Friday, June 9, 2023

King Kenny sees what a tough job lies ahead

Tough job

It would be completely unfair to draw any conclusions about the Kenny Dalglish Liverpool just a day after they stopped being the Roy Hodgson Liverpool, but the new manager had a chance to see what he has inherited in yesterday’s FA Cup defeat at Manchester United.

Battled

On the face of it, his side battled reasonably well, only lost 1-0 to a very early, slightly dodgy penalty and defended stoutly after going down to ten men after just half an hour. All in all you would think that King Kenny would be relatively satisfied with what he saw.

On the other hand, Manchester United continued their amazing run of not playing terribly well and winning the game. They were never seriously threatened and for long periods of the game played a game of ‘keep ball’ making the nine outfield Liverpool players run around chasing it.

Worst

Obviously conceding a penalty inside the first minute was about the worst possible start for Dalglish. There was minimal contact from Agger on Berbatov, but there was contact none the less. Berbatov went down way too easily, but any Premier League striker would probably have done the same. I would take a lot of convincing that Fernando Torres, for example, wouldn’t have hit the deck in the same circumstances.

From that moment on it was an uphill battle for a Liverpool side that despite showing some spirit that has been missing in recent weeks and months, they never looked likely to be able climb. The unlikely recovery became all but impossible when Steve Gerrard had one of his occasional rushes of blood to the head and put in a poor challenge on Carrick, giving Howard Webb little choice but to produce the red card.

Judge

It was not possible to judge whether Kenny Dalglish will be able to make a significant difference to the side. The fans are united behind his appointment and I imagine he will have the automatic and instant respect of most of the players so both of those things will be a massive help. The players did not seem to buy in to Roy Hodgson’s methods so they will probably be happier now.

For the past few weeks Roy Hodgson has looked like a man under unbearable pressure and that level of stress will undoubtedly have had an effect on the players. Dalglish will bring an experience and a calmness that may help the players relax and be in a better frame of mind to perform at their maximum. The down side is that Dalglish has been out of the game for some time and things have moved on considerably. It remains to be seen if he still has what it takes.

Positives

On the pitch Dalglish will have seen a few positives and a few negatives. It won’t have been anything that he didn’t know already, like anyone else who watches or takes an interest in football.

Pepe Reina is a top keeper and made four fine saves in a remarkable thirty second spell in the second half. Kelly is a promising defender, Aurelio is considerably better than the hapless Konchesky and Dirk Kuyt will run himself into the ground for the cause of the team.

Quality

Unfortunately for Dalglish, he won’t have seen anything else that will have filled him with too much optimism. Agger and Skrtel have good moments but they are not of the required quality. Berbatov may have gone down easily for the penalty but it was a silly challenge by Agger.

Meireles, particularly when he needed to step up to the mark in the second half, was woeful. The only good thing for him was that he was better than Shelvey, his replacement. Maxi was replaced by Babel. Neither of them look to be good enough. Surely Dalglish will be able to see what other Liverpool managers so far haven’t and realise that Lucas is a waste of space.

Talisman

Steve Gerrard remains the talisman for the team but he let them down yesterday and will now be suspended for three games. That certainly won’t have pleased the new boss. Then we come to the enigma that is Fernando Torres. He was as static and ineffective yesterday as he has been all season. He even got substituted. The man is world class but something is wrong. For those who felt it was all down to Roy Hodgson, he didn’t look any happier yesterday than he has done before.

It certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom for Liverpool and Dalglish but it did confirm to the Liverpool hero that he has taken on a huge job. The current side are a long way from being contenders for the top four whoever the manager might be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Graham Fisher


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Dylan Borig
Dylan Borig
12 years ago

YNWA

Ngog is the Future
Ngog is the Future
12 years ago

If I were to put money on whether Liverpool will be better or worse without Roy at the helm, I would say worse. Roy is a great manager who everyone wrote off for no reason other than “he looked under pressure.” – what does that even mean? every manager looks under pressure. This team is only going to get worse.

Valda Craig
Valda Craig
12 years ago

I do believe in team spirit and heart – which was Liverpool in winner mode for so many years. I am just one of fans who believe that Rafa, not Roy destroyed the heart of Liverpool FC. His wrong decisions and his total lack of joy or excitement make a huge list, but his selling off of the best midfield team in the Premier League is the top of the errors list. It didn’t even make enough money to buy in the best. We’ve been downhill ever since we lost Alonso and his mate. Rafa had faith in Lucas –… Read more »

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