In the build-up to the FA Cup Final, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was quick to point out that lifting the trophy would represent a successful season for the Anfield outfit.
The Reds won the Carling Cup in February but Dalglish’s side were unable to add the FA Cup to their trophy cabinet as Didier Drogba’s goal earned Chelsea a deserved 2-1 win.
They were second best until, at 2-0 down, substitute Andy Carroll pulled a goal back, prompting a late fightback.
But Chelsea held on, despite claims that a late Carroll header had crossed the line, and Dalglish was left to reflect on what might have been.
His side have been terrible in the Premier League, and are staring at their worst home campaign since the 1948-49 season.
Their target was said to be Champions League qualification – they are well short of that.
Dalglish argued that winning two trophies would define a successful year, Chelsea have put paid to that.
The best marker of a successful team is where they finish in the table over 38 games, and Liverpool will finish lower than the sixth-place they managed last season.
Dalglish deserves has not come out of this campaign well both on and off the pitch – his contempt for the media affords him little sympathy, while his forays into the transfer market and his conduct during the Luis Suárez racism row have bewildered many.
A Champions League final and an FA Cup triumph – time for Roman Abramovich to give Roberto Di Matteo the Chelsea job on a permanent basis.
Admittedly, Chelsea look like they won’t finish in the top four but the blame for that cannot be laid at Di Matteo’s feet.
Chelsea looked dead and buried under André Villas-Boas and were it not for the Italian then it’s highly unlikely they would be in with a shout for a possible cup double.
The players all seem to get on with Di Matteo and the egos of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole appear sated, which not many managers have been able to do.
Results and performances on the pitch have been outstanding overall, especially given the resources at his disposal.
But if Chelsea lose in Munich later this month, then it is conceivable Abramovich will look elsewhere for Villas-Boas’ successor and cast Di Matteo back to the shadows.
But Di Matteo won’t be fussed, because he will surely have no end of his suitors lining up for his signature.
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