By Enda Gaffney
Kenny Dalglish’s first full season in charge since 1990 promises to be a defining one for the Reds. Our new owners have entrusted him with restoring our greatness even when they probably considered recruiting a younger manager – thankfully, the owners listened to the fans and King Kenny is back in the dugout.
So what can we realistically expect for the season ahead? Well I expect a lot but as a realist I just can’t see us winning the title. What I crave for this season is that we achieve progress both on and off the pitch.
Kenny has instilled a new atmosphere around the club, one that is best summed up with a twinkle in the canny Scotsman eye. He loves Liverpool and Liverpool love him, he is a club legend and automatically gains the respect of the players both southerners and foreigners. His post match conferences in the second half of the season always showed him in good humour telling it as it is and not engaging in manager speak.
It was Kenny’s relaxed attitude and instant respect amongst the players that was the reason why we sprung up the table in the second half of the season. Fringe players like Meireles and Maxi Rodriguez started performing on a regular basis and youngsters were introduced into the first team delivering assured performances. Kenny instilled confidence around the club and it paid off. Whatever the long-term merits of certain players being at the club is for another day – you work with what you’ve got.
His first transfer window was eventful with two big name strikers arriving to the club. One was expected whilst the other though welcomed was slightly unexpected as well. In true Liverpool tradition we can again talk about a strike force worthy of words!
Luis Suarez will be a Liverpool legend, mark my words! Not many players come from the Dutch or any European league for that matter and settle in as quickly as he has done.
May 9th 2011 is probably a day I will remember for a while as it was the evening that Suarez became my new Liverpool FC hero. Away to Fulham at Craven Cottage was unplayable – one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in the Premier League – even Mark Hughes, a manager who has been around the Premier League said as much that Luis was on a different level. Drooling over! Back to Kenny – he deserves a bit of credit in helping this player settle in so quickly.
Onto our favourite Geordie, well frankly Dalglish (and Ferguson) is probably the only manager best equipped to realize Andy Carroll’s potential as a striker – he will work with him and encourage him. Carroll knows that his words of encouragement will mean a lot more than coming from somebody like Alan Pardew or Sam Allardyce.
This summer’s transfer window has given Dalglish the opportunity to bring three big names into the club – Henderson, Downing and Adam – and based on the Scotsman track record one would think that they will settle into the squad and quickly challenge for starting places.
Yeah we all know that we would like to see certain players moved on and more big names join the club but that’s not the way football clubs work, (well maybe Manchester City) it is about building blocks for a solid successful future with young quality players. Strength in depth in our squad is what we need to strive for – there will be different players suited to different occasions.
Off the pitch, the new owners need to get working on Stanley Park and building a sustainable future for the club. Arsenal’s revenue from corporate boxes is nearly as high as the entire they had from Highbury. Anyway, FSG are businessmen with success from sporting franchises in North America so I expect them to make progress sooner rather than later. For them it seems to be all about balance which is fair enough considering the last owners who just seemed to take and take.
We’re getting back to the top but this season we need to see all our players performing for Kenny and dying for the shirt. From belief we will get results and finishing as high as 2nd could be on the cards this season setting us up for the title next year. There is no way we’re going backwards in Dalglish’s first full season in charge.
As always the key is King Kenny!