“King” Kenny has just been sacked to the amazement of many fans. News just announced that Fenway Sports owner John Henry has decided to sever ties with the Anfield legend in order to rectify the clubs dismal league showing. Whilst many pundits will feel the American owners have acted rather rashly, some counteract this point of view by saying the writing was on the wall, especially after John Henry failed to shake hands with Dalglish as the Liverpool team walked up the Wembley stairs to collect their runner’s up medals.
Having to fly out to Boston on Tuesday, Dalglish and assistant Steve Clarke were summoned to hand in an appraisal of the season overall. The dossier included opinions of coaching staff on the players and failings throughout the inconsistent season. Improvements were also suggested but these won’t be carried out by Dalglish following his dismissal.
When Kenny Dalglish returned to Anfield many anticipated that it would herald a return to the glory days of the 1970’s and 80’s.There was cause for optimism when he took over the reigns from Roy Hodgson in January last year. The team’s performances picked up, they motored up the league from a potential relegation scrap and were playing scintillating football living up to the pass and move creed, which had made the team envy of the country during the pinnacle of the club’s history.
Much was expected of Kenny this year having galvanised the team and having spent in excess of one hundred and ten million pounds on new recruitments. A decent cup run and Champions League qualification was seen as imperative. Besides winning the League Cup and getting to the final of the FA Cup, Dalglish has arguably seen the club go even further into the abyss. The majority of his signings have been epic failures and the league position is the lowest since time immemorial. Not to mention the lack of goals and finisher thereof despite the money spent. Interspersed with his interviewing demeanour and the debacle surrounding his defence of Luis Suarez many thought the end was nigh for the wily Scotsman.
Attention now turns to which manager is being lined up to replace the legend and there will be no shortage of suitors. News coming down the grapevine appears to have placed Roberto Martinez as the favourite to take the managerial hot-seat at Anfield. Despite his accomplishments at Wigan and his unflinching loyalty to his chairmen, rejecting the overtures of Aston Villa last summer, the jury is still out on whether or not he can manage a big club. His inexperience in this regard will certainly count against him.
Murmurings have been heard of Rafa Benitez’s return to Liverpool. Given his tactical astuteness, how entrenched he is in European football and ability to attract top quality players, he certainly is an option. Whether or not the Anfield faithful would put up with his boring brand of football and his inability to go for wins in sticky situations is
another matter entirely.
Jurgan Klinsmann and Louis Van Gaal appear to also be in the frame. They both have the experience, have managed top international stars and have forged reputations as leading managers, Louis Van Gaal especially, who has won the Champions League with Ajax and an array of league titles around Europe.
However I like to think the fans would love to have Pep Guardiola manage Liverpool. In spite of his self-imposed year exile from football I think he would be itching to manage a club in the Premier League as he has gone on record as saying. A few months to re-charge the batteries are all that will be required. An established team with history and a spine that only needs a few additions to make it worthy of challenging for Champions League football is just what he requires. Armed with a war chest of fifty to seventy million pounds, he is a big enough name to attract star players to the club given his stature in the game.
Man Utd and Arsenal have two stalwart managers who have been reinvigorated by the challenge of Manchester City winning the league. Chelsea has a culture of sacking managers regularly and Tottenham seem to be stable under Redknapp’s guidance. It appears Liverpool will be a perfect fit for Pep, whether or not he wants to take the job remains to be seen. But I would love for him to be manager of Liverpool.