Kop legend Kenny Dalglish believes his second period in charge of the club exceeded expectations…
Former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish has spoken openly about his most recent spell in charge of Liverpool FC.
The iconic figure, already revered around Anfield after a previous spell as both player and manager, returned to the famous dugout following the sacking of Roy Hodgson in January 2011.
During his resulting 16 month tenure Dalglish led the Merseysiders to a League Cup triumph but was replaced, by current incumbent Brendan Rodgers, just three months later as a consequence of finishing a lowly eighth in the league.
A position which represented the club’s joint lowest final position in the standings since relegation in 1954.
The overall figures for Dalglish’s second spell in charge equalled: P74 W36 D16 L22. Which equates to a win percentage of 48.65%.
Interestingly, and by way of a simple comparison, his first spell totalled 60.52% (309 games) while Hodgson recorded 41.94% (31 games). At the time of writing, Rodgers has a win percentage figure of 49.15% (59 games).
Regardless of any statistics though, Dalglish remains adamant that reaching two cup finals in his one full season – Liverpool lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea 11 days prior to his dismissal – qualifies the season as a ‘fantastic’ one.
“What those boys achieved in 2012 was fantastic,” said the Scot in quotes published by the Liverpool ECHO.
“To win the Carling Cup and to get to an FA Cup final was beyond any expectations.
“People will turn around and say we finished eighth in the league, but how many points would you swap for three Wembley trips? [the FA Cup semi-final against Everton was also played at the national stadium]
“It might be more rewarding to qualify in Europe after finishing fourth, but who remembers that game when you finished fourth to get there?
“Winning a cup final against Cardiff at Wembley and walking away with the Carling Cup was a day to remember.”
Dalglish remains insanely popular with the club’s loyal fan base but at the time of his departure many supporters agreed with the decision.
The 62-year-old was often accused of being out of touch with the modern game after over a decade spent out of football management.
His dealings with the media were frosty and many of his signings, most notably Andy Carroll (£35m) and Stewart Downing (£20m), we’re rightly criticised for being costly errors of judgement.
The decision to remove him still clearly rankles with Dalglish though and he believes other people’s expectations exceeded reality.
“Yes, I would have loved to have finished fourth and I would have loved to have won the Champions League and won the Premier League, but it was never going to be achieved overnight.
“If you take short steps, you`ve got a chance and what we achieved was a positive move.”
Dalglish stepped into the breach at a very difficult time and certainly steadied a ship which had gone off course towards the end of Rafa Benitez’s reign and then run aground alarmingly with Hodgson at the helm. With new owners still coming to terms with the sport, an ever changing management structure behind the scenes and the mess that was the Luis Suarez racism affair, Dalglish was certainly dealt a cruel hand. Having been at Wembley for both finals in 2012 I will always have fond memories of the time but there were just too many terrible performances during those 16 months; that is why we finished where we did in the league and there is no question that 8th for a club of Liverpool’s stature is unacceptable. No ifs or buts. A longer term vision had to be implemented and hopefully we are starting to see the fruits of that decision now. Although statistically his spell is roughly on a par with that of Rodgers, I doubt it will stay that way now the latter has settled and moulded the squad to his liking.
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