Cup cheer would just paper over cracks

TEAMtalk guest Jak Penny believes Liverpool will struggle to reclaim a top-four spot for as long as Kenny Dalglish is warming the hot-seat.

Last Updated: 03/05/12 at 17:33 Post Comment

Dalglish: Hoping to get his hands on the FA Cup

Dalglish: Hoping to get his hands on the FA Cup

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If there is ever a man who has transformed papering over cracks and dodging axes into an art form it's Kenny Dalglish.

Despite a campaign that has seen Liverpool tumble away from the top four, fritter away over £100million on under-par players and become the subject of public disdain during Luis Suarez's racism scandal, the irrepressible King Kenny remains sitting defiantly in the Anfield dugout.

In the cut-throat environment that is the Premier League, managers have been handed their P45 for much less. Just ask Dalglish's predecessor Roy Hodgson.

Of course he delivered the club's first piece of silverware in the shape of the Carling Cup and has led them to an FA Cup final for the first time in 2006. But that cup success merely distracts away from the fact that he has failed miserably in his task to halt Liverpool's downward trajectory in the league.

A club legend if there ever was one, the 61-year-old former captain is adored by supporters and it's easy to why Dalglish is an idol of the Kop. After all during his time in the red half of Merseyside he has won 21 major trophies during spells as a player and manager at Anfield.

Under the ownership of Fenway Sports Group it was hoped the Scot's second coming in January 2011 would see the club emulate their successes of the late eighties and early nineties. Working in tandem with director of football Damian Comolli they spent lavishly, attempting to bring the club up to speed with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

The intention was to herald a new era on Merseyside with some of the country's top talents in tow.

Events haven't exactly transpired as planned and Comolli paid the price, pinned as the main culprit for their blundering in the transfer market and subsequent decline away from the top four. Yet Dalglish faced no consequences despite holding an equal portion of culpability.

Owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner were only too happy to send Comolli packing to the redundancy line - but why not the man charged with directing matters on the field? Progress in the last 14 months has been minimal since his arrival and the club has slipped further away from its goal of bringing Champions League football back to Merseyside.

Right now they look a million miles away from even competing with the cream of the continental crop. In actual fact they've gone backwards and currently sit below Merseyside rivals Everton in the table.

A majority of the blame lies solely at Dalglish's feet. But in a sense it seems impossible for Henry and Werner to dismiss him without facing some form of backlash from the stands.

Fans continue to support their manager despite watching him fail miserably to arrest Liverpool's slide. Even with the club floundering around in mid-table with no discernible way of reaching the top four, some supporters continue to champion the Reds icon. It's a mystery as to why his decision-making has never come into question.

His inability to get the best out of £35million record signing Andy Carroll and £20million winger Stewart Downing has been seen as his biggest error. Struggling to break down the opposition with a striker struggling for goals and a winger with few assists. It's a one plus one equals two situation that regularly passes the Scot idly by. Whereas Downing should be sent on to feed Carroll the usual credo is for one to replace the other.

Speaking negatively about Dalglish will only result in a hostile retort from the passionate Scousers. Such fervent backing would make it extremely difficult for the board to wield the axe and dispense with a man who is held in the highest regard by the Merseyside population. Everyone bore witness to the hostile reaction from Newcastle fans in 2008 following Kevin Keegan's departure from the club.

Owner Mike Ashley went from toast of the Toon to public enemy number one at the flick of a switch and didn't dare to step foot in the town whilst supporters bayed for his blood. That level of animosity would be amplified ten fold would the same fate to befall Dalglish in the summer. Perhaps Henry and Werner have taken heed of that.

Put simply the man is an institution at Anfield. It was the fans who wanted him back as manager and that distorted loyalty will see him survive until he's ready to vacate the touchline and settle for a place upstairs. Even then his figure will loom over the poor soul selected to replace him in the dugout.

If the board are paying attention to the desires transmitted from the stands then the club will continue on its downward spiral.

Dalglish has proven that his methods and ideologies aren't equipped for modern football and winning the FA Cup will only serve to appease the fan base and paper over another crack.

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