Kenny Dalglish could be dethroned when Liverpool take on arch rivals Everton in their FA Cup semi-final on 14 April.
It was only a few months ago that his followers were chanting “Long live the King”, but it is league championships and Champions League football the Kop crave, not the Carling Cup and Europa League qualification.
But with an acrimonious defeat by Newcastle United on Sunday, Dalglish’s side have now lost six of their last seven Premier League games, leaving the Scot’s credibility and authority in tatters.
Even the most ardent Reds supporters must admit, if Roy Hodgson was at the helm right now, there would be a clamour for his swift departure.
Yet Dalglish has a free pass at Liverpool. He is a hero and is staunchly loyal to his players – but whether he is beyond the realm of reproach and criticism is now open to debate rather than a slammed-shut question.
Indeed, it is FA Cup or bust. If they fall to Everton, the already wobbling crown perched on Dalglish’s head will fall to the ground quicker than Andy Carroll did on Sunday.
Liverpool are back-pedalling as both Manchester clubs and Newcastle are shooting in the right direction.
If this alarming trend continues, the Reds could be overtaken by a resurgent West Brom – managed by Hodgson – it would be quite the irony!
Dalglish was parachuted in by owner John Henry to replace the ignominy of a decadent empire with the harmony of a flourishing force of nature.
With £133m spent since January 2011, a top-four finish is unlikely, and with only one more season until Uefa’s financial fair play rules come into effect, Dalglish faces a stiff challenge to import quality into his crumbling side.
Eight points from 11 league games in 2012 marks the club’s worst home form since 1953-54 – not to mention a £35m ‘talent’ storming down the tunnel after another goal-less display.
These are turbulent and stormy times at Anfield. The King needs his old guard of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to bring home FA Cup glory to placate a growing tension.
Dalglish needs the loyalty of his troops now more than ever – or he could be facing a premature end to his reign.
Liverpool were dire and Carroll’s dive was a disgrace, while Pepe Reina was foolish for squaring up like he did but the real villain of Sunday’s clash at St James’ Park was James Perch.
The defender’s behaviour was much worse than embarrassing, it was quite simply shameful.
Gone are the days when we could point the finger at our friends on the continent for their playacting and gamesmanship while mistakenly claiming the moral high ground.
Perch is an Englishman through and through and yet his feigning of injury to get Reina sent off came close to rivalling Rivaldo at the 2002 World Cup in its premeditated and overly dramatic reaction.
The FA must see sense and make an example of Perch and ban him retroactively, this sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated.
In fact, with Carroll’s dive and Perch’s swoon it was a pretty dark day for the Premier League and hopefully their antics won’t be repeated if the FA act.
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