Thursday, June 8, 2023

Dalglish’s miracle

King Kenny

It is pretty hard to remember a case whereby a new manager has had quite as remarkable an effect on a team as has Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool. Not only has he turned around the results, he has transformed the spirit, attitude and atmosphere, as well making players who were seemingly not good enough, suddenly look like world beaters.


The Liverpool legend said he was proud of his players as their amazing finish to the season continued with a stunning 5-2 win at Fulham on Monday evening.

“It’s been unbelievable. Nobody would ever have anticipated the run the boys have been on since January. Even if we don’t get fifth place, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.”

When Dalglish took over after the disastrous rein of Roy Hodgson in January, Liverpool were in a total mess. They were twelfth in the table and things were going from bad to worse. Now, just a few weeks later they are looking at European qualification and everything in the Anfield garden is rosy.


The sixteen Premier League games since Dalglish took over have yielded thirty-three points for Liverpool, making them the second best team, behind Chelsea, in the Premier League over that period. They had only amassed twenty-five points from the twenty games prior to his arrival.

Dalglish was understandably excited by the latest victory.

“I think the boys got just reward for some fantastic football and scored five goals. It certainly makes you proud when you see them play like that. For us, the position in the league hasn’t been as important as the response. Fulham have got a fantastic record here. They are a really really good side and we were expecting a tough game but we started really well.”

He wasn’t going to be pressed on whether his temporary role is likely to be made permanent and he was keen to recognise the work of others at the club as well.


“When we’ve got something to tell you, we’ll tell you. Nobody’s under any pressure whatsoever. It’s not a one-man band by any shape or form. We’ve done fantastically well since January and it’s great credit to the players, Steve Clarke, Sammy Lee and the backroom staff.”

The fantastic results achieved by Dalglish have been done without injured skipper Steve Gerrard, but other players have stepped up to the mark. Youngsters such as John Flanagan and Jay Spearing have played starring roles and players formerly written off by many, such as the much criticised Lucas, have found a level of playing that never before looked possible.


Another to have stepped up is Maxi Rodriguez. The Argentine has looked woefully short until Dalglish stepped in but now looks to be the player everyone thought he was before he arrived. His hat-trick at Fulham was his second in three games. Dalglish was full of praise for the player.

“He’s a really intelligent footballer, he knows where to go and when to go. Everything’s happening for him at the moment and he deserves the accolades. A lot of balls have been falling to him in the box, but you’ve got to be there to put them away and he has been. He had a few games off and has come back really strong. I’m delighted for him and everybody.”

The other player who has been in scintillating form is recent signing Luis Suarez. Whilst Fernando Torres continues to toil unimpressively at Chelsea, his half-price replacement is thriving at his new club.


Dalglish was also quick to praise the Uruguayan.

“He was running as hard at the end as he was at the very beginning and he caused them all sorts of problems. I don’t think in our wildest dreams he could’ve settled in as quickly as he has done and taken to English football the way that he has done. He’s graced the pitch every time he’s played on it.”

Assuming that Liverpool will offer the job to Dalglish on a permanent basis very soon and that some money will be made available in the Summer to bring in one or two new players, it might not be very long before Liverpool are making a serious attempt to get back the title wins record taken away from them by Manchester United.


Graham Fisher



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