Liverpool FC: 5 Things Kenny Dalglish and the Reds Learned from Beating WBA
Liverpool FC's 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthrorns this weekend was the first win for Kenny Dalglish as a manager against Roy Hodgson.
Coming off an extremely disappointing point against Norwich in their last League outing, the Reds needed to re-establish themselves as contenders for the Champions League places this season, and this they did with plenty left in the tank.
Liverpool played with purpose and drive against the Baggies and, at times, the football they played was very easy on the eye, and the principles of the Liverpool style of playing were evident for all to see.
Coming away from this well deserved win and three points, here are five things that Dalglish and Liverpool have learnt from this result.
1. There Could Be Life Without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher
The Liverpool team sheet was something of an oddity for a Premier League game in that it is not often that the Reds find themselves walking out for a match with neither their captain, Steven Gerrard, or vice-captain, Jamie Carragher, in the starting line up.
There will of course come a time, and it is not that far away, where this occurrence may start to become more and more regular.
As they begin to become the elder statesmen of the team, injuries, fitness and competition for places will see their grips on their starting places begin to loosen.
But Kenny Dalglish always maintains that no one player or players are bigger than the club.
If the rest of the team react in the manner that they did against WBA, then the detrimental impact of not having their most influential players on the pitch will be dampened.
Others will need to step up, the likes of Lucas, Charlie Adam, Pepe Reina and Glen Johnson will need to begin to take charge.
However, it is no surprise that the headlines are not of Liverpool not having Gerrard and Carragher available, but of a little Uruguayan maestro that has taken the club by storm.
Luis Suarez is currently hogging all the limelight at Anfield—and rightfully so, too. But, it is the overall team performance, and in particular Dalglish's preparation of the team, that must be given full credit.
Liverpool may not like it, but life without Gerrard and Carragher, if not desirable, is possible.
2. Carroll & Suarez Shows Signs of Working
Another unfamiliar sight this season was to see Liverpool's ultra expensive striker partnership of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez start a game together.
With few opportunities in the past to play together, the partnership has not clicked into top gear as of yet.
Also, Luis Suarez has been such a sensation, that Carroll has not had a chance to shine. But, it is all about the team.
However, in the win against WBA, Carroll and Suarez seemed to be beginning to forge a partnership. Certainly, Carroll's goal was well taken and the assist was from Suarez who provided a wonderful one-touch layoff from a sweet pass from Lucas.
But a partnership, by its inherent nature, is a two-way street, and it was good to see Carroll providing for Suarez on occasions too; little flicks, touches and lay offs were a welcome sight.
For the two of them to cement themselves as a deadly duo, then time together on the pitch is vital, and if they keep working well together, as they did at the weekend, then they will get plenty more chances to show that the partnership can work.
3. Kenny Dalglish Has a Postive Approach to the Game
Kenny Dalglish's approach to the game is refreshingly positive.
Despite being a big fan of ex-manager Rafa Benitez, the Spaniard could never been labelled as being overly positive in his approach to and during the game.
Rafa always spoke about being careful not to get caught in the emotion of the game and playing the game with your mind and not your heart. There is something to be said for this approach, but Dalglish is not of the school of thought.
The Scot is passionate, expressive and living each minute with his players. This rubs off on those on the pitch and can be extremely motivating.
It is unlikely that the players played for Benitez in the same way they play for Dalglish. To see their manager pass each ball, tackle each opponent and celebrate each goal as if he is with them is refreshing and inspirational.
Dalglish's celebration seems to be with the team and for the team, and that is wonderful to see.
The photo on this slide is one that was all too rare in Benitez's day. Granted that Suarez was not there, but Benitez would offer a hearty handshake, where as Dalglish is likely to embrace you.
4. Liverpool as Still One of the Unluckiest Teams in the Premiership
Many will say that the penalty awarded to Liverpool at WBA was lucky.
Actually, if the video evidence is looked at, then it is clear that the defender makes no attempt to play the ball but rather to take Luis Suarez out.
Where the ball is, where the players are at the point of contact and the movement of the defender prior to the contact extinguishes most doubt.
Lucky or not, Liverpool have hit the woodwork on no less than 10 occasions this season so far. This is more than any other team in the division.
Again, yesterday, the Reds were denied another goal by the woodwork, when Stewart Downing fired a left foot shot that had the goalkeeper beaten but came back off the post.
Liverpool would love a few slices of luck to go their way and for their shots to be a few millimetres the right side of the post, rather than not.
Results can sometimes depend on these little bits of luck going your way and, so far this season, they have not for the Reds.
5. Kenny Dalglish Wants More Goals
Kenny Dalglish demonstrated his intent yesterday in a clear and positive manner.
With the game more or less won and three points in the bag, he made a substitution.
The Reds manager pulled off, to another rousing ovation, Luis Suarez, and one would have thought that going on in his place would have been the likes of Jay Spearing.
Spearing would have been an added body in the midfield and nipped in the bud any aspirations that WBA had of starting a famous finish.
But Dalglish turned instead to an attacking player, in the shape of striker Craig Bellamy, who, for sure, was not brought on to shore up anything. He was brought on to score more goals.
Dalglish was not going to snuff WBA out and cruise to the win, he wanted a third goal to secure the game in a positive way for the Reds.
Dalglish wants goals.