Liverpool locked in dark age

 

Liverpool football club is seemingly built to endure for as long as the pyramids. But times change. It is more than seven years since Liverpool won the championship; two decades ago such a drought seemed unthinkable.

Continuity has long been a watchword at Anfield, so here was rich irony with David James making his 200th consecutive appearance in all games. Continuity of the second-rate.

It would be unfair to heap all of Liverpool's defensive confusions on the former Watford goalkeeper, but Evans's refusal to recognise the problems and act decisively has surely played a part in the club's lack of success.

The old boot room ran out of talent and ideas years ago; Graeme Souness, an outsider albeit a former Red, was the wrong man to replace Kenny Dalglish, and the 1994 knee-jerk return to yesterday's man Evans was equally misguided.

Evans is nobody's fool, and far more articulate than Bob Paisley, but whereas Shankly and Paisley had footballing intelligence seeping out of every pore, Evans appears either perversely feebleminded or stubbornly dogmatic. How else can you explain the continued frailty of Liverpool's defence, and his gross inability to rectify matters in the face of the obvious?

He has twice in succession lost them a place in Europe by employing the wrong team or the wrong tactics, yet the board seem reluctant to act.

Coventry should have been thrashed once they conceded the only goal by the brilliant Michael Owen. "We got nervous," said Evans. Liverpool? Nervous? Simply not good enough, Mr Evans.