Kenny Dalglish’s most important January signing


Even by their recent standards, January was a particularly eventful month for Liverpool FC. The month began with Roy Hodgson’s ignominious early ousting from the Anfield hotseat, with the Reds’ new American owners appointing club legend Kenny Dalglish in the former Fulham manager’s place. The King’s return to the throne culminated in a return to winning ways, before a staggering transfer deadline day saw the club effectively trade Fernando Torres for Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, the man who likes to frequent casinos on Tyneside and is sure to be using an online casino until he finds a new spot on Merseyside.

Dalglish’s return to the managerial post he vacated nearly 20 years ago has undoubtedly brought back some much-needed stability and leadership to a side decimated by in-fighting and turmoil over the last 18 months. Sunday’s 1-0 win away at Chelsea saw Liverpool record their fourth successive victory, fuelling optimistic suggestions that the side can make a late push for Champions League qualification.

Although plaudits have been heaped upon the 59-year-old caretaker manager by fans and pundits alike, credit must be given to the man brought in by Dalglish to oversee coaching of the first-team. Former Chelsea man Steve Clarke has been an integral part of the Reds’ recent revival, a sentiment alluded to by Daniel Agger and Jay Spearing.

Speaking to LFC Weekly, Spearing said: “Under him [Clarke] the pace of training has changed.

“He wants us to do things quicker. That’s helped us to play at a better tempo in games.”

Clarke is a respected figure within the game, and is widely credited as being a key figure behind Chelsea’s back-to-back title wins of 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Charlton Athletic assistant manager Alex Dyer, a man who worked with Clarke during the Scotsman’s spell as assistant manager at West Ham United, said that Dalglish’s number two excels at getting “footballers playing to their maximum potential.” This assertion has been vindicated in the performances of some of Liverpool’s players; shaky Slovak Martin Skrtel has begun to show some semblance of the defender he was when he first arrived at Anfield in 2008, and the free-scoring Raul Meireles is finally starting to prove his true worth to the team.

The fact that Liverpool’s rearguard has been breached with greater infrequency during the last month is no coincidence. The side have conceded five goals in their last seven games, and have managed to keep clean sheets in each of their last four outings. Liverpool’s successful tactical reversion to a 3-5-2 system not seen since the late 1990s is thought to be to attributable to Clarke.

Liverpool’s displays of late have also drawn comparisons to the ‘pass and move’ ethic synonymous with the club during their 1970s and 1980s halcyon days (for example, Fernando Torres’ second goal against Wolves at Molineux was preceded by 31 passes). Dyer again attributes to this to the work of Clarke, stating: “Most of the players I know loved his sessions. He likes to play the ball on the ground with quick passing and play at a high tempo.”

Dealing with Fernando Torres’ late January transfer request would surely have provided Kenny Dalglish with his biggest headache this January. Dalglish admirably dealt with the mess created by the former Rojiblanco, but whether or not Carroll and Suarez manage to fill the Spaniard’s illustrious shoes remains to be seen. Regardless of their eventual impact, the signing of Steve Clarke may prove to be the most important signing made by Kenny Dalglish in the January window.

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1 comment

  • Larsen says:

    Often fans forget to praise the work done by off field personals like Clark, but no me. Clark has done an amazing job. He ideas along with Kenny’s pass and move style has give the players a lot of confidence to move forward freely.

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