I have to admit I was in the minority group of supporters who were happy at the appointment of Roy Hodgson as Liverpool manager. There was so much speculation about who we were going to bring in to replace Rafa and high on the list was Dalglish. I like some fans wondered if he had been away from management for too long and I questioned wether he would still have the hunger and desire for the job, not forgetting how football has changed in recent years too.
I have always had great respect for Hodgson who has a wealth of experience and there can be no doubt he is a very good manager. His work at Fulham was spectacular topped of by a European Final. I don’t think Hodgson ever got the full backing of the Liverpool supporters during his short term in charge and I believe a lot of this was to do with Dalglish being overlooked in the selection process.
Hodgson didn’t have the best of starts to the season results wise to help him win over the fans but the biggest problem was surely the messy takeover that overshadowed football on the pitch. When the new owners were finally installed, the club found fresh hope for the future. But unfortunately for Hodgson the results on the park never really improved as Liverpool languished in the bottom half of the table.
Then in January Hodgson’s short term in charge came to an end and Dalglish returned. Like I said I was happy with the appointment of Roy Hodgson but things just didn’t work out for him, there are so many reasons or excuses we could make for his failure but in the end its a results based business and he never got the results needed for a club like Liverpool.
Dalglish’s appointment was a brilliant move by the owners as Dalglish is a living legend at this club. His arrival gave the whole club and supporters a massive lift. Amazingly his first game in charge was against old rivals Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and although we lost 1-0 to another star performance from United’s 12th man Howard Webb there was a sudden change in the attitude of the players and their commitment especially with the terrible start we had and the loss of Gerrard in the first half having to play with ten men for the remainder of the match.
Dalglish has made a remarkable transformation to the club fortunes in such a short space of time with a miraculous climb up the league table taking us up to 5th position at my time of writing. Since Kenny took charge only Chelsea have won more league points than us which proves how good a run we have been on.
There has been so much talk about needing new players in and the players we have at the club are not good enough, and I was one of them, but in recent times I’m not sure we need to bring in as many players as I first thought.
Similar to Dalglish’s first spell in charge was the departure of star striker Torres which he could not prevent, like Ian Rush’s departure to Juventus. But like then when he brought another prolific strker to the club in John Aldridge he acted swiftly in signing Luis Suarez and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll, and to be fair we haven’t looked back or missed Torres.
For the last few years we have been so reliant on Torres and Gerrard and if any or both of them have been out of the side then we would go into a game with a defeatest attitude. But in this short space of time Dalglish has got this team looking totally different.
Even with Gerrard out of the side he hasn’t been missed as Dalglish has stressed the most important players at the club are the ones available for selection. Lucas and Jay Spearing who I have both been critical of in the past are bossing the midfield in games recently and Martin Skrtel who I have never really trusted has been immense not puting a foot wrong. Glenn Johnson is also looking like an accomplished defender where not so long ago I think I could have skinned him. Dirk Kuyt is more involved in everything good we do and not just running about like a headless chicken and his strike rate is as good as I can remember. Dalglish has introduced young Robinson and Flanagan into the team probably sooner than he would have wanted to but they have stepped up to the plate with confidence not looking out of place, and Martin Kelly was looking like one of the best right-backs in the league until his unfortunate injury at West Ham.
I could go on about the improvement of many more individuals in this last few months but it is obvious Dalglish and his coaching staff have made a significant difference to the players. He keeps speaking about the great attitude and workrate the players show in training but he has installed this belief and work ethic to the players and he deserves great credit for this.
When I watch Liverpool play I see similarities to the good old days with the pass and move philosophy that worked so well and with the players looking so much more confident in possession instead of treating the ball as a hot potato like earlier in the season. Also I have noticed Dalglish has us pressing higher up the park when not in possession with a similar look to how Barcelona play showing tremendous workrate to initalise this tactic.
I am just disappointed this season is drawing to a close and I wonder what we could have achieved if Dalglish had been there from the start of the season. But what I’m sure of is that the future looks bright for us and I can’t wait to see what wheelings and dealings Kenny makes in the summer. Next season is going to be a really exciting one for Liverpool supporters as this last few months has just given us a taster.
It must only be a matter of time before Kenny is given a long term contract and I’m sure the owners will give him their full support to improve the club.
To the best supporters in the world.
written by Jamie McLaughlin blog at http://theliverword.blogspot.com/