“Brought in to stabilise the club” were the words used by Liverpool owner John Henry when Dalglish was brought in as the Caretaker Manager in January 2011. Now well into his 3 year permanent contract, it seems that everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club has become disgruntled with this continuing brief. The fans are instead insisting upon progress… and why not?
MouthLondon takes a look back at Dalglish’s distinguished career and more importantly, his first full season at the helm. Should the Kop settle for a top six finish this season and a possible domestic cup title, or should they instead be demanding something more?
…167 goals in 322 appearances,
Despite wanting to join rivals Rangers, Dalglish began his playing career for Celtic in 1967, scoring 167 goals in 322 appearances, breaking into the Scottish National team in 1972.
After signing for Liverpool in 1977, Dalglish formed a potent partnership with fellow striker Ian Rush before becoming the player-manager in 1985. In his first season in charge, he guided the club to its first double in which they triumphed over close rivals Everton in both the league and FA Cup. He was the manager at the time of the Hillsborough disaster and was commended for his compassion and commitment to attending the funerals of the deceased.
…turned them into the league winners…
After years of unrivaled success in Merseyside, Dalglish resigned as manager, before taking over at another Northern club, Blackburn Rovers. Not only did he lead the team into the first season of the Premier League, but in just 2 years turned them into the league winners of 1994-95 season. A feat which has still only been achieved by 4 clubs.
Following a subsequent managerial position at Newcastle and a spell as Director of Football at Celtic, Dalglish took up a role at Liverpool’s Youth Academy in 2009. When Benitez was sacked, and the club were amidst the relegation places under new manager Roy Hodgson, calls for King Kenny’s return took force.
…plethora of English talent.
So what has the great Scotsman done in his second spell in charge? His most notable affair to date was the sale of the fruitless Fernando Torres to Chelsea for £50m, replacing the former talisman with a plethora of English talent. Downing, Henderson and most notably Andy Carroll were brought in, totaling an expenditure of over £100m. Coupled with another addition, the Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, Dalglish provided the fans with plenty of talent, but many say little consideration was given for the formation and cohesion of the squad.
However, the quality of Liverpool’s football has not been the only thing in question this season. Dalglish has had to battle with a high-profile racial abuse resulting in an 8 game ban for the Uruguayan Suarez and the ongoing criticism of his lone replacement forward. Andy Carroll, who has only netted 6 times since joining the club was even linked with a last-minute swap for Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez on deadline day. The introduction of another highly controversial South American surely wouldn’t have done the squad or their manager any favours.
…fulfilled his brief of stabilising the ship…
Yet with Liverpool’s triumph on Saturday over fierce rivals Manchester United, has the tide turned for Kenny and his boys? They have set up a date in the Carling Cup Final with Championship side Cardiff City, and secured a home tie in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Currently sitting in 6th place in the Premier League, just four points behind 4th place Chelsea, there can be little argument that Kenny has fulfilled his brief of stabilising the ship in a somewhat tumultuous season. With a potential trophy under their belt and automatic entry into Europe, everything is set up for the boys in red to perform to their capacity next season. If Kenny can hold out for Carroll to come into form, then the 2012-2013 season could be a stormer for the red half of Merseyside… if only they’ll wait.