It’s all about winning trophies isn’t it, so you’d have to say winning the FA Cup on top of the Carling Cup would add up to very successful season for Liverpool. Two trophies in Kenny’s first season would be something special. However, should they fail to get a top 4 spot, which seems to be the reality right now, then the true measure of the quality of the team will still be in question, especially with their inconsistent league form. It seems Liverpool can raise their game for the big matches but they can’t do the same when they meet teams like Sunderland. It’s a very frustrating and telling scenario.
There’s no doubt if Liverpool win the FA Cup it would put them back at the forefront of English football with two of the three domestic trophies on the mantelpiece. It would also mean Kenny’s job would be secure for at least another season which, before the last two wins over Everton and Stoke, was starting to be questioned even more. These two critical wins have taken the pressure right off Kenny and with another trip to Wembley for the semi-final he will be the first to agree that winning the FA Cup means the season will have produce more than most would have expected.
I’ve previously written that winning the Premiership has to be the goal each and every season and that finishing in the top four cannot be the new measure of success, although still essential for a team of Liverpool’s stature along with a lucrative Champions League spot. If Liverpool’s only goal is a top four finish then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that they won’t win the league. Why? Because getting a point at home or away starts to become acceptable. The occasional loss is deemed to be inevitable and shouldn’t impact the goal of finishing in the top 4. But having the goal of winning the league means you approach every game with the view you have to win it. This is what the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have done every season. They may fail to win the Premiership but they go into each match knowing the result will impact their chances of winning the league. At the beginning of this season, even after spending £100m, it was clear the goal for Liverpool was not the Premiership title but a top four finish and we have seriously failed in achieving that. The squad itself has come under criticism for the lack of quality but with Dalglish today announcing there will be no new players coming to Anfield in the summer unless they are outstanding then this is the squad Liverpool will be taking into next season. It seems Dalglish is extremely happy with the performance of his players this season but I actually don’t believe we won’t see any major new signings in the summer and that we will in fact see several of the first team squad sold as the project of rebuilding Liverpool into a quality team capable of winning the Premiership continues.
Adding the FA Cup to the Carling Cup will be a fantastic achievement for Liverpool this season but if we don’t win the FA Cup then the shine will be diminished and improvement in the squad will become paramount.