Reuters Soccer Blog
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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.
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.
The Liverpool owners’ decision to use this weekend’s break for the FA Cup as a chance to sit back and ponder the club’s future under Roy Hodgson is a rare patient act in the hasty world of soccer but it might not end up doing the manager any favours.
The Anfield club, just four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, face rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round of the Cup on Sunday after another week of speculation and supporter unrest surrounding Hodgson’s future.
When New England Sports Ventures finally bought Liverpool in October new owner John W Henry did not have to wait long to understand the enormity of the challenge he faces to turn around the fortunes of England’s most successful club.
Just days after the deal was clinched and a wave of optimism swept through Anfield, Liverpool’s inadequacies on the pitch were laid bare in a 2-0 defeat at Merseyside rivals Everton.
The appointment of Damien Comolli as Liverpool’s director of football strategy represents a step into the unknown for the Anfield club, with statistical analysis likely to replace the traditional eye for talent in the transfer market.
Comolli, like the club’s new owner John Henry, is a devotee of sabermetrics, a form of sporting number crunching used to judge the value of players.
With their new owners perched in the stands and the shackles of their long-running takeover saga finally cast off, the Merseyside Derby was meant to be the dawn of a new era for Liverpool.
Instead the 2-0 defeat served to highlight the depth of the problems engulfing the club and under-pressure boss Roy Hodgson.
Liverpool supporters will be glad to be possibly getting rid of their current U.S. owners but probably did not envisage another set of Americans taking over.
The board of have agreed the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the owners of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
In the heady days of Istanbul and Athens when Liverpool fans considered anything less than a trip to the Champions League final a disappointing campaign, the Kop would regularly belt out: “We have the best midfield in the world.”
It was the formidable midfield combination of Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and later Javier Mascherano that spurred the Anfield faithful into song.
Liverpool’s current plight was laid bare on Monday when they were humbled 3-0 by Manchester City — a result which left Roy Hodgson’s side fourth bottom of the Premier League.
After just two games it would be churlish to suggest Liverpool will spend too long down in the bottom half of the table, but the feeling that the 18-times English champions are in danger of losing touch with the top four was inescapable.
After months of speculation, Liverpool have confirmed that coach Rafael Benitez has left the club.
Disagreements with the owners and a poor season for the Reds have led to the decision to part company by mutual consent. Do you think it was inevitable?