The Future is Bright

The Liver Word

I have to admit I was in the minority group of supporters who were happy at the appointment of Roy Hodgson as Liverpool manager. There was much speculation about who we were going to bring in to replace Rafa Benitez. High up on that list was a certain Kenny Dalglish. I, like some fans, had wondered whether he had been away from management too long and whether he would still have the hunger and desire for the job, given how football had undergone a sea change in recent years.

I have always had great respect for Hodgson who has a wealth of experience and there can be no doubt he is a very good manager. His work at Fulham was spectacular, the icing on the cake being the Europa League final. I don't think Hodgson ever got the full backing of the Liverpool supporters during his short term in charge and I believe a lot of this had to do with Dalglish being overlooked in the first place during the selection process. Hodgson didn't have the best of starts to the season to help him win over the fans but the biggest problem was surely the messy takeover that overshadowed the football on the pitch. When the new owners were finally installed, the club found fresh hope for the future. But, unfortunately for Hodgson, the results on the park never really improved as Liverpool languished in the bottom half of the table with a disgraceful goal difference to accompany it. Then, in January, Hodgson's short term in charge came to an abrupt end and Kenny Dalglish returned to the helm.

As I said earlier, I was happy with the appointment of Roy Hodgson but things just didn't work out for him at Liverpool. There were many reasons that could be given for his failure but in the end what mattered most was that he never got the results needed for a club like Liverpool. Dalglish's appointment was a brilliant move by the owners as Dalglish is a living legend for everyone associated with the club. His mere arrival gave the whole club and supporters a massive lift. By sheer chance, his first game in charge was against old rivals Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and although we lost 1-0 mainly due to dismal refereeing, there was a sudden change in the attitude of the players and their commitment to the cause, especially after being reduced to ten men early in the game, spoke volumes about Dalglish's appointment and what it meant for the future of the club.

Dalglish has already brought about a remarkable transformation in the club's fortunes within a short period of time. A miraculous climb up the league table coupled with a massive improvement in the goal difference column has seemed almost like a miracle in action. Since Kenny has taken charge, only Chelsea have won more league points than us which proves how well the team has performed under him. There has been much talk about needing new players and the players presently at the club being not good enough but the performances in recent times have shown that the necessity of new players may not be as drastic as it seemed under Hodgson. Similar to Dalglish's first spell in charge of Liverpool was the departure of star striker Torres, like Ian Rush's departure to Juventus many years back. Back then he had brought in another prolific striker in the form of John Aldridge and this time it was the duo of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. To be honest, Torres has hardly been missed since January even with Carroll missing some games through injury.

For the last few years, we have relied too much on Torres and Gerrard and if either or both of them were out of the side, we would go into the game with a defeatist attitude. In his short time at the helm this season, Dalglish has got this team looking totally different. Even with Gerrard out of the side, he hasn't been missed as Dalglish has stressed repeatedly that the most important players at the club are the ones available for selection. Lucas and Jay Spearing, both of whom I have been critical of in the past, are bossing the midfield in crucial games and Martin Skrtel has also looked immense unlike his dodgy self a few months back. Glenn Johnson is also looking like an accomplished defender and Dirk Kuyt has been making use of his involvement in the game to get some goals under his belt. Dalglish has introduced young Robinson and Flanagan into the team probably sooner than he would have wanted to but they have stepped up to the plate with confidence and never looked out of place. Martin Kelly was also looking like one of the best right-backs in the league until his unfortunate injury at West Ham. I could go on about the improvement of many more individuals in this last few months but it is obvious that Dalglish and his coaching staff have made a significant difference to the players. He keeps speaking about the great attitude and work rate the players show in training but he has instilled this belief and work ethics in the players and deserves credit for the results.

When I watch Liverpool play now, I see similarities with the good old days with the pass and move philosophy that worked so well and the players looking so much more confident in possession instead of treating the ball as a hot potato like earlier in the season. Also, I have noticed Dalglish has the players pressing higher up the park when not in possession with a similar look to how Barcelona play. I am just disappointed this season is drawing to a close and I wonder what we could have achieved if Dalglish had been there from the start of the season. But what I'm sure of is that the future looks bright for us and I can't wait to see what transfers Kenny makes in the summer along with Damien Commoli. The next season is going to be a really exciting one for Liverpool supporters and these last few months have just been an appetiser. It must only be a matter of time before Kenny is given a long term contract and I'm sure the owners will give him their full support to improve the club.


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