Thursday, 17 May 2012

Dalglish Deserved More Respect From Americans

Dalglish Deserved More Respect From Americans

Kenny Dalglish has been sacked by Liverpool’s American owners, shocking the Anfield faithful to the core.

Kenny Dalglish like any other manager should have been given more time to improve Liverpool’s league fortunes.

But in this modern era of football and “modern” owners, time is not given to managers and they must get positive results immediately or suffer.

But for Kenny Dalglish not to be honoured more time is disgraceful, for a man who has served this club so well over the years as a player and as a manager, and who has his heart in the club.

Dalglish came to Liverpool’s rescue when he got an SOS call from Liverpool’s new American owners aboard the Titanic’s sister ship SS Roy Hodgson.

Dalglish then transformed the club and brought back a “feel good” factor back to the club and got everyone pulling in the same direction.

Dalglish spent a lot of money in the summer with new signings and big expectations for the new season with expectations of even winning the league.

But the league form was very poor and finishing in 8th position was very poor for a club like Liverpool.

But for Kenny to guide the club to two cup finals was a fantastic achievement and to win one of the finals and bring back a trophy to Anfield was vitally important for Liverpool to get back to winning things after going far too long without a trophy.

But inevitably Liverpool’s league form has cost Dalglish his job.

There has been criticism of Dalglish about some of his signings like Henderson, Downing and Andy Carroll not repaying the faith Dalglish showed in signing them, but some players take time to fit in to a new team.

Kenny’s tactics have also been criticised during his time, and his persistence in playing Jordan Henderson was highly criticised.

Dalglish’s biggest mistake was his handling of the controversial Suarez affair which could have been handled a lot better, but Dalglish always showed great support for his players, rightly or wrongly.

Dalglish never handled the media very well and in this era of scrutinised media attention made Dalglish look very uncomfortable.

But Dalglish provided more positives than negatives to Liverpool Football Club and that should not have been understated.

Dalglish has brought the club together and made the squad stronger with the signings he made.

Dalglish has produced a very young team with great potential and towards the end of the season we have witnessed some of Kenny’s underperforming signings start to perform, like Andy Carroll and Henderson looking far better players than they did at the start.

The impressive structure of youth coming through at Anfield that Dalglish should receive great credit for with the likes of Sterling, Coady, Morgan, Wisdom, Silva, Robinson and Flanagan on the verge of threatening for first team action.

But the progress and structure that Dalglish has been building could now be dismantled.

It is a massive gamble to bring someone new in, when Liverpool were making progress under Dalglish, but it seems that Liverpool’s owners are looking for instant title winning success from their manager, regardless of how much of a mess they were in not so long ago.

Liverpool has always been a club that has shown great patience with their managers but this act of impatience by their owners towards a “legendary” figure like Dalglish shows that Liverpool could be turning into a “managerial merry go-round” club like Chelsea which is very worrying.

Far from a disastrous season Dalglish was summoned to America to be professionally executed, the Americans could at least have conducted their calculated business at Anfield, and faced the supporters and media, in what is a massive decision for the club, it is ridiculous treatment for a man who answered their call for help not so long ago.

Time will tell if the Americans have made a very brave decision or a very big mistake, because whoever takes over the Anfield hot seat will have to be very good and hit the ground running.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

No Way To Treat A King

No Way To Treat A King

Kenny Dalglish has flown over to the States to meet Liverpool’s owners in Boston with speculation rife.

Liverpool’s owners should have cleared the air by issuing a statement to prevent the speculation surrounding Kenny’s trip over the pond.

With Liverpool’s league form so poor this season, the nation’s media is scaremongering that Dalglish could be axed.

No doubt this meeting in America is a pre-planned visit, not a showdown like the media would like it to be.

Dalglish will be given more time in charge, especially after steering Liverpool to two cup finals and bringing one trophy home to Anfield this season.

It would be ludicrous to sack Dalglish as he has brought the club some stability and has everyone pulling in the same direction.

The league form has suffered due to some bad luck in front of goal and some injuries to key players.

Gerrard was missing for the early part of the season and Lucas has been a massive loss for Kenny.

Suarez being banned was a big miss and his absence resulted in a disjointed strike force, with Suarez struggling a bit with his form on his return from his ban.

The number of new players added to the squad this season has made it difficult for the team too, as it takes time for players to gel into a new side.

Kenny just needs a couple of players and his team won’t be far away.

Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez are starting to look like a good partnership at last and this can only be promising for the new season.

Liverpool has always been a patient club with managers and the owners need to be patient again with Kenny as Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Liverpool have proved they can compete with the best, like when they beat Manchester City in the semi-final of the Carling Cup and when they beat Manchester United in the FA Cup.

They just need to get it right and find the consistency against the “lesser” clubs to improve their league position.

But to get rid of Dalglish would just cause mayhem at Liverpool with the supporters who back Dalglish, who would replace him, and the club would be unstable again, with so much insecurity once again.

So the American owners have to do the right thing and let Kenny continue his work and not get trigger happy in this situation.

The sooner Liverpool’s owners come out and issue a statement regarding Dalglish’s future, the better for all concerned, especially for the supporters, who deserve reassurance of Kenny’s future.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Scottish Connection

The Scottish Connection

Over the years, Liverpool has had many players from many countries, especially in recent years, with so many foreigners coming to play football in England. But has there been a country that has produced more influential players in the history of Liverpool Football Club than Scotland ?

Being a native Scot I am extremely proud of this fact. I remember when I was young and my dad would let me stay up late to watch Match Of The Day on a Saturday night, with the days’ football highlights, he would ask me to count how many Scots were in each team, because he would tell me that the team with the most Scottish players would win, and it seemed to me at the time that his theory was always right.

I have to point out that this was in the late seventies to early eighties, when there was an abundance of Scots playing in the first division in England. Unfortunately nowadays there is not so many. But when I was growing up supporting Liverpool the number of Scots in the team provided a massive reason why I started supporting them.

But throughout the history of Liverpool Football Club there have been many Scots that have played a massive part in shaping the club that we know today. Liverpool’s squad was mostly made up of Scots in their very first season and that has set a pattern throughout the history of the club. In fact in Liverpool’s eighteen title winning seasons, there has always been a Scot in the team.

Some Scots that have played important roles in the history of Liverpool are, Andrew Hannah, Liverpool’s first ever captain.

Alan Hansen, who captained Liverpool, and won many trophies in an illustrious career.

George Allan, Liverpool’s first great goal scorer.

Matt Busby who played over one hundred matches for Liverpool, but unfortunately moved to Manchester United to become manager, where the rest is history, he gets the credit for finding the great Billy Liddell before he left.

Ned Doig, a goalkeeper who is the oldest player to have made his debut at the age of thirty-seven and three hundred and seven days. Ned also holds the record for the oldest player to play for Liverpool when he played his last game, aged forty-one years and one hundred and sixty-five days old.

Matt McQueen who played in over one hundred matches for Liverpool before becoming manager, where he won the League title despite losing his leg in a car accident.

Malcolm McVean goes down in history as the man who scored Liverpool’s first ever League goal.

Alex Raisbeck played over ten years with Liverpool and captained the team to their first two titles. An early legend.

Tommy Lawrence, Shankly’s goalkeeper, played three hundred and ninety games for Liverpool and played a major role in the Shankly era.

Billy Liddell, arguably Liverpool’s greatest ever player, he played five hundred and thirty-four matches and scored two hundred and twenty-eight goals for Liverpool. He only won one league title in his career as he played at a time when Liverpool had a struggling team, but his tremendous play nicknamed the team “Liddellpool”.

Gary McAllister only came to Liverpool when he was thirty-five, but he played a major part in Liverpool’s treble winning season of two thousand and one.

Kenny Dalglish, in my opinion, the greatest Liverpool player of all time, although, Steven Gerrard is catching up. Dalglish played over five hundred games and scored one hundred and seventy-two goals for Liverpool. He also holds the record number of caps for Scotland with one hundred and two and is joint equal record goal scorer with thirty alongside Dennis Law. Dalglish won everything as a player and after the tragedy at Heysel he became player manager of the club, and won the double in his first season. Dalglish is best remembered for the role he played throughout the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy. Dalglish is adding to his legendary status by returning for a second spell as manager.

Ian St John was one of Shankly’s first signings and played a major part in Liverpool’s resurgence in the sixties under the leadership of Shankly. He played over four hundred goals and scored over one hundred goals for Liverpool.

Ron Yeats was another of Shankly’s early signings, Yeats was Shankly’s captain and captained Liverpool to their first ever FA Cup win. Yeats played for ten years with Liverpool and played over four hundred games for the club and like St John was a major influence in the success during Shankly’s reign.

Graeme Souness is regarded as one of Liverpool’s greatest players. A brilliant midfielder who could dominate games with his passing and his tackling. He later became captain and led Liverpool to another European Cup win in Rome in nineteen eighty-four in his last match for the club. Souness later became manager of the club in the nineties, but never had as much success, although he did manage Liverpool to an FA Cup success.

Bill Shankly is the greatest manager the club has known. Liverpool was a sleeping giant when he took over. The club were in the second division and Anfield was falling apart. But this man transformed the whole club, the stadium and most importantly the team. He might not be the most successful manager in the club’s history, but he placed the foundations for future success.

There are many more Scots that have played a part in the fabric of Liverpool’s history, in fact there has been one hundred and fifty-five players in the history of Liverpool Football Club and I’m sure there will be many more. At the moment we have young Danny Wilson and Charlie Adam who is playing regularly for the first team. So there are encouraging signs as we only win the league with a Scot in the team, so hopefully we are nearing our nineteenth title.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Liverpool Forever

Liverpool Forever

The anthem we sing upon the Kop

The Redmen we cheer year in year out

The joy they bring us the passion we show them

The trophies they have won us

The history they bring us is second to none

Great European nights

We have terrified the foreigners

5 European Cups

No other British team can match

Legends galore

From Liddell to Kenny to Stevie G

The list is endless

Great managers too, Shanks and Paisley

The boot room boys

All part of the tapestry that made Liverpool great

There have been dark times too

Heysel and Hillsborough our darkest days

Never to be forgotten

Made Liverpool stronger

The ups and the downs make Liverpool unique

We stick together through the tough times

As we showed to get those Cowboys out

And we celebrate the good times

Like when Shankley’s Red army brought back our first FA Cup in 65

And Sir Bob had us ruling Europe

King Kenny won the double

And Rafa made a nightmare into a dream come true in Istanbul

King Kenny is back now

And in true Liverpool fashion he has gave us many ups and downs

What a rollercoaster of a season

Poor in the league but 2 cup finals

And a trophy in the cabinet

Our first for a while

But with Kenny in charge

The future is Red

Liverpool forever

Monday, 7 May 2012

Can Kenny Make Liverpool Title Contenders ?

Can Kenny Make Liverpool Title Contenders ?

This is the question Liverpool’s American owners will be asking, as Liverpool languish in mid-table in the Premiership.

Liverpool’s success in this year’s domestic cup competitions has papered over the cracks of their failings in the league, but the league table does not lie.

Many people thought Dalglish would only survive if he won the FA Cup because Liverpool’s league form has been so poor.

But Dalglish has won Liverpool their first trophy in 6 years when he won the Carling Cup earlier this year, and for Liverpool to get back to winning trophies is very important.

One season in charge is never long enough for any manager at any club and the American owners don’t want to make Liverpool into another “Chelsea” who hire and fire managers after a few bad results.

Dalglish has “legendary” status at Anfield and he is so committed to this club that he loves, and he will be working harder than anyone to put results right and improve this club.

But for the first time in his Liverpool career there are sections of the Anfield faithful criticising Dalglish and his managerial skills, especially after losing the FA Cup against Chelsea.

Dalglish has spent an awful lot of money on players that have not produced enough for his team and this gives critics the most ammunition to fire at him.

Andy Carroll cost the most money and his lack of goals has meant Dalglish has constantly been questioned of his worth to the club.

I’m sure Dalglish would have expected more from the players he has brought in, players like Adam, Downing, Enrique and Jordan Henderson, but sometimes it can take players time to adapt to a new club, especially a club as big as Liverpool.

In recent games Andy Carroll has looked more like the player we saw at Newcastle as his cameo role in the FA Cup final proved, so maybe he that game could be the making of the big striker in such a disappointing day for the club.

But with Liverpool 37 points behind leaders Manchester City in the Premiership, how can Dalglish bridge that gap next season.

It will be a must for Liverpool to qualify for the Champions League at the end of next season or there will be a reality that Liverpool will become a perennial mid-table club.

Competition is so much tougher now to gain a top four place with Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and even Newcastle all fighting it out this season, so next season will not be any easier.

But the American owners need to decide if Dalglish is the right man to take them forward. There is no doubt that Dalglish has brought unity to the club and the supporters since taking over, but can Dalglish take the club to the next level, it will be a very important summer at Anfield this year before the new season begins.

It looks like Liverpool will have to spend a lot of money too, to improve the side, but will the Americans be prepared to part with as much cash as they did last year to not see much reward for their investment.

Time will tell what happens at Anfield, but the American owners should remember to do things the “Liverpool Way” and with Dalglish in charge, nobody knows it better.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Will Dalglish Survive

Will Dalglish Survive

Liverpool received a morale boosting win away to Norwich as they prepare for their meeting with Chelsea in Saturday’s FA Cup Final.

Luis Suarez was the hero for the FA Cup Finalists, with his first ever hat-trick for Liverpool.

Suarez was in scintillating form as he caused the Norwich defence all sorts of problems, and his shooting was clinical as he punished Norwich for defensive mistakes.

But Suarez took all the plaudits for his 3rd goal of the night as it must be a contender for goal of the season.

Suarez executed an audacious lob from 40 yards perfectly to give him his hat-trick.

Another encouraging sight for Liverpool was the return of Steven Gerrard after he was rested for the West Brom match.

But another League defeat on Tuesday at home to Fulham was another disappointing result in this very poor League campaign.

Dalglish made 9 changes to the team that beat Norwich as he prepares for the FA Cup Final, but the performance was very poor as Fulham won at Anfield for the first time in their history.

Cup Competitions

But Liverpool has enjoyed tremendous success in this season’s Cup competitions, already winning the Carling Cup and looking forward to a FA Cup Final.

But, the contrast in form between the League and Cup competitions is baffling all concerned at Anfield.

Maybe Kenny Dalglish will need to capture the FA Cup to keep his job as this seasons’ League campaign has been nothing short of disastrous.

Frustrating League Form

Liverpool’s league form has been a major concern as they have failed to mount a challenge for a top four place and Champions League football.

A major problem for Liverpool has been their home form.

Liverpool have only scored 20 goals in 17 home games in the League this season, which is one of the worst records in the Premiership, with Bolton scoring the same amount of goals at home, and only West Brom, Aston Villa, Wigan and Wolves scoring fewer.

Liverpool have proved that they can win the “big” matches, but they have struggled to win against “lesser” teams, which has crippled them for success in the League.

Dalglish V Hodgson

Dalglish’s predecessor Roy Hodgson and his team coming out on top with a gritty, determined, smash and grab win over Liverpool last Sunday, in Roy Hodgson’s first return to Anfield since leaving last January.

The result just added insult to injury for Dalglish in this rollercoaster season.

The fact that the much maligned Roy Hodgson inflicted another defeat on Liverpool makes things harder to take.

The debate rages on about Dalglish improving Liverpool from Hodgson.

Hodgson came to Liverpool at a very difficult time, especially with the ownership saga, and not many peoples’ first choice for the job.

Hodgson never spent as much as Dalglish in transfers. It may have been his transfer policy, but it could also have been that he wasn’t financially backed the way Dalglish has been backed.

Hodgson spent £16.8 million plus 13 million Euros on Raul Meireles on transfer fees.

Where, so far Dalglish has spent well over £100 million on transfer deals.

But the difficult start for Hodgson was the biggest problem as he struggled to get results.

The supporters were not going to be patient with Hodgson the way that they are showing patience with Dalglish with his season of inconsistent results.

Dalglish has legendary status at Liverpool and many supporters find it hard to criticise his management skills.

Dalglish Signings

Dalglish has brought in a lot of new players and spent a lot of money on them, but the jury is still out on most of his signings.

Dalglish has stubbornly persisted on playing new signings Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll, although they have all struggled for form.

But how many more chances does he give these players.

They have to start repaying the faith Dalglish has shown in them.

All season long Dalglish has defended his players against any criticism.

Many people ask if Liverpool have improved since Kenny took charge.

Of course they have, the squad is far stronger than before with the likes of Kuyt, Maxi, Bellamy and Jamie Carragher struggling to get into the team.

Dalglish has got the team playing a far more attractive passing style of football.

Work In Progress

There is no hiding the fact that results have not been good enough but in many matches Liverpool have been very unlucky and the statistic of hitting the woodwork proves this point.

Liverpool has hit the woodwork more than 30 times this season, which is more than any other Premiership side since the year 2000.

Another thing to remember is that Liverpool is “work in progress” and this should not be forgotten.

It was not that long ago that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was struggling to make a success of Manchester United.

For Dalglish to win silverware in his first full season back in charge, with the chance of more before the end of the season, is a tremendous achievement, considered it has been a while since Liverpool won anything.

Liverpool is not far away from getting it right. They are creating chances and at times they are playing teams off the park, but their only problem is that they are not putting away their chances.

So it was good to see such a convincing win at Carrow Road against Norwich.

But do the American owners think Dalglish is the right man to bring back the League title and Champions League football to Anfield, or is Dalglish on borrowed time until they get their man.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Forgotten Man

The Forgotten Man

Dirk Kuyt has been such a big player for Liverpool in recent years, with his tireless work rate and his knack of scoring vital goals in big matches, he really has been so important to Liverpool. But this season he has struggled to get a game. Obviously there were going to be changes to the team this season with the amount of summer signings, and Kuyt has suffered more than most because of this.

Kuyt has mostly been used on the right side of midfield in recent years and with Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson arriving in big money buys, Kuyt has had to make way for them. Henderson has played a lot of matches on the right side of midfield this season, but in recent games Downing has featured on the right, although he is a left footed player.

Dirk Kuyt can also play up front, as he was signed as a striker in the first place, but Liverpool have preferred to use him on the right of midfield. Kuyt has played a few games up front this season but with the likes of Carroll, Suarez and Bellamy, he has been used sparingly.

Kuyt finished last season as Liverpool’s top goal scorer and he must have felt that he would continue as one the team’s most important players. But unfortunately he has struggled to feature. Kuyt is now 31 years of age and he must be wondering what his future holds as he is finding himself not a regular for the first time in his Liverpool career.

Although Kuyt had a terrific season last season, I worried that he might find it difficult to feature this season because of the new signings. With Andy Carroll starting to find some form and Luis Suarez coming back from suspension I think Kuyt will struggle to get a game again, which will be really tough for him considering he has played really well in the last couple of games and scored two goals in his last two games . I prefer Henderson playing in the middle as I have not been too impressed with him on the right. But Kenny has so many options now and Kuyt has been the odd man out most of the time this season.

I am not touting Kuyt as the best player in the world and he does have his weaknesses, like his passing and his first touch can be poor at times, but I just feel he brings so much energy to the team and inspires other players to work harder too. He has a great knack of scoring important goals in the big games which he proved recently against Manchester United.

But Kenny is the man who makes the decisions and it is far more difficult for him to select his team this season as his squad is certainly stronger and you can’t play everyone. But I can’t understand why Kuyt with all his experience is the man to be left out. It really is looking like Kuyt is the forgotten man of Anfield as Dalglish looks to build his own team. Kuyt is not at the stage of his career where he will want to be sitting warming the bench.

I hope Kenny uses Kuyt against Chelsea in the FA Cup Final because the Dutchman has a great knack of score in the big matches.