Dalglish needs a quick fix to hint at hope for future
Kenny Dalglish may not be a long-term solution as Liverpool manager but his appointment will give hope to disgruntled fans and provide a fillip to the club’s underperforming players.
The Liverpool hero has been thrust back into the limelight after 10 years out of management and will lead the club out at Old Trafford for an FA Cup clash against Manchester United on Sunday after replacing Roy Hodgson at the helm.
Hodgson’s position at the club had become untenable as results began badly and never picked up with the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool all inflicting embarrassing defeats.
The fans had turned from silent sceptics to voicing loud concerns from the terraces while some high-profile players looked poor imitations of the ones who took Liverpool to within a whisker of the Premier League title less than two years ago.
Dalglish, at 59, does not fit the profile of the young and hungry technocrat, the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, were reportedly keen to appoint.
But FSG will hope the stop-gap appointment will lift the club out of their current malaise and maybe persuade the likes of Pepe Reina, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard that a brighter future lies around the corner.
Many armchair pundits will question the sense in giving the job to a man who walked out of Anfield in 1991 having grown weary of the pressure and suffering with the emotional effects of the Hillsborough stadium disaster.
You would be hard-pressed, however, to find an available manager whose CV is a match for Dalglish who won three league titles in his first spell at Liverpool and another at Blackburn.
After 13 years as a player and a manager at Anfield, he also understands the psychology of the club and its fans, who had grown increasingly frustrated with Hodgson’s mediocre expectations.
Two words in Roy Hodgson’s final media-managed interview on the eve of his sacking showed he never really understood what it took to be Liverpool manager.
Beating Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday, he said, would be a ‘remarkable coup’.
The club were rumoured to weighing up a move for a young coach around whom they could build a new dynasty, with the likes of Andre Villas-Boas at Porto or Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund named as potential successors to Hodgson.
If Dalglish manages to arrest the current slump and set Liverpool on a steady course up the league table, the club may find the clamour to have him installed on a permanent basis too hard to resist.