Newcastle v Liverpool: Send Carroll To Stoke & Kenny To The Links

Liverpool are a great club but Dalglish is part of the past, not future. And as for Andy Carroll? He's got Stoke written all over him...
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Liverpool are a great club but Dalglish is part of the past, not future. And as for Andy Carroll? He's got Stoke written all over him...

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Andy Carroll Belongs To Neither Club

I was probably one of the few Geordie fans bewildered by the booing that Carroll received on his return. Here was a player who was only sold due to a vastly inflated transfer fee no club could turn down. He himself said he hadn’t wanted to go and was forced out from the club. Of course, even taking that with a pinch of salt, it’s clear from his languid performances that his heart was never in it for Liverpool.

Any chance he would have had to bond with that set of fans and the club was pretty much made impossible because of the weighty price tag and the reaction when he didn’t play like Messi. The Liverpool fans were indifferent to him, the management privately looking to offload him while crowing about how highly he was regarded… Even with all this in mind he couldn’t have envisioned a worse return that what unfolded.

After being tricked into saying he’d “not celebrate” if he scored, this served nothing but to have both sets of fans questioning his loyalty. Regardless, the booing was harsh… Until THAT dive, the most ludicrous piece of theatrics seen since the days of Klinsmann. From that point on it was clear that he didn’t hold his former club in the same regard as he always maintained he would.

His performance made some Liverpool fans believe he was successfully making the emotional divorce required to finally lay Newcastle to rest. However, after an afternoon of abusive chanting, another average performance and a subsequent substitution, he threw his Liverpool shirt on the ground and made it clear to Dalglish he was done.

Almost certain to be offloaded in the Summer now, regardless of the managerial situation, Carroll will be remembered as one of English football’s most expensive misfits. The sad truth is now, it seems that any return to the team he claimed to love so much also seems impossible. Doomed to live a nomadic lifestyle in footballing terms, he now has Stoke written all over him.

Kenny Dalglish’s Meeting With The Referees Went Badly

Back when Kenny Dalglish was bemoaning the lack of accurate and fair refereeing following some atrocious displays of officiating against them, he met with Mike Riley to air some of his grievances. One can only presume Dalglish was as charmless and repulsive behind closed doors as he comes off when placed in front of the media because today the officials had a stinker.

There’s no disputing that Simpson should have seen red and a penalty been awarded for his handball on the line. Whatever you make of some pretty innocuous penalty shouts for the reds, the second goal was offside by about five yards when the pass was played and on another day Reina probably wouldn’t have seen red.

Newcastle are not a team used to receiving the benefit of refereeing decisions home or away but in this fixture they were probably gifted about half a season’s worth. People might laud the performances of the Newcastle players but had refereeing decisions gone the way they probably should, they could have been dead and buried.

Liverpool are a great club and Dalglish is part of that history. He is not part of their future.

The Football Media Love To Miss The Point

Following James Perch’s reaction to Pepe Reina’s forehead brushing against his nose, the media have gone into a meltdown about how wrong it is for fellow professionals to try and get other players sent off. Whether it’s down to perceived Liverpool bias in the media or simply a clamour to generate as much contentious discussion as possible surrounding any big fixture, the media have somewhat missed the point.

For example, there is no getting away from the fact that regardless of Perch’s reaction Reina should still have got a red card for the offence. The idea that Perch “got Reina sent off” is ludicrous. Even if he stood up and took it like a champ, Reina still has to walk.

It also seems equally blinkered to try and compare Perch’s theatrics to Carroll’s dive, the former coming as a reaction to violent and aggressive conduct, the latter being nothing more than an attempt to deceive the referee.

The real debate the media should be having is why players react like they are Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable every time they are lightly tapped by a fellow pro. They would have to conclude it’s because they have no faith in referees applying the laws correctly and seeing rhe incidents. Perch was simply making sure the referee saw the incident. It might not make it any less pathetic but to blame him over Reina is utter madness.

James Perch Can Cover For Coloccini

Most Newcastle fans will have been dreading this fixture as soon as it became apparent that Coloccini was out and the centreback pairing was Perch and Williamson, the latter carrying on the proud tradition of awful Toon centrebacks and following in the footsteps of Peacock, Bramble, Boumsong et al.

Perch has been asked to play all over the park with mixed results but here he was man of the match, making crunching tackles and blocks, setting the tone early and somehow managing to contain Carroll and Suarez. In truth it was one of the best defensive displays since Williamson came into the team to replace Steve Taylor and it bodes well for the last few games of the season for Newcastle, which are about securing sixth spot with some par for the course results between now and the season close.

Dalglish Is A Managerial Anachronism

I could never bring myself to feel for him after what he did to Newcastle but it is clear that he is a man out of sync with the modern game. Having spent years away from it enjoying life on a golf course, he is best applied at Liverpool as a figurehead, a talisman but never a manager. When the side of young players he assembled were playing good football earlier in the season it was clear they were enamoured with the idea of Dalglish. Now it seems the reality has sunk in. Miring them in one PR disaster after another, his tactics have all too often been wrong and the players applied in positions or roles that are alien to them.

People might find his ideas quaint, a “little and large” strike partnership, the application of old school wingers and crunching anchormen. Sadly, he is blind to the bigger picture of premiership football, where you have to be tactically astute and know your squad inside out. Blaming bad luck and refereeing inconsistency will only go so far. There comes a time when a manager has to step up and be counted. Dalglish is instead is blundering through the season making the same baffling selection mistakes each fixture.

Perhaps the biggest indicator that he has become something of an embarrassment, even in the players’s eyes, was the reaction from Gerrard when his manager came on the pitch. A player that is Liverpool to the core telling the manager to “go away” shows that the players are rapidly realising they are going to have to do for self, that in tight situations they’d rather figure things out for themselves. It points to no confidence in their leader.

If you can’t change a game tactically, if you can’t be inspirational on an individual basis, if you don’t even know how to assemble a team in the first place, then management is no game for you. Dalglish’s record has always been dubious if scrutinised but his Liverpool tenure has been awful, both statistically and for more abstract reasons.

Liverpool are a great club and Dalglish is part of that history. He is not part of their future.

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