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Despite Their Flaws, Liverpool Earns FA Cup Final Date to Rescue Disappointing Season

andy carroll steven gerrard Despite Their Flaws, Liverpool Earns FA Cup Final Date to Rescue Disappointing Season

Liverpool’s win against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final wasn’t pretty nor convincing, but the Reds took their chances in front of goal — something they’ve been unable to do for so long — and now face the winner of Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur for a chance to win a second piece of silverware this season.

In high pressure cup matches, it’s often the mistakes that are the differences between sides, and that was true today where two mistakes and a goal from a set play helped both teams get on the scoreboard. Jamie Carragher’s embarrassing mistake in the back four for Liverpool gifted an easy opportunity for Nikica Jelavic to score Everton’s goal to open up the match. Liverpool seemed out of the match, particularly in the first half, until Sylvain Distin gifted Liverpool a goal after a wayward back pass fell into the path of Luis Suarez who calmly slotted the ball into the net to make it 1-1.

Last but not least, it was Andy Carroll who grabbed the winner for Liverpool — the second time in less than a week. After Craig Bellamy’s inch perfect cross fell into the box, it was Carroll who headed the winner into the back of the net on Saturday to send the Liverpool supporters into raptures.

I don’t think Liverpool fans or players will care too much, but the performance by the Reds was far from convincing. All that matters is that they won a match against a very difficult to beat Everton side. Looking at this Liverpool side, the most noticeable factor is that the team isn’t that good. Steven Gerrard is almost 32, looks older and wiser, but lacks the speed for those diagonal runs and blistering shots from the outside of the area. Carragher needs to retire. He’s been a legend at the club, but his playing days are long over. Carroll is improving, but he’s very much a one-dimensional player that doesn’t offer Liverpool a lot of options up front (compare him to a Clint Dempsey, where the American is deadly both in the air and will the ball at his feet). The list goes on and on. You can go through this entire Liverpool squad and pick weaknesses and players who have been playing either way below their potential, or who are simply not good enough to be playing on a Liverpool side who have much bigger aspirations.

Despite all of that, Liverpool has a golden opportunity to turn their 2011-12 season around with a FA Cup Final appearance and a chance to lift a second trophy — which is more than any other club in the Premier League can claim other than Chelsea, who has to beat Tottenham and try to overcome Barcelona to have any hope of outdoing Liverpool. Yes, the silverware is a Carling Cup and a potential FA Cup trophy, but footballers and supporters love winning. Having your favorite club pictured among the other winners at the end of the season with a trophy held aloft goes a long way to building confidence and attracting star players.

Liverpool, having made it to the FA Cup Final, have done a superb job at papering over the cracks in this side who have disappointed throughout the Premier League season. But they have an opportunity now to rescue themselves and use the Carling Cup and FA Cup finals as a launching pad to bounce from this summer, bring in new players and get rid of the old and tired ones so they can be a much better side next season. The FA Cup Final appearance will go a long way to keeping the pressure off Kenny Dalglish, but the Liverpool manager still has a tremendous amount of work ahead of him in order to turn the Liverpool ship around so they can be more of a force to be reckoned with in the top league. The players are out there to be signed, many that would love to be playing for a club who has so much history and such a massive global fanbase as Liverpool. It’s important that the club keeps its head down, works hard and learns from its mistakes. Cup finals are brilliant experiences, but it’s crucial that the Liverpool owners and management team stay focused on making the changes needed to establish the Reds as a side with Champions League aspirations. Anything less, even two potential trophies, is not good enough.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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7 Responses to Despite Their Flaws, Liverpool Earns FA Cup Final Date to Rescue Disappointing Season

  1. Guy says:

    Didn’t Suarez’s goal make it 1-1?

    Didn’t see Liverpool get any bounce out of the Carling Cup. Don’t expect it if they win the FA Cup, either.

    I do, however think any cup win is important. You played your way through a competition and won. It seems to me the only ones who downplay the cups are the ones who don’t win them. ;-)

    • The Gaffer says:

      Guy, you could argue that the bounce from the Carling Cup they saw was a good result in the FA Cup semi-final, having more experience playing at Wembley. There certainly hasn’t been any bounce in their league form, you’re correct.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Paul says:

        As much as any team loves to win trophies (after all it’s why they take part in the first place), it’s frustrating seeing Liverpool win trophies at the moment. Yes, I really did just say that! They seem to think that winning a trophy clears them from their poor league form… but it doesn’t. The league is the ‘bread and butter’ and they haven’t cut it there. Winning the League Cup and possibly winning the FA Cup is false economy in a sense! I love the bragging rights when we win cups but when it comes down to it I want to win the Premier League over anything else and until they do that, or at the very least putting up a good fight for it, they’re not doing their job.

        • Reba says:

          Liverpool was never going to win the PL this season. And 4th was actually a big ask. Now, I never thought we would finish THIS far off 4th – that’s disappointing, of course. But this isn’t the good ol’ days (of just a couple years ago) where finishing in the top four is a given because there were only 4 top teams. Now there are SEVEN teams fighting for FOUR positions. And realistically, the top two are so locked up by the Manchester teams that that that leave FIVE teams competing for TWO spots. Liverpool bought nine new players (most young and inexperienced). All things considered, we could have finished closer to fourth, but overall, I’m happy with this season. It is progress regardless of what any other teams think or wish to be true.

          And I’m sick of people acting like we should be ashamed or embarrassed about our cups runs. Not counting Liverpool, there are 91 professional football clubs in England, and if we win the FA cup, we will have won more than any of them. And any of them, save Manchester United, would take the season we’ve had….especially Newcastle and Everton.

          • Paul says:

            I agree we were never going to win the league this year, I didn’t expect that but I did expect more of a challenge. They bought new players but for me some of them are not up to scratch so with Comolli now gone it’ll be interesting to see what business is done in the transfer market. As for making progress, I can’t see how that’s the case. Yes okay we’ve got one cup and maybe another one to follow but the one thing that really matters we’ve actually moved backwards. For me, to make progress this year would mean finishing higher than last years position of 6th. Next season will be key.

    • Reba says:

      As a Liverpool fan, I’m not expecting a “bounce” from the FA cup final….since it comes at the end of the season. Besides the league no longer matters. Winning the Carling Cup assured Europa League next season, so with 4th out of the question, there is really no difference between 5th and 15th for Liverpool. The only thing left to aim for is the second cup win, and if we win that, we go directly into the Europa League and by-pass the qualifiers (which is where you start with only a CC win), which means a longer vacation for the players (and less crap footy for me to watch). Oh, and winning the FA cup would also mean our 4th trip to Wembley this calendar year to play the Community Shield (most likely against Man United) in August. Now, who among us doesn’t want to start next season with a rousing Liverpool – Man United game at Wembley?!?!

  2. RVPFan says:

    There’s just something about this Liverpool team that annoys the heck out of me. Maybe it has to do with Suarez, maybe it has to do with this constant moaning and complaining to ref as if every decisions should go their way and opponents just can’t catch any break, maybe it has to do with Kenny’s post match when the team loses just avoiding journos like a piece of crap (sometimes they are), maybe it has to do with the Fenway Sports Group, no matter what they touch, just seems to be more and more controversial (eg. what’s happening with the Red Sox at the moment), and Liverpool won the Carling Cup and celebrated like they had just done the quadruple, now they are poised to win the FA Cup. Don’t get me wrong, winning trophies creates a winning mentality that I wish us Arsenal fans would have had, and it could be jealousy from my side too, but this team just isn’t the same side that I really used to love to watch under Gerrard Houlier or even Rafa. Since the arrival of Kenny and FSG, something has changed, and I feel it has changed for the worst rather than good.

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