14 Feb 2012

Liverpool Legend admits: Kenny got it wrong against Man United...

I think it's fair to say that many Liverpool fans were surprised and bemused to see Craig Bellamy on the bench against Manchester United at the weekend. The team put out by Kenny Dalglish lacked incisive attacking pace, and this was evident throughout the game.

Liverpool legend John Aldridge has now questioned Kenny decision to leave Bellamy on the bench for such a crucial game. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Aldridge - who won two league titles during his time at Anfield - said:

"When the game against Manchester United kicked off, Liverpool were really toothless and gave the ball away a lot.

"I was surprised Bellamy didn't start at Old Trafford. I understand the need to manage Craig but in the big games he comes to life.

"An hour from him would have been worth so much more than what Jordan Henderson can give us at the minute".

I totally agree with Aldo here. Prior to the United game, Bellamy had 5 clear days of rest. Additionally, he didn't even play the full game against Spurs, and came off after 73 minutes.

It's decisions like this that I find completely mystifying: In a must-win game, why would you leave your top goalscorer/assist-maker on the bench, yet play Stewart Downing, who has failed to score or create a goal in 25 league games so far this season?

Aldo has always been complimentary about Jordan Henderson but it appears that his patience with the player is running out. I agree with him there too: Bellamy would've been a much better option than Henderson on the day; what exactly did he do during the game, apart from pass the ball sideways and regularly give it away?

Dalglish's line-ups and formations have been hard to understand all season, and Liverpool will ultimately pay the price for his favourtism towards the likes of Downing and Henderson.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Bellamy is our most important attacking player this season. He is the catalyst for our attacking play this season. The two attacking players we would rely on aren't playing that great. Gerrard is still getting back into things as well as it is questionable using Gerrard in a two-man central midfield anymore. Suarez has had a forgettable season, not just because of Evra thing but also because his finishing has been dire. 

    So one would have thought Bellamy would be used in such a game, or even Carroll as the mancs, without Vidic, can't handle long balls. KK might not like it but it was the long balls to him that won us the game in the FA cup and also made us a threat against Spurs, rather than the passing game.

  2. I like Henderson but the thing is, he is one for the future so he should be blooded in slowly. Hes played most games this season despite offering very little to the team. He should come good so I'll be patient with him. 

    Downing on the other hand is the most predictable player in the league. He gets the ball on the wing runs until the first player gets in his way, stops turns back and passes to midfield. Its headwrecking

  3. By rights, Dalglish should have substituted Suarez in the first minute of the game - that would have made a statement and shown who is boss! Anyway, putting that aside for now, the best team surely has to be with Bellamy in the starting line-up. To be honest, I think that there is a lot of talk about needing strikers, needing wide-players etc. Dalglish has made huge purchases on some players, but these same players have seen off a number of big teams. I think that we don't really need any major transfers in the future - Oh, except of course to replace Suarez, who should be sold as soon as possible. 
    In my mind, the biggest mistake that Dalglish has (and consistently) makes, is not trusting those players he has bought. Henderson and Adam in the middle, Downing and Bellamy on the wings, Carrol in the middle, Gerard just behind, Shelvy as a decent sub or replacement. Thats not a terrible team. I feel that Suarez stole the show, and the team couldn't settle after that. It might have been a different game. Maybe same result, but its Man U, and any season with a home win and an away loss to Man U is not a poor season. But at least the team of the future (i.e. Carrol, Henderson, Adam and others) would have had another 90 minutes to play together. 

  4. Starting with Downing, Henderson and Spearing meant we had 3 mediocre players on at the same time. Can anyone tell me what Spearings's qualifications are to play for LFC? For the second time in a row against manure, Adam came on and changed the game. When will Dalglish learn?

  5. I agree with much of what both you and Aldo say. I don't understand why Downing is played without Carroll (Downing has scored btw, against Oldham in the FA cup). Bellamy plays great with Suarez, Maxi and Gerrard as they should be out first choice attacking team until Carroll starts firing them in... which I think he will. Downing should only be on the field to get crosses in to Carroll.
    I think as far as Henderson goes, whilst I do find his lack of impact on the game frustrating sometimes, he is improving. He's only 21 and the potential is definitely there but he, like our team is work-in-progress.
    A problem I haven't seen discussed since the game this weekend is Johnson's poor defending at right back (he should on the wing with Kelly at RB IMO) and also Spearing really not filling Lucas' boots.
    Next season will be a different story but with both Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of us in the League this season it's looking increasingly unlikely that we'll get CL next year.

  6. Henderson and Downing play like a pair of mules. And that's a compliment. Only because they have a donkey (Carroll) who is leading the race for the most woeful Liverpool performer.

  7. What about C.Adam instead of Henderson?We also miss Carroll.Henderson and downing cost us the match.

  8. Need you ask? Obviously, Spearing's mediocrity makes him a certainty just like Henderson, Downing and Carroll.

  9. I was going to post the same thing. Henderson I can see improving; Downing I can't.

  10. All of the players Kenny bought are pretty ordinary except Bellamy and Suarez. I read news about Hazard going for the Tottenham and feel really gutted. 
    These ordinary players we have are never going to good enough for competing at highest level.

  11. Notice that Spurs weren't able to sign "a Hazard" until now... when they're virtually already qualified for CL and have developed their current players into world class.
    How do you propose that we attract these top players without CL or City cash?

  12. You must be privy to more information than I. When did Spurs sign Hazard? The news is that Lille want £40M for him and that is kind of silly money for his ability etc.

  13. Ya, Kenny lost the plot and what a blunder he did. I tell you guys that a manager second stint at the same club is not always successful. Kenny is now finding it true just like Howard Kendall realised it at Everton. Poor Kenny!

  14. Was disappointed that we started Downing against Man Utd and his performance suggested that he simply isn't up to the job in a big game like that. There were a few blunders, in my opinion, playing Johnson on the right side of midfield, and Kelly at the back, would have shored up the defence. Playing Bellamy instead of Downing should have been a no brainer and playing Carroll for Suarez would have avoided a lot of trouble! Actually, playing Suarez off Carroll and playing a central three of Gerrard, sitting back and Adam would have done a job. Henderson just looks lost to me. With the Man Utd midfield containing Scholes and Giggs, we got it badly wrong if they are able to outplay our midfield. Two veterans, with the not exactly dynamic Carrick in there also.

  15. Yea things could have been different maybe if downing scored one or two of the early season chances, but he didn't and he is playing like he just doesn't care.

    I'm not going to get on Charlie Adam's back since he cost considerably less and was probably bought with the intention of partnering Lucas and for the start of the season he was providing lots of assists.

    Carroll is a victim of circumstance I believe. He has half a year of brilliant football and then a club spends 35M on him and don't play to his strengths. He has looked like he wasn't bothered but I think the penny has dropped and hes putting himself around so I'm prepared to be patient with him too!

  16. Didn't mean to mislead there... I'm talking about a potential signing. The real point that I was making was that it's very easy to criticise KD's signings but people seem to think that Liverpool can sign anyone we want. We can't... we're not in the CL and our only chance of silverware is in the domestic cups. This isn't enough to attract the Hazards of this world unfortunately.

  17. Downing and Henderson are totally waste of money, they have done nothing all season and have gotten first preference over everyone including ex player Meriles at the beginning of the season which played a major impact on him leaving. Glen Johnson is a major concern to me, his poor defending ability cost us the first goal, the only thing he wants to do is dribble and shoot, not even a proper cross he cant provide to the forwards all game.

  18. To be fair on Carroll, our best moments of attacking penetration have come from long balls played up to him, such as the game against Spurs and the mancs in the cup. This passing game of KK is not working in terms of creating proper chances of late.

    Hendo at a club with a better squad, he would have been blooded in slowly and take time with his development but instead, he has been thrown into early too much. He has got potential but its going to be a long wait for it to blossom.

    With Downing.....can't be bothered to waste another sentence on him in this thread.

  19. Rob but spearing is BRITISH so Kenny gives him the knod over Johnny Foriegner

  20. The tactics come from Kenny the players were bought by Kenny the selection was done by Kenny.


    Dalglish if the Owners have any sense will be gone by this Summer.
    This Nostalgia tour with KD will brought to a stop.

  21. Is n't the blog about Bellamy not playing who is British?

  22. Spearing has been playing well but like most of our players this season when they have made a mistake a goal has come from it.

  23. Clearly Kenny has been making some very questionable decision making re line ups and overall tactics.

    Mystifying is probably the right word, in his defence though i will say that he has been let down countless times by players not playing like they should.....

    Trouble is he keeps on playing them, so he begins to look a bit foolish for "getting it wrong" when in fact this squad of players is much better than they have shown so far this season, just underperformed once too often against sides that we should be beating, that lacking effort against Bolton was a classic case of that.....

    What really gets to me is that we seem to be rewarding players who often underperform or don't put in enough effort by playing them regularly, and then drop players who are getting into some form?

    The clock is ticking for Kenny IMO and the jury is out on how well equipped he is to get the team playing well consistently, too much tinkering is not good, players should be rewarded when they play well not benched, that is not good management and will create tensions and frustrations amongst the players.....

    I do wonder if someone is ill advising Kenny at times..... he seems to have made some very baffling decisions, more so this season than last.

  24. how long can we keep using the 'he's one for the future' excuse for henderson.he can either play or he can not.he hasn#t shown anything to suggest he'll progress and be a top player in the future.i'd rather have shelvey playing ahead of him.he's a far better player in my opinion.
    as for downing starting over bellamy-they're the kind of decisions that can cost us fourth place and a signing like downing who has had no impact whatsoever is the kind of player who could cost a manager his job.he wouldnt get in the west brom side.

  25. AW I dont hink you do watch our matches.How can you say SUarez should be sold because he has a controversy with ManU player?As a Liverpool fan and most of us,SUarez should retire with us just because of that.ManU nor anything that has affiliation with them should NOT influence us in any inch to take a decision.
    That aside and then you ttalk of Hendersen.He has contributed absolutely nothing.DOwning however is a disgrace.Both of them do not yet know the difference between their former clubs and Liverpool.As Agger ones said,it seems they dont care if we loose or draw.You dont see any regret or remorse in them after drawing a match.

  26. Jamie I agree with you for the very first time.If we take an analysis of our players when KK just came in, Carrol was injured,Downing and Hendersen were not present.We will realise that every thing went perfect.We enjoyed our matches.They came in and things have gone the other way round.
    OK if we say Bellamy has 'replaced' Mireless, I will want to suggest to KK to bench these trio and play ONLY our players of last year for us to have our spirits back.
    FA cup and League Cup are all just ingredients to our main priority.Our main thing this season is 4th spot while next season we will be fighting for at least the 2nd spot.
    I think before the start of the season these were our strategies.

  27. Yes he did . Not only not playing Bellamy , but leaving out Adam and Carroll who has started to look something like after getting a run of games , play well for a few games , then that big confidence boost your on the bench , it doesn't make sense , when we went behind these 3 players came on , when we needed to score , we went there to try and get a draw , not acceptable , not good enough , we've beat United and City and looked the better side in drawn games against the both of them this season , so why so negative ?

  28. Fair enough. Not sure I totally agree with your sentiment about Suarez. I think that tribalism and hatred of ManU and their success has blinded LFC to the fact that we need to focus on US. Suarez clearly unsettled the team. Maybe I was harsh in saying he should be sold - a gut response maybe - but I do think that we need to build a team around what we have. Granted, its not a team of world-beaters, but we cannot assume, just because we wasted 35million, that every transfer window will be like a game of Football Manager. We have spent a lot on these players, we have to find a system that makes them work. Right now, I think Suarez is a lone-star and he doesnt bring much out of other players. Having said that, when he, Bellamy and Maxi were on form some months back, the team looked amazing.

  29. This is what used to happen with Babel under Benitez as well. Whenever he did play a half decent game, and Carroll has only played half decent games, he was back on the bench again. I think it totally ruins strikers.

  30. The problems have been there all season - just exposed when we lose. As someone previously pointed out we looked our best and most threatening when maxi, bellamy and suarez played together. however maxi has not even made the bench in recent games. Unless injured i cant think of a valid reason.

    Our summer signings have been poor and when you take into account the money spent they have been shocking.At least with Rafa he bought in quality. Signing english players is good if they are in the beckham league but not when you spend 40 million on downing and henderson.

    To say players are bought for the future is sensible when your present is sweeping all before it - but we are competing with the likes of norwich and swansea. We would be way out of the race for 4th had arsenal or chelsea shown consistency.

    We disenchanted miereles and sold him on, aquilani we loaned out babbel we sold for peanuts. And we have spent 75 million on the alledged elite of english football? Kenny or Comolli have made massive blunders. I doubt we will be lucky to get 20 million for all 3 now.

    We may win the carling cup but that should not hide the fact that we are not competing for the league simply because we arent good enough.

    The writing is on the wall for KK's reign - and i say that with a heavy heart as i waited 20 years for him to return. but its been a disaster. I expected him to be the same who brought in aldridge, barnes and beardsley.The season of 1988 we played the most amazing football.

    Instead Kenny is bringing in players of the calibre of speedie and rosenthal.