Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

King Kenny exits the castle

Kenny Dalglish is out as manager of Liverpool, just 16 months into his second stint in charge of the club that he once starred for.

John Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner and chairman Tom Werner made the decision after meeting with Dalglish in Boston earlier this week.

“Kenny came into the club as manager at our request at a time when Liverpool Football Club really needed him,” Werner said. “He didn’t ask to be manager; he was asked to assume the role. He did so because he knew the club needed him. He did more than anyone else to stabilise Liverpool over the past year and a half and to get us once again looking forward. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.

“However, results in the Premier League have been disappointing and we believe to build on the progress that has already been made, we need to make a change.”

In some ways it is not that surprising, as Liverpool finished the season in eighth in the Premier League, four points behind in-town rival Everton, 17 points behind fourth place Tottenham Hotspur (the final Champions League spot) and a whopping 37 points behind league champion Manchester City. It was their worst finish in 18 years and the lowest point total since the 1953-54 season.

Losses to Queens Park Rangers, Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and Swansea City in the second half of the season didn’t help either.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to come back to Liverpool Football Club as manager,” Dalglish said. “I greatly appreciate the work that Steve (Clarke), Kevin (Keen), the players and all of the staff put in during my time and feel proud that we delivered the club’s first trophy in six years winning the Carling Cup and came close to a second trophy in the FA Cup final. Of course I am disappointed with results in the league, but I would not have swapped the Carling Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our fans and the club to be back winning trophies.

“Whilst I am obviously disappointed to be leaving the football club, I can say that the matter has been handled by the owners and all concerned in an honourable, respectful and dignified way and reflects on the quality of the people involved and their continued desire to move the football club forward in the same way as when they arrived here.”

The way Dalglish handled the Luis Suárez nonsense didn’t help, nor did the fact that the only silverware the club brought home this season was the Carling Cup – which is a long, long way from Champions League glory.

In fact we wondered back in September about Dalglish’s future.

So now the team will begin the search for its fourth manager in as many years, with the candidates reportedly including Wigan’s Roberto Martinez, Swansea’s Brendan Rodgers, former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boras and former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.

And the pressure now falls squarely on Henry and Werner. While it’s easy to blame Dalglish for the signings that didn’t work out – Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, José Enrique and Charlie Adam – the owners signed off on the £120m in new deals.

Even more so that Major League Baseball, the Premier League is run by money, but the owners also have to be smart with their funds as they can’t simply outspend the oil sheiks and Russian oligarchs that control some of the other top teams. The fear is always there, however, that Henry and Werner don’t really know what they are doing. (Of course, it seems pretty clear the Glazers don’t know what they are doing, but Manchester United hasn’t exactly stumbled under their ownership.)

Henry bought the team because of its name and history.

Now it’s time for him to start making some history of his own.

(Photo by The Daily Mail)

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