Kenny Dalglish: Is the Liverpool Manager's Time at Anfield Over?

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IMay 13, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14:  Liverpool Manager Kenny Dalglish looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on January 14, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Another Premier League match, another Premier League loss. That's Liverpool FC's 2011/12 Premier League season summed up.

Early last year, hopes at Anfield were raised when Kenny Dalglish was appointed as manager of Liverpool Football club. A dull, boring season was revitalized by the return of Liverpool's favorite son, the faces of the fans glistened once more, belief in the team grew and the Reds salvaged themselves from a dire situation and ended their season on a high.

Coming into this season on the back of an onslaught in the summer transfer window, many of the Anfield faithful quietly backed their team to go on and achieve big things—getting a Champions League spot, possibly challenging for the league title and contesting for a cup or two here and there.

The excitement was palpable—until, of course, things stopped going to plan. The Reds proved themselves to be a formidable team in one-off games, but could never reproduce the same form in the league. Shock defeat upon shock defeat came and went, a consolatory but otherwise less than meaningful Carling Cup title was won and the favorite son of Anfield, vociferously praised in the beginning, was eschewed in silence.

However, it wasn't just on the field that things went wrong.

Over the course of the season, cracks in the foundations of Liverpool's player-acquisition/business model began to appear with the blame for Liverpool's ineffective player signings passed around willy-nilly (Damian Comolli was eventually sacked), and rumors of administrative change—that only served to unbalance the team—came and went with Johann Cruyff and Louis van Gaal at one stage or the other touted to become director of football at the club.

The accrued stresses of all of these took their toll on Dalglish and led to fractious dealings with the media that not only affected his perception by the wider public, but also disfavored his team—leaving them as easy targets for criticism.

More severely, though, the relationship between the owner and Dalglish, previously thought to be solid, melted down as the team's poor season played out. Public demonstrations of solidarity became increasingly absent—it seemed the owners shied away from it.

Ending the season with its lowest win percentage (36.84 percent) since the 1953-54 season, that's probably no surprise.

Reacting to rumors that he will be replaced next season by Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez, Dalglish said, "I expect the owners to have more dignity and integrity than to believe a story in a newspaper."

OK...rather spicy choice of words, no?

That aside, let's consider this sincerely: If Roberto Mancini and Manchester City were in Liverpool's position right now, would Mancini still be the manager of Manchester City?

Kenny Dalglish will always remain dear to Liverpool and its supporters because of his contributions to the club as a player and manager, but what is more important: future success or celebration of the past?