News24

Liverpool aim for swansong

2012-05-04 09:47

London - Liverpool will bid to put a positive gloss on a lacklustre season on Saturday as they attempt to seal a rare domestic double against bitter rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Kenny Dalglish's return to Anfield last year and the subsequent lavish outlay in the transfer market had fuelled optimism among Liverpool fans that the club were poised to re-emerge as a force in English football.

But a frustratingly inconsistent Premier League campaign has raised more questions than answers about Dalglish's reign, with Liverpool's dreams of a swift return to the Champions League being extinguished weeks ago.

Fulham became the latest side to ransack Anfield on Tuesday with a 1-0 win, a result that leaves Liverpool on course to register their worst record at home since the 1948-49 season.

Yet if Liverpool can overcome a weary Chelsea at Wembley, Dalglish will be able to point to a season that has yielded two pieces of silverware following his side's League Cup win over Cardiff City in February.

While the Premier League remains the priority, the Liverpool manager insists that a domestic cup double is proof that solid progress is being made.

"Any competition you enter, you want to do the best you possibly can in," Dalglish said. "In the league it is 38 games and at the end you finish in a position which tells you how successful it has been.

"In cup competitions there are obviously not as many games and if you get beaten, you are out.

"There is an obsession with the Premier League simply because of what it holds for every club and the value financially for every club, the rewards you get for finishing in the top four and getting in the Champions League.

"But there is a satisfaction from winning a cup competition, which you don't get from finishing fifth or sixth in the league."

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was adamant that while the club needs to "address the problem" of their league form, a win over Chelsea would allow the Merseysiders to look back on the season with pride.

"It is a successful season. This club is all about winning big trophies and the FA Cup certainly comes under that," said Gerrard.

"We will assess the season after the weekend. If we can look back and say we have won two cups, we will be happy."

Saturday's final is the 33rd meeting of the two teams since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and began to bankroll the most successful era in the London club's history.

Chelsea, however, could be forgiven for viewing Saturday's final as an unwanted nuisance, as interim manager Roberto Di Matteo attempts to juggle his resources on three different fronts.

The Blues' hopes of a top-four finish were dealt a severe blow on Wednesday after a 2-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United that left Di Matteo's men four points off the Champions League places with only two games left.

That defeat means Chelsea's passage to the final of the Champions League in Munich on May 19 has assumed even greater importance, with a victory over Bayern Munich now looking their best bet of a place in next season's competition.

While Di Matteo may be tempted to give a rest to key players with one eye on Munich, the Italian insists Chelsea will be motivated by the prospect of a successful day out at Wembley.

But Di Matteo, scorer of the second-fastest goal in FA Cup final history after scoring from long-range in Chelsea's 1997 win over Middlesbrough after only 42 seconds, acknowledged his side's schedule had taken a toll.

"My players have given everything," Di Matteo said. "We've been asking them to push and push and push and they've done well. We'll regroup and pick them up. We've got a big game, a great final, on Saturday and we'll go again.

"We'll look forward to the FA Cup final. It's a great event and the motivation is going to be there."


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Comments
  • Bob - 2012-05-04 10:03

    Come on Liverpool make my day, shut all the Mancs up, two trophy's in Kenny's first season in charge would be success in anybody's book.

  • John - 2012-05-04 10:05

    Liverpool should fire this guy, i am not a fan of liverpool but for such a big club they should be aiming higher.....

      Kailash - 2012-05-04 10:11

      It's already higher since FA Cup is the biggest British Cup!

      Kailash - 2012-05-04 10:11

      It's already higher since FA Cup is the biggest British Cup!

      Bob - 2012-05-04 10:18

      John, they are aiming higher, it's KK's first season in charge, he took over a huge mess and if they win two trophies in his 1st full season that is progress, don't worry we will be much more competitive in the league next season.

      Bob - 2012-05-04 10:18

      John, they are aiming higher, it's KK's first season in charge, he took over a huge mess and if they win two trophies in his 1st full season that is progress, don't worry we will be much more competitive in the league next season.

      John - 2012-05-04 17:21

      Big money is in the champions league as long as liverpool dont play init they will never compete, you need to compete with the big boys.......

  • aidan.w.naude - 2012-05-04 10:36

    Bob - I am a massive liverpool Fan , And I think he has taken his eye off the ball. 2 Cups will be amazing - But Shankley always said the league is our bread and butter. To finish 8th or lower is unacceptable. He is out of touch with the modern game for sure. King Kenny - amazing player - average coach.To finish on a positive note at least Man whonited will win nothing this year.

      Bob - 2012-05-04 10:58

      Aidan, of course you are correct 8th is unacceptable, Kenny has achieved greatness as a player and a manager, he has transformed our club in his 1st full season in charge, not even Kenny can change it all overnight, trust in him, we will be much stronger next season, he has been let down by some players that will not be representing LFC next season, the likes of Downing and Adam could well be on the transfer list this summer, Downing not 1 assist let alone a league goal all season, he should be better than that, you can blame Kenny for buying him, the truth is he was Villa player of the year before that,, he should have performed much better than he has, some of the other guys are just young and will improve, we will be in the transfer market this summer, poor individual play and some awful luck has resulted in our false position in the league this season, you saw what Suarez did to Norwich, he could and should have been doing that much more often, that is not Kenny's fault that he didn't, have faith YNWA.

      Bob - 2012-05-04 10:58

      Aidan, of course you are correct 8th is unacceptable, Kenny has achieved greatness as a player and a manager, he has transformed our club in his 1st full season in charge, not even Kenny can change it all overnight, trust in him, we will be much stronger next season, he has been let down by some players that will not be representing LFC next season, the likes of Downing and Adam could well be on the transfer list this summer, Downing not 1 assist let alone a league goal all season, he should be better than that, you can blame Kenny for buying him, the truth is he was Villa player of the year before that,, he should have performed much better than he has, some of the other guys are just young and will improve, we will be in the transfer market this summer, poor individual play and some awful luck has resulted in our false position in the league this season, you saw what Suarez did to Norwich, he could and should have been doing that much more often, that is not Kenny's fault that he didn't, have faith YNWA.

  • kent.lawrence.14 - 2012-05-04 15:10

    I think some need to gain real perspective on the season so far...KK has been in charge for a season and a half and has ended Liverpool's 7 season trophy drought with a potential cup DOUBLE!! Yes the league has been a disappointment but think about it like this...Man City have spent 300 Mil pounds ova the last three years and up until now have had only one F.A cup and a champions league spot to show for it! Expectation needs to be aligned with realization!

  • Mark Milligan - 2012-05-05 06:54

    Going to say a big prayer for the boys today. I think we will need it. Chelsea and Torres are in great form. Staying behind the Reds all the way. YNWA

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