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Kenny makes cute move in turning to Clark
Kenny Dalgish resisted the temptation to surround himself with Liverpool “old boys” on Monday when Steve Clarke was named as first team coach at Anfield.
It was an astute decision by Dalglish to hire his fellow Scot whose background work at Chelsea as assistant to the high-profile Jose Mourinho was a factor in the London club’s back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.
Liverpool fans were probably expecting some familiar faces to re-appear in the fabled Liverpool boot room, and that may still happen as the list of former players offering their views on the way forward is a long one.
It was hardly the return Dalglish would have wanted at Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday as his side went down 1-0 to a dubious penalty and had talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle.
However, Dalglish will know that the important work starts on Wednesday when Liverpool travel to Blackpool for a re-arranged Premier League fixture that was snowed off when Roy Hodgson was still in charge.
That match will tell Dalglish much more about the challenge he faces in the next few months.
With Gerrard soon suspended and Jamie Carragher injured, he will want to see some backbone from some of the club’s senior players. Fernando Torres has too often “gone missing” this season and Dalglish will expect the Spaniard to show the same workrate he praised him for against United.
That said, Dalglish, who has been in the background at Anfield working with the academy, will know full well that Torres alone cannot revitalise the club.
Dalglish’s most important decisions will come before the transfer window closes. With some big-name players likely to be off-loaded, all eyes will be on who the Scot can attract.
Too many of Liverpool’s signings in recent years have been mediocre and Dalglish will be expected to address that.
However, since he was last manager of the club in 1991, the football landscape has changed beyond all recognition and quite how much sway he still has is doubtful.
The likes of West Ham United midfielder Scott Parker could be a target, along with Tottenham Hotspur’s Niko Kranjcar and possibly even David Bentley.
While Dalglish is still an iconic figure at Liverpool, he has put himself firmly in the firing line by taking the job.
Victory at Blackpool on Wednesday would be a good start and would lift the mood at Anfield but quite whether Dalglish is in for the long haul is unclear.
An upsurge in results would no doubt cause a clamour among fans for another reign of King Kenny, although some may view him an inspirational figure to hold the fort before some serious rebuilding starts under a new manager in the summer.
PHOTO: Liverpool fans hold a banner which reads “King Kenny returns” for new Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish before their FA Cup soccer match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England January 9, 2011. REUTERS/Phil Noble