Stoppage Time: Dalglish still remains King at Liverpool
At the moment, it’s hard not to feel a bit of disappointment when assessing
the past 16 months of King Kenny’s second reign, which did bring about the
first trophy in six years at Liverpool, but also a dismal performance in the
However, he will always be remembered in the most positive of light for his 14
years of service as a player and manager from 1977-1991, during which time
Liverpool enjoyed one of its most successful spells in the club’s illustrious
During his playing career, Dalglish was one of the best strikers that the
English League has ever seen, and he etched his name into Liverpool lore by
scoring over 100 goals and appearing in more than 350 games for the Reds.
Liverpool enjoyed a fantastic run of success during Dalglish’s playing career,
winning five league titles and three European Cups.
His success as a player also translated to his managerial career, with
Dalglish capturing three more league championships, including one as a player-
manager and two FA Cups during a six-year run as Liverpool boss.
With his place in club history already secured, it would have been easy for
Dalglish to let his legacy speak for itself, but he returned to the sidelines
in January 2011 at the request of the club’s new owners to replace the fired
The move seemed like a way for the new ownership group to gain acceptance from
fans by bringing back an all-time favorite in the hopes of stirring up some
In the beginning, Dalglish and Liverpool hit the ground running, signing a
pair of high-priced strikers in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez to replace
Fernando Torres, who left that month for Chelsea.
Liverpool finished the season in sixth place, but seemed to respond to
Dalglish and put together a strong finish to the campaign, raising
expectations that this past season would see the club take another step toward
returning to its glory days.
After spending $75 million on three players over the summer – Charlie Adam,
Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson – many Liverpool fans had the belief that
the club could realistically return to the top four in the league and maybe
even had an outside chance at contending for the title.
However, Liverpool never really came close to living up to those expectations.
And after ending the season in eighth place, four points behind rivals Everton
and 17 points adrift of fourth-place Tottenham, there wasn’t much of a
decision to be made regarding the legendary coach.
Dalglish did bring a trophy to Anfield for the first time in six years when
his team beat Cardiff City on penalty kicks in the Carling Cup final. And he
had Liverpool in the FA Cup final as well before losing 2-1 to Chelsea.
But Liverpool is a club that needs to be in the Champions League and must be
competitive at the top of the league table, two things that Dalglish failed to
“Of course, I am disappointed with results in the league, but I would not have
swapped the Carling Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our
fans and the club to be back winning trophies,” Dalglish said on Wednesday.
Obviously, it didn’t mean enough, and Liverpool’s owners have every right to
expect more after the kind of money they have invested in players over the
past 16 months.
Dalglish came along at a time when the club was struggling and did his best to
revive it and lay a strong foundation for the future, only to come up short.
What began as a popular move with so much promise eventually fizzled out into
a 16-month tenure that simply failed to produce enough wins.
Yes, Liverpool spent the kind of money that should translate into greater
success. But Dalglish’s reputation shouldn’t take a hit because he failed to
turn around the team’s fortunes in such a small window.
King Kenny will always wear the crown that he so rightfully earned for his
service to the club.
The past 16 months have merely provided it with a few fingerprints.
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