Left field

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Two trophies may still prove too little for Liverpool

April 16, 2012

By Phil O’Connor

Andy Carroll’s winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton might have put Liverpool on course for a second trophy, but even if they go on to win the competition it will still represent a poor return for the season.

In most major football nations, the national cup competition comes in a very distant second to the league in terms of importance, but for years England bucked that trend and the FA Cup retained huge prestige.

Since the dawn of the Champions League, managers in England have been more focused on achieving fourth place in the league than Wembley glory, but it still retains a special place in the hearts of English fans.

The same might not be said for Liverpool’s American owners, the Fenway Sports Group – having spent a rumoured 300 million pounds to buy the club, they will have expected an awful lot more than two trips to Wembley for their money.

Despite their huge investment, it quickly became apparent that this Liverpool team weren’t likely to bring an end to the club’s 22-year wait for a league title. Their dismal league form has knocked them out of contention for the Champions League spots, and even if winning the League Cup and qualifying for the final of the FA Cup represents some success, it’s hardly what the red half of Merseyside recalls from manager Kenny Dalglish’s time as a player.

Back when he played centre forward for them in the late 70s and on through the 80s, the diet of league and European success was almost constant as Liverpool dominated the English game. Their last league triumph came with him at the helm as manager in his first stint in charge.

They may have won the Champions League in 2005, but it is the lack of that league title that hurts most, especially given Manchester United have eclipsed them as England’s most successful club.

With five games left to play, they are in eighth place, 23 points behind bitter rivals Manchester United and one place behind city rivals Everton. Expect changes at Anfield this close season, regardless of how it goes fo Dalglish, Carroll and the rest of the expensive yet error-prone squad at Wembley in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

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