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Long Live The King?

Monday 23rd January 2012
Mutter anything negative on Merseyside about Kenny Dalglish and its like committing some form of Scouse treason. King Kenny is a hero to Liverpool fans, winning six league titles and three European Cups during his first spell at Liverpool as a player and later player-manager before leaving in 1991. Dalglish returned to the club he loves in 2009 initially to help the teams youth academy. Following the departure of Rafa Benitez in 2009, the task of finding a new manager for the club was given to him. Supporters were hoping that he would give himself the job, instead King Kenny went with Roy Hodgson following his brilliant spell with Fulham. After things did not work out for Hodgson the clubs hierarchy opted to give Dalglish the job until the end of the season. He led the team up the league and showed he hadn't lost any of his tactical nuance with a memorable win at Chelsea. Following a brilliant spell as temporary manager the club, fans and pundits were all in agreement that Kenny Dalglish was the man to lead Liverpool permanently.
Things this season have not been so straight forward for Dalglish and Liverpool. The momentum that Liverpool had at the end of last season has not continued into this season, despite Dalglish strengthening his squad in the summer. Following a dismal display away at Bolton this past weekend, Liverpool have now slipped into seventh position in the League, six points behind Chelsea who occupy the final Champions League spot. One win in the last six games coincides with the eight match ban that striker Louis Suarez received from the FA for racism. Following the loss of the striker, Liverpool have struggled to find the back of the net regularly. Criticism is starting to mount of Dalglish as his big money buys have not lived up to expectations. Andy Carroll is the obvious failure for Liverpool and this season has only found the back of the net twice in league play. Dalglish faces a tough decision, does he continue playing Carroll who does not look close to being a top player at the moment or does he cut his losses with the man who he paid £35million for. Other expensive buys such as Jordan Henderson and last seasons assist leader Stewart Downing have also failed to impress.

Optimists will tell you that players like Carroll and Henderson and still young and given time will be top players. The problem Dalglish faces is that he does not have time, Liverpool are in danger of missing out on Champions League and Europa League football next season. Look at the table and its clear that the problem is goals. Liverpool's defense has kept the team in games and without such a strong defense the team would be lower than seventh place. Norwich, Blackburn and Bolton are all teams who have scored more than Liverpool this season. King Kenny has been unlucky losing Suarez but his other strikers have not taken the opportunity to fill Suarez's boots. In the midfield players other than Steven Gerrard need to be consistently supplying the front men. Dalglish's position as manager of Liverpool remains safe for now but a seventh place finish at the end of the season and Liverpool fans might be questioning the Kings position on the Anfield throne.
Philip Jacobs

Total articles: 8

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