I received the news about Roy Hodgson’s resignation, axe, refer to it whichever way you feel appropriate via SMS from a fellow Liverpool fanatic (thanks Colin mate, you made my day). I was driving at the time and had to park the car as an emotional sense of elation overwhelmed me and I wanted to know more. Roy Hodgson and Liverpool had truly parted ways and Kenny Dalglish was requested to take over managerial responsibilities roughly twenty four hours before the FA Cup showdown between the Reds of Merseyside and those of Manchester. It is fair to say that the majority of Liverpool fans were impatiently waiting for such news since the final whistle blew at Eawood Park which effectively brought an end to Hodgson’s stint at Anfield. Roy’s last words were truly touching which is characteristic of an honourable person who preferred to praise the club, admit in hindsight that the job at hand was too much to handle and wish us all the best of luck. Hodgson has come in for a tremendous amount of stick; he has been mocked about foolishly by a minority of fans. He has, however, been instrumental in his demise and it will take some time for him to get over the last months in his football career.
Back at home and I sought to listen to live coverage of happenings at Anfield via Sky Sports News. Several pundits were being interviewed at the time, including Paul Merson. What struck me (nevermind the blatant attack on Glenn Johnson by Merson) were comments suggesting Hodgson was never given funds to improve the team so he had to resort to average class players such as Paul Konchesky and Poulsen. Hodgson was put in place to stabilize a ship, he knew this outright. He was never going to be given huge funds to rebuild a team; that simply was not on. With the limited transfer sums he had available he brought over one classy player in Miereles but wasted a few millions on Konchesky and Poulsen. I did highlight that all managers fail at some point in the transfer market and Roy Hodgson is no different; so I accept that although Hodgson’s intentions were indeed genuine, Konchesky and Poulsen were never going to be first team players. Hodgson identified this fault with Poulsen and the ex-Juventus player has played a peripheral figure during the last months. The same cannot be said about Paul Konchesky who was allowed to play again and again – by Hodgson – despite putting in pitiful performances. The point is, managers are human, they may err in the transfer market, but there’s always remedy and in this particular case it was in the form of Fabio Aurelio. Hodgson persisted in utilizing Konchesky which proved fatal in many games.
This is all history now and although Roy Hodgson’s brief spell at Liverpool was dotted with controversy, we apologize for giving him little support (we hardly could, given the circumstances), thank him for his efforts and wish him the best of luck. Onto the fantastic news that Liverpool’s American owners have wisely given Kenny Dalglish interim responsibility to guide Liverpool throughout the course of what remains of this season. I am particularly excited about King Kenny taking over as it gives me the chance to support a team influenced and managed by a person highly regarded and unequivocally rated as Liverpool’s best player ever. Preposterous as it may sound, Dalglish to many Liverpool fans is what spiritual leaders are to the faithful, an inspiration, a hero to look up to, someone genuinely respected and loved. Dalglish embodies such charisma, his eyes and charm say it all. Born on March 4, 1951, Kenny was successful as a player with both Celtic and Liverpool. The King won three European cups with the Reds, having been recruited by Bob Paisely in 1977 for a record fee, at the time, of £440,000. Following the controversial events at Heysel in 1985, Dalglish took over as player-manager, a role which he excelled in. He parted company with Liverpool and football in 1990 after the depressive, psychological trauma endured during and after the Hillsborough disaster. Twenty years or so later, the King has been appointed as Manager of such a grand institution which is Liverpool Football Club.
Dalglish will know that the team, rather than the club needs to be realigned first to get back on the stabilization track and then guided to success. Stabilization and success, two words which effectively boil down to (a) decreasing the defeat ratio which currently stands at roughly one defeat every two games in the Premiership and (b) to get on a steady run of victories which will ensure a positive end to a season which can now be looked at from a different angle, one which should see the team dig deep and grind out results. Dalglish has got little time to make it happen for Liverpool but he is, without a shadow of a doubt, capable of implementing a winning formula firstly by instilling awareness, a sense of pride, passion and invincibility. Characteristics which are lacking in a Liverpool squad which must be partially blamed for the inconsistent run of results as of late. It is unfortunate that so few players have the character to pick themselves up, move forward and give it all during the 90 minutes. Gerrard is one player that fulfills such requirements and Dalglish will know that his captain will be pivotal more than ever in this dark period to elevate the morale of the team on the field of play. We’ve seen Stevie do this many times before and those around him respond to the trigger so until the Liverpool team is injected with new players – who share such qualities – Gerrard will have to tug everyone into one bulldozing force and this has to be done starting from this afternoon’s FA Cup tie against Utd. Stevie’s role is even greater now due to the absence of the undisputed motivator on the field, Jamie Carragher. If Dalglish could wave a magic wand, it would be to have Carra back in the squad. This is naturally impossible so Kenny will have to rely on other characters such as Pepe Reina and Dirk Kuyt to ensure the team is bonded on the field of play. He will also ensure Fernando Torres is mentally up for each game and will probably request for Liverpool’s number 9 to stop cutting a frustrating figure. We all know Fernando is a World-class proposition so all he needs to do is put his mind at it and start scoring goals.
The game against Man. Utd will be a fierce encounter. Players will want to impress on both sides, and particularly Liverpool will be up for it from minute zero. There is no better way to get back on track than to beat the old enemy at Old Trafford. Today kicks off an intense rivalry between two managers, Dalglish and Fergie who share similar traits. Both have similar win ratios as manager, although Fergie’s figure is over a large sample of games hence more factual. Dalglish will be a hit and as Liverpool fans we can now safely conclude that the torturous period is over and the only way must surely be up.
Good luck Kenny, good luck Reds.
See you next time.