Dalglish defends Reds displays
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists there is "nothing drastically wrong" despite another performance which drew a blank and resulted in yet more dropped points at home. Yesterday's 1-0 defeat to West Brom, courtesy of Peter Odemwingie's 75th-minute goal completely against the run of play, was not one of those occasions where the Reds ran out of ideas against doughty opponents.
The Baggies survived a barrage, particularly in the second half, as Dalglish's side had 28 shots - 12 on target - but failed to find the net. This time it was a combination of goalkeeper Ben Foster, some last-ditch defending and the frame of the goal (twice) which was the source of frustration.
Dalglish has run out of answers to explain why his team have scored just 20 times in 17 home games and dropped 27 points at Anfield this season. But the Scot focused on the positives as his side missed the chance to regain seventh place from near-neighbours Everton.
"You don't create the opportunities we created and the panic we created if we are not doing something right," he said. "But it is hard and it is great credit to the players they keep persevering and pushing on. We are not trying to say we are happy with what has gone on but there is nothing drastically wrong with what we have done - we have just not got the points we have deserved.
"You can say the result was not right but you cannot say it was a bad performance. It may sound repetitive but it is pretty accurate. We wouldn't use it as an excuse. We just have to keep going, take another blow on the chin and come out again."
This was probably the most one-sided of all Liverpool's home matches this season and Dalglish and his players can feel rightly aggrieved at their failure to win. However, their lack of a killer instinct up front is by no means a one-off, and for every dominant display against West Brom there have been many more less effective games against the likes of Sunderland, Stoke, Swansea, Norwich and Aston Villa - and they are just some of the drawn games.
"Pepe (Jose Reina) had two good saves in the first half but after that we were almost camped in their half until they scored," said Dalglish. "All they need is a bit of luck. They say it evens itself out so I hope I am here when it does even itself out."
West Brom's victory was a sweet moment for manager Roy Hodgson, sacked by the Reds in January 2011 for a run of results not dissimilar to those currently afflicting Dalglish. The difference now is the man at the Anfield helm is a club icon, both as a player and a boss, and the landscape has changed considerably under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group - for whom Hodgson worked less than three months.
"It is a very different club and team to the one I took over before the change of ownership," was the assessment of the Baggies boss, who received a friendly welcome despite him never being a Kop favourite. "Okay, my time didn't work out as well as people would have liked or how I would have liked but I would have been disappointed if that had been in some way held against me.
"I think most people understood the circumstances in which I took over. At that time the club was maybe not in the state it is today, which is a lot stronger not least for having spent a lot of money to improve the team and bring in some quality players," Hodgson said.
"There is a gulf between the two teams: not least in the amount of money which can be spent in assembling the team and getting the quality of players required. People like Luis Suarez, especially in the form he was in, and Andy Carroll are going to ask a lot of questions of you and for a lot of our players out there it was a tough ask for them."
Hodgson singled out his match-winner for praise, noting the recent progress he has made having fallen out of favour at one point this season. "Peter is a quality player but we don't always get out of him as much as we think we should do," he added. "But yesterday and in the last few games he has been doing so much more for us in terms of his all-round work-rate."