Liverpool FC : 5 Positive Factors Kenny Dalglish Has Brought In So Far
The stature of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool Football Club and the esteem to which he is held is legendary and even the word "legend" may be too small to sum up what King Kenny means to his beloved Liverpool and vice versa.
Accolades describing the achievements of the Scot would be far too numerous to mention but suffice to say, he is the club's most loved player of all time and one of its most successful leaders.
So when the chips were down and Liverpool needed a saviour, it was unlikely that they would turn anywhere else but to their talisman of old.
Many viewed this as a step too far into the club's past and pointed to the fact that Dalglish broke under the stress of management in the past and hence has been away from the sharp end of the stick for far too long.
However, John Henry and his management team came to this club on the premise, that amongst other things, they would listen to the wants and needs of the supporters and fans. Of course not everything that is sung for on the Kop would be delivered, but once the name of Dalglish began raising the roof at the most famous stand in English football, it was only a matter of time.
There is no doubting that Dalglish is an "old-school" manager. But let that not disguise a football brain that has been far from out to fodder and man-management skills that are still second to none.
Liverpool Football Club needs Kenny Dalglish, in fact they needed him once they parted with Rafa Benitez. There is no doubt that Anfield is in transition and while this time of change is being introduced, who better to look after the time honoured traditions of this most decorated of clubs than a fans' idol.
But the honeymoon period has not materialized; a second baptism at Old Trafford and a further loss on the road in his first two matches have certainly resulted in the fans understanding that Dalglish's second coming is far from a fairytale.
Although results may not have gone his way so far, Dalglish has certainly brought something to Liverpool Football Club and has very quickly been able to stamp his identity onto the squad.
In no particular order here are five positive factors that Kenny Dalglish has brought back to Liverpool Football Club.
No.1: Unity of the Fans and the Kop
Very few heroes are idolized by their fans in the way that the Kop worships its favorites. And even fewer managers are held in the esteem to which Kenny Dalglish is held.
The lifeblood of Liverpool Football Club is its army of fans, locally and worldwide. And no more so than those that occupy the Kop.
Famously given the label as Liverpool's 12th man, a Kop in unison is an awesome sight and sound.
From the outset, Roy Hodgson had to win the fans over and more importantly have the support and backing of the Kop, there was no way of succeeding otherwise.
Liverpool fans are among the most forgiving in English football, if results are not going the manager's way they will support and sing his name till they die. In return, they want to see commitment, passion, pride, guts and a "give it all you got attitude" to their team's play and attitude.
In days of old, one of the most famous Kop chants was "ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!" That cry in unison has not been heard from that famous old stand for decades, but in Dalglish's first game back at Anfield it rang round the ground as the fans and supporters united again.
The old Dalglish chants were back too and the Kop sang its heart out in support of its hero and team playing in front of it.
The fans will allow Dalglish time to turn Liverpool's fortunes around in a way that Roy Hodgson could never dream about. With all due respect to Hodgson, he just did not garner the respect of the fans to permit them to do that.
That respect is not initially earned only through results but rather through attitude and approach to the game.
Kenny Dalglish has reunited the fans and the Kop behind him and they are a formidable force at his back.
No.2: Change to a More Attacking Approach to the Game
Home or away, Liverpool is taking a far more attacking approach to their matches.
Granted that in the three games to date, two away and one at home, the Reds have yet to win, but it is the approach to the away encounters that is so encouraging.
Against Manchester United in the FA Cup, Liverpool attacked and was not afraid to take the game to United even after going a man down.
The Reds were not frightened to go toe to toe with their arch rivals and what resulted may have been a loss, but it was also a restoration of pride and dignity.
Even their approach to the next match, away to Blackpool, was a contrast to what it would have been under Roy Hodgson. Although they ultimately lost, it appeared that they were not afraid to.
In every away match under Hodgson, Liverpool appeared to play with fear and trepidation, such was the instilled fear in them of losing.
Dalglish has removed that fear and allowed the attacking spirit of the team to return and in the long run this will show in away victories that have been so very rare recently.
Part of this has come about in the formation of the team moving away from the rigid 4-4-2 of Hodgson to a more fluid 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation.
The players have played their best football in this formation, the squad has been built around it and overall it works.
"If it ain't broke, why fix it?" was a famous quote from another old famous Liverpool manager.
No.3: Brought Back the Spirit of Fernando Torres
There is no question that since the return of Kenny Dalglish, star striker Fernando Torres seems to be a much happier person and a far more potent player.
Part of this must stem from Dalglish returning the team to a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 formation. It is apparent that Torres prefers to play in the role of the lone striker. He is far more effective that way for Liverpool and even for Spain.
He works the channels well, holds up the ball well and has the freedom to roam the front line at will.
Should Liverpool delve into the market for another striker, as they need to do, it may well be one to act as a foil for Torres and be able to play just off him rather than completely alongside him.
His superb strike against Blackpool and typical powerful run and shot that cannoned off the post in the Derby, is testament of a player re-aquiring his confidence.
The body language is better, the swagger is back and the fear he strikes into defenders is returning.
Dalglish has brought the fight back into Torres' game. He has given him that trust and publicly given his striker a huge injection of confidence.
When Dalglish was asked recently in an interview if he had a magic wand to bring Torres back to form, his response was a huge boost to the Spaniard:
He said that he did not need a magic wand as “Fernando Torres has got a magic wand. We have great aims to build on and it is up to us to get him going,” said Dalglish.
Dalglish is one of the greatest strikers to have played for the Reds, Torres has no one better to learn from and to be motivated by.
Torres will go from strength to strength under Dalglish and with one of the league's top marksmen back on top form, Liverpool will climb the table once again.
No. 4: Saying the Right Thing at the Right Time During Interviews
Kenny Dalglish has a wit that is as dry as the Sahara Desert and he uses this expertly during media interviews. But these humorous anecdotes are only a part of the intelligent manner with which he dominates media opportunities.
There is never a word that is not measured and thoughtfully expressed by the interview savvy Scot.
Where fans dreaded what Roy Hodgson would say during interviews, with Dalglish it is wonderfully entertaining to watch.
Dalglish has the uncanny knack of always seeming to be in total control of the discussion and answering questions with skill and aplomb. Hodgson was sometimes too wordy and overly comprehensive in his responses at times, Dalglish knows just when a little is more than enough. It just seems that King Kenny is his namesake when interviewed and he rules the interview room.
He has been quick to praise players just when and how much they need it, as well as being able to illustrate that collective praise for the team is the best form of encouragement.
He has been in tune with the fans and is always ready to demonstrate the huge part they play in the team's performances and attitude. Hodgson may have at times also done this, but not with the sincerity of Dalglish.
Additionally, it is that dry wit that he has which can cut through a sticky question and quickly pass onto the next one.
Even after the defeat at Blackpool, Dalglish's comments were not in anyway damaging or daft, as some have been from his predecessor.
Interviewers seem to be wary of Dalglish and hence he is never made a fool of. This adds to the overall integrity and respect others have for Liverpool Football Club.
No. 5: The Boot Room, Steve Clarke and a Different Approach to Training
Kenny Dalglish has been quoted as wanting to bring back the famous Liverpool Boot Room.
Such was the aura of the place for all concerned with Liverpool during its ascent to, and stay at, the top levels of English and European football that the place acquired an almost mythical status.
When asked of its importance, Dalglish wittily said: “It was somewhere special. I think the Peace Treaty was signed in there!"
The Scot wants more to bring the spirit of the old room back than to re-open the doors to a little room under the stairs in the depths of Anfield. It is more what the place represented that Dalglish wishes to return to.
A place where the Liverpool management team would plot and hatch plans to overcome their rivals, post match drinks with opposing managers arranged to wean out their tactics and more importantly where managers and players discussed matters.
“Everything pertinent to Liverpool Football Club going onwards and upwards was discussed in there."
It is this, maybe more than anything else, that Dalglish wants to bring back. That feeling of being in a team that is all pulling in the same direction for one simple goal—success.
"Certainly that’s the way I have been brought up and wherever I have been I have always included the staff in conversations and depended on them to lay out the training and perform their roles.”
With this in mind, Dalglish has appointed Steve Clarke as his first team coach.
The Scot is surrounding himself with what he is, a winner. Clarke was the mastermind behind Jose Murinho's successful Chelsea side and the benefits of a great coach cannot be underestimated.
Success on the training ground translates to success on match day. Top managers surround themselves with great coaches. It is the coach that pushes the squad through hard training sessions and makes those drills and exercises fun and eventful.
All this stems from Dalglish's desire to make training fun again. He has been said to want to bring the smiles back at Melwood. In the old days, it was rumoured that all Liverpool training sessions were simple five-a-side matches!
Although that is a thing of the past, it may not be far from the truth to suggest that a return to the odd five-a-side may well be on the Reds' new training routine.
Onwards and Upwards........
Kenny Dalglish is a man from Liverpool's very successful past, mandated with the task of bringing his beloved Reds back on to the road to future success.
He reminded the fans that living in the romantic past was wonderful, but only for a short period and that it was always onwards and upwards.
Dalglish himself knows that his second tenure is far more demanding than his first and that he will need all his management skills and leadership to drag his Reds back to being on the road to success once more.
One thing is for certain, Kenny Dalglish has the best for his beloved club at heart. His response to being asked if he would return was typical Dalglish, he stated that if the club needed him, how could he say no.
He places his legendary status on the line coming back to the Anfield top spot, but one thing is for certain for Dalglish fans, supporters and the Kop have a hero that will give everything he has and find more to put Liverpool Football Club back on to the road to recovery.
So far, Kenny Dalglish is showing the right signs, now all he needs are the results to start going his way.