Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his respect for Kenny Dalglish and hopes his predecessor stays involved with the club.
Dalglish was sacked by Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group in May after a disappointing season where winning the Carling Cup was scant consolation for a poor Premier League campaign.
But Rodgers, who was unveiled last Friday, has already moved to avoid any rift with Dalglish, saying he believes the Scot’s influence as a three-time league-winning player-manager will help inspire his charges in the season ahead.
“I have the ultimate respect for Kenny Dalglish,” Rodgers told reporters.
“My door is always open for Kenny Dalglish. This is his home.
“He is the heart and soul of this club. His love for this club is unrivalled.
“He is the best player in the history of this club.”
Rodgers’ comments come despite knowing that former manager and current England boss Roy Hodgson often felt undermined by Dalglish’s presence as an ambassador at Anfield, especially when supporters started calling for him to replace Hodgson following a poor run of results.
Rodgers, though, appeared unconcerned by this.
“I am not here to win any race or competition, this guy is a legend in the game and here at Liverpool football club,” he said.
“But what I know is history judges you as a manager and hopefully in time people will look back at what I have achieved here and I can walk beside these people.
“But there is no way I can try and overtake someone like Kenny Dalglish. All I can do is be myself.
“This is a prestigious club and this is a guy who has a wonderful history here and will continue to have a great future in terms of Liverpool. I can’t worry about that. The only way you can overcome that is by winning.”
Dalglish was sacked just 12 months into his three-year contract with the Reds despite having led his side to two domestic cup finals last term and winning one.
However, Rodgers has defended the club’s Boston-based owners, insisting they are simply focused on ensuring Liverpool can succeed in the future.
“I’ve had real open and honest discussions with the owners,” he said. “They are beginning this cycle of realism as well.
“There is no doubt they want to be winners, because I do as manager, and so do the supporters and players, but in order to do that the cycle has to begin somewhere.”
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