Ian Holloway’s Blackpool produced the result of this or any other season yesterday by beating Premiership giants Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. It was all the newly promoted team deserved as their adventurous approach caused many problems for Roy Hodgson’s struggling side.
If anyone thought that Liverpool was in a false position before last weekend they will have had to reassess their thinking. Blackpool’s victory was earned well. The Seasiders played without fear and took the game to their much vaunted hosts.
Blackpool raced into a two goal lead thanks to strikes from Charlie Adam and Luke Varney before the much maligned Sotirios Krygiakos headed Liverpool back into the game.
Both sides started the match in the relegation zone with almost every pundit going for a handy Liverpool win. That train of thought was quickly dispelled as Blackpool tore into the hosts, perhaps sensing a great victory.
That confidence grew after half an hour as Charlie Adam converted a penalty after Glen Johnson had tripped Luke Varney. It was all the Seasiders deserved as, quite unbelievably, Pepe Reina was the busier of the two ‘keepers on show.
Blackpool’s lead was doubled right on the stroke of half time as the excellent Varney produced a smashing finish after latching onto Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s pass.
Amazingly, Holloway’s side found themselves 2-0 up and literally cruising at Anfield.
It was the stuff of dreams for Blackpool’s boisterous travelling contingent who out-sung the home support on many occasions throughout the match.
Roy Hodgson is already coming under intense pressure. His odds to be the next Premiership manager to be sacked were slashed last week and his cause was not helped by Fernando Torres limping off after just ten minutes.
From there Liverpool lacked any kind of penetration what-so-ever. The Reds midfield lacked ambition and looked bereft. Most worrying, Liverpool looked terrified. Having found themselves in the relegation zone for the first time in living memory, the Reds seemed too frozen by the implications of a poor result.
As it was the 10/1 outsiders looked more comfortable than the home side and played with an abandon that is a joy to watch. Having acknowledged that they will face days where they will be beaten by cricket-scores, Ian Holloway has been a refreshing breeze for football. Remember, this is the same side that lost 4-0 to Chelsea and 6-0 to Arsenal.
Make no mistake about it, on paper, Blackpool was dead and buried before they even took to the pitch today. But Holloway, if nothing else, has installed a confidence that allows his team to play without fear of any kind, no matter what foe they are facing.
Unlike Liverpool who seems a side so bereft of belief and confidence that they now find themselves in the middle of a very real relegation battle.
It is no exaggeration to say that Liverpool are in the middle of the fight for their lives and the very same players that played with superb confidence in the Champions League are now playing like men who are frozen by the threat of relegation.
If you think that the situation will get better quickly then look away now.
Liverpool face the very real threat of administration and should the seemingly inevitable happen they will find themselves on minus points with one quarter of the season gone with no money to spend and the looming shadow of being asset stripped to finance heavy debt.
The main problem that Liverpool has is that they hold no fear for any team anymore. In the past the very thought of the famous club in red was enough to beat most opponents before a ball was even kicked.
Sadly, for Liverpool fans, those days are gone.
Liverpool now possesses a poor side. Hodgson has inherited Rafael Benitez’s sins in the transfer market and now finds himself in a real mess.
He has no money to spend and while his summer signings looked good on paper they have not proved to be the panacea that most Reds fans thought they would be.
Now Liverpool find themselves with an average side whose star players are struggling but who are still a big catch for opponents.
In short, every team play against Liverpool like it is a cup final, but the Reds simply don’t have the players to match them.
This has been the worst start to a season for Liverpool since 1965 and it shows no signs of improving quickly.
Roy Hodgson has the toughest job in football. Liverpool is a mess both on and off the field and shows no signs of pulling out of either death spiral in the near future.