This Is Not Anfield, This Is Not Liverpool

Mustafa OzalcinContributor IIJanuary 21, 2012

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05:  Kenny Dalglish, manager of Liverpool looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage on December 5, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

It's very rare that one can be so presumptuous as to claim to speak for "everyone."  Tonight I think I can say with a high degree of certainty that each and every Liverpool fan will be asking, "What is going on at our club?"

Each and every Liverpool fan will be trying to find reasons for—and solutions to—the dire displays we have been witnessing over the last few weeks and months.

It would be all too simplistic to say that Liverpool do not have the God-given right to beat Bolton (or Wigan or Stoke at home, Blackburn at home, Swansea at home, Norwich at home)...

We may not have the God-given right to beat these teams, but we expect it.  And we expect the players who wear the Liverpool colours and walk out on the pitch, to achieve it every single time.  

A high level of achievement can only take place in the framework of high expectations.

So what is going wrong? 

My wholehearted belief is that there is a confusion of "roles," so to speak, at the team level.  While the players should be achieving, they are not.  They expect it.  And herein lies the problem.

Just this week, Andy Carroll, one of the biggest underachievers, was quoted in several newspapers, talking about how he hoped that the return of Steven Gerrard would help him score goals.  (So, no Steven Gerrard, and we can forget about Carroll.)

Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson have all been on the back pages (in some cases several times) this season, talking about how good the team is going to be. 

I have said this in a previous article—apart from the team captain, the only players that should have the right to speak to the media and see their name on the back pages is those that have earned it. 

So that should mean no one.  The players need to concentrate on playing and winning.

Another possible excuse for today's result that's being thrown around, is that the players had their mind on the two Cup ties next week.

This could be the case, but one would assume that the players, like the supporters, would have had one eye on the Fulham vs. Newcastle game this afternoon.  They would have known that with the right result (as was the case)—and with Arsenal playing Manchester United on Sunday—they could have cemented fifth place for the week. 

Knowing this, was it a case of stage fright, perhaps?

The fact of the matter is, certain players have failed to live up to the club's expectations all season.  With the exception of Jose Enrique, the new signings have been the biggest culprits.  There's no point in sugarcoating it.

Kenny Dalglish must also shoulder a sizable portion of the blame.  Not for his on-field tactics, but for commending and talking up these underachievers in the press.

Again, only yesterday Dalglish was saying how Stewart Downing was performing better than he expected!

This about a player with no league goals or assists to his name.  If I was Stewart Downing, I wouldn't know whether to feel happy or insulted.  The way Downing has been playing, he's obviously happy with the compliments.

Kenny Dalglish must stop with the cotton wool treatment of the players in the media.  If there is nothing good to say, he should be saying nothing.

Reading the comments on Facebook pages and tweets from supporters around the world, there are all kinds of comments about signing every player under the sun.  People are also suggesting getting rid of Kenny Dalglish (which is ridiculous).

Despite the unacceptable displays and results, we are lucky to still be in a very good position to make up the deficit over the next few weeks.

If there are two outstanding results in our next two games, we will have the spark.  Whether it will be enough to set our season alight, we shall see.  We expect it.