, or will they see this season as it has truly been?

How do you think Liverpool’s season is going? What would you have expected from the new signings? Do you think Liverpool will win any trophies this season? Please leave your thoughts below…

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