I will inevitably get slated by the 'Dalglish is the Messiah' brigade for this article there has to be some attempt to look at things reasonably and objectively, and the truth is, Dalglish's comments about Liverpool's season are becoming increasingly worrying.
I totally understand the need to praise players for motivational purposes, but when that praise enters the realms of fantasy in a misguided attempt to justify obvious mediocrity, it becomes embarrassing. This happened yesterday, when Dalglish offered the following preposterous assessment of his summer signings:
"These players have done fantastically well and if anyone is going to come in they will have to be a hell of a player to do better than what this group has done. These boys are in pole position and they are sitting there comfortable; not one of them can be disappointed with what they have contributed this season"
If Roy Hodgson has said something like this about the likes of Poulsen and Konchesky there would've been 10,000 fans burning an effigy of him outside Anfield. Indeed, Liverpool's unfairly reviled former manager was personally attacked and hounded out of Liverpool for much less.
How Dalglish can say such things with straight face is amazing. This goes beyond mere motivational praise; in my view, it is a calculated attempt to fool fans.
These players have done 'fantastically well'?! It will take 'one hell of a player' to do better? Not one of them can be disappointed with their contribution?! Dalglish's view does not match reality in any way, shape or form, and he insults the intelligence of fans by trying to convince us that the players he's signed are apparently world-beaters. Let's look at the facts:
* Downing, Carroll, Henderson and Adam: Combined cost = 83m. Total league goals: 6
* Downing, Carroll and Henderson: Combined cost - 75m. Total league assists = 2
* League position: 7th (10 points behind 4th. 28 points off top spot)
* 3 wins in the last 12 league games.
* 19 points dropped at home in the league this season.
* 3 league games lost in a row for the first time in 10 years.
* Only 33 goals scored in 28 league games, one of the worst records in the league.
* An overall conversion rate of 8.8% (33 goals from 372 shots)
* A worse home record than the much-maligned Roy Hodgson
* Had to beat inferior opposition on penalties to win the Carling Cup (!)
* Money spent: 110m+. Improvement in the league? Zero.
Is this what passes for doing 'fantastically well' these days? Is this the level of contribution expected of Liverpool players these days? If so, then God help us.
The idea that it would take 'a hell of a player' to improve on this level of mediocrity is laughable. Furthermore, massaging egos and keeping players in their comfort zone like this is counter-productive; why should they sweat blood and tears to improve if the manager is telling them they're amazing?
The most disturbing thing to consider is the possibility that Dalglish actually believes what he's saying (!) Does he really believe that a group of players who can't outscore relegation fodder in the league are beyond reproach? If so, then surely serious questions need to be asked?
Liverpool fans are not stupid, and trying to fool the fanbase like this is a spectacular error of judgment. Yes, the blind-faith brigade will lap it up with a spoon and denigrate anyone who dares to question 'The King', but many fans, I'm sure, will be privately concerned at how Dalglish is increasingly trying paint a picture of a rosy reality that just doesn't exist.
Rafa Benitez made countless excuses for his under-performance in the league (mostly related to lack of money), but even he didn't have the brazen chutzpah to try and convince fans that his 2009-10 team - which finished 7th and failed to qualify for the Champions League - was 'fantastic'.
This season has been characterised by Dalglish's belligerent, pigheaded (and undeserved) public support for certain players, and this will ultimately (IMO) lead to his eventual downfall. And when that happens, he will only have himself to blame.
Before people twist my words: I am not calling for Dalglish to be sacked (!) As I've repeatedly stated, I grew up watching him play and then manage Liverpool, so I will always have a soft-spot for a true LFC legend.
I'm just calling for Dalglish to stop blithely celebrating mediocrity. Praise players, but don't grossly exaggerate to the extent that it becomes embarrassing.