Liverpool: Forget Konoplyanka, Lack Of Cutting Edge Sums Up Our Club Right Now
In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter for our American cousins. Meanwhile Liverpool celebrated their own version of Groundhog Day by repeating their innate ability to waste the chance to build on previous good work.
Again the wounds were self inflicted. As Kolo Toure's bizarre choice of cross defence pass rolled it's inexorable slow motion path to ex-Everton also-ran Victor Anichebe, allowing the forward one of the most generously gifted goals that he will ever celebrate, Tuesday night's glory seemed long ago.
There can be no complaints over the result; Liverpool deserved very little from a dour, bitty contest. Creativity was at a premium, stifled by West Brom's effective organisation and sharp closing movements coupled with a quite appalling pitch which was never likely to allow the playing of any actual football.
Albion declined to turn up in the first half, Liverpool declined to capitalise. The Baggies were better in the second 45 minutes, Liverpool failed to raise their game in reply. Passes were loose, second balls were lost, attacks broke down rather too easily. Nothing clicked, nothing gelled.
Which chimed perfectly with the events of the previous few days.
Liverpool's ability to retreat into error and ineffectiveness at times of strength appears to inhabit pitch and boardroom equally, the performance at The Hawthorns was both indicative of the need to strengthen and emblematic of our inability to make the necessary decisions.
The deadline day Konoplyanka fiasco said much of Liverpool's present issues; unable to land our one remaining target seemingly through - according to pre match reports - an inability to pay the fee before the midnight deadline despite spending three days in the Ukraine negotiating the deal and then apparently leaking a story that the failure was due to dealing with a difficult club owner.
The fans reaction was, predictably, utterly furious. Death threats were issued in the direction of Ian Ayre by some of our more 'hard of thinking' supporters. Removal from his role would be sufficient for most. The irony is that none of us have the slightest idea whether the Ukrainian is actually any good, most of us believe that there are areas far more in need of strengthening than the forward line (left back and defensive midfield spring to mind) and that this move smacked of 'sign somebody/anybody and do it now'
It would be hard to claim that the non-signing of a winger who in any case would not have been eligible to play this weekend would have altered the outcome of the West Brom game. It would be equally hard to make any clear claim as to who he would have replaced; Sturridge and Suarez are always liable to make something happen, Sterling was probably our only bright spark from the day. The concern is that the need for strengthening has been clear throughout January and nobody has auctioned it. If the issue isn't a lack of funds (as we are repeatedly told that it isn't) then there is a case to be made for the ineptitude of individuals within the organisation.
Ian Ayre managing to conduct the one job that he had to do last week - apart from sealing deals with Dunkin' Donuts and an Indonesian airline - and land a player would not have improved today's disappointing performance but having the faith that our owners and management structure have the vision to identify the issues and act on them would.
In other news, we are unbeaten in 2014, have shown that we can outperform our strongest rivals, are still two points ahead of Everton and currently only three points away from third. A City victory tomorrow against Chelsea (who will undoubtedly adopt a 19th century approach) will mean that our position has not been significantly weakened this weekend but somebody at the club needs to start looking forward.