When did it go wrong for Kenny Dalglish? Where? From the overpriced and underachieving new arrivals during the summer; The Luis Suarez saga, which might have been the worst part of the season for Liverpool and its owners; or was it doomed from the start; A manager who’s best days were behind him, failing to recreate better days in different times?
Many say it was how Dalglish handled the media. Prickly by nature, managing a club in the 24/7 era is very different than what it was during the 1980’s and the early 1990’s. Dalglish spent more time explaining and making excuses, if not attacking and re-directing questions and allegations than anything else.
When you see the results, there’s not much excuses can cover up – Finishing 8th in the Premier League while scoring only 47 goals and winning only six home matches. Liverpool peaked in 2008-2009 when they were 4 point away from winning the title. Since then, they’ve moved further and further away from challenging for the league title. They’ll be playing in Europe only because they won the Carling Cup, not a trophy most managers put on their resume when they want to impress owners.
Everyone seemed to think that his impressive start in 2011, coming in for Roy Hodgson, would galvanize the team from here on. It seemed to work for a few months, claiming a sixth place finish. Not Europe, but surely something to build on; unlike Benitez, Dalglish was handed a Carte Blanche to bring in players. And that’s where he fell.
The summer saw the arrivals of Jodan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing. Maybe it was Comolli (also sacked) who had more influence on the decisions regarding the transfers, but Dalglish, all gentleman like, defending him saying Comolli brought over players he chose and wanted. Dalglish has been accused of being detached from the game for too long, not actually knowing the talent in Europe on a satisfactory level. If that was true, Comolli failed him more than once.
There was some bad luck involved. The injury to Steven Gerrard and maybe even more importantly, Lucas. But how can a team of this caliber, of these aspirations, have only Jay Spearing as a backup to the Defensive Midfielder? After all that money spent on attacking players, including Luis Suarez and Andrew Carroll, you can’t keep blaming the woodworks.
The Luis Suarez – Evra saga was a turning moment for the owners, who probably think a bit differently than European or Asian owners. It’s about the brand name, and the way Dalglish behaved, defending Suarez feverishly and bullishly hurt the brand of Liverpool in their opinion. The lack of success in 2012 only helped them make the decision regarding Dalglish being the wrong man for the job.
He was never set on a lineup. He forgot about certain players that were fantastic under him in 2011, especially Maxi Rodriguez. The flip flopping on Andy Carroll never really helped him as well. It seemed that every decision he made when there was one to make turned out wrong, or could have gone better.
Most Liverpool fans feel he should have gotten another year, or at least 10-15 more matches to kick off next season. But after seeing how their money was spent last summer, the FSG guys decided there won’t be a second chance. Maybe someone of Dalglish’s stature deserved a bit more time, but his results suggest otherwise.