Fulham 2: Liverpool 5. How Can Dalglish Not Be Manager of the Season?

Gary M. ThomasContributor IIMay 9, 2011

Maxi celebrates hs hattrick against Fulham
Maxi celebrates hs hattrick against FulhamScott Heavey/Getty Images

Messrs. Henry & Werner, why oh why didn't you listen to the fans earlier, say back in Dec. or Nov. and get Dalglish in?

The club would have been assured of a Champions League place by now if you did.

And this is not hindsight talking, as I and many others, including the match-going crowd knew, and more importantly remembered what Kenny Dalglish the Manager was like, even in the face of Hodgson & the press saying how terrible this LFC squad allegedly was.

OK, rant over. This is not supposed to be a downer article, because the feeling I have—and I'm sure it's shared—is similar to the latter half of the 08/09 season, when thrashing teams by 3, 4 or 5 goals (home or away) was the norm as the club had a barnstorming chase of Man. Utd. for the title.

This time the chase is for 5th, but performances like today's against Fulham sends the mind back in time a couple of years.

I mention fifth, as it would take a collapse of Newcastle-1996 proportions for Man. City not to get the three points needed from their last three games. We can walk with hope in our hearts until the maths make it impossible however.

The mere fact however, that in May, it's still mathematically possible for Liverpool to get 4th is the reason why Kenny Dalglish has to be Manager of the year. Lest we forget, when he came in, the club were 4 points from the relegation zone (having spent some time there itself). The team was playing with no purpose and no drive, reflecting then management's own downgraded expectations.

Within Dalglish's first full week, only a single point out of six was earned.

Shortly after that, one of the team's two talismen was sold for another who was new to England, and another who would be injured for most of the remaining campaign. The team's second talisman and captain was suspended for Dalglish's first three league games, and has subsequently missed the majority of games since.

One of the first choice center backs has also missed most of the games under Dalglish.

And yet still, Liverpool still has a mathematical chance for fourth place and will almost surely wrap up fifth place before the last weekend.

If Dalglish can do this with this allegedly terrible squad, then who else deserves manager of the year?

Not Wenger or Ancelotti or Mancini, who have underachieved, with the resources available to them. Redknapp's team had good run in the UCL, but finishing sixth with the resources available to him also smacks of serious under-achievement this year.

There are no "fairy-tales" this season, like Hodgson's last year (although how coming 12th & losing a Cup Final was a fairy-tale still astounds me).

The closest in this category would probably have been Blackpool's Holloway if they'd kept up their early season form, when a top-half finish beckoned. 

So I would ask again, who else deserves it besides Kenny Dalglish? The simple answer is no one.

Of course, when Ferguson gets 19 next week, there'll probably be no stopping him getting it, even if the league was won more by default this year. Should he get a 'long service' award for passing Liverpool's 18 titles? Most definitely.

For this year? Maybe not.

Then again they gave Giggs as a long-service type award a couple of seasons ago (when he should have gotten it long before that), so that's probably what will happen again.

Before signing off, a quick word on Sami Hyypia who announced his retirement last week. The word Legend is used too easily and quickly these days (see Torres), but Hyypia was and is a true Legend of Liverpool FC.

His 10-year service is probably the best value-for-money purchase made by the club. His conduct as a player on, and a person off the field was second to none during his time at the club.

In my own view, while others like Garcia, Alonso, Carragher & Gerrard were rightly lauded during the Club's winning run in the 04/05 Champions League campaign, I felt at the time, and still do, that over the course of the entire run, Hyypia, for his consistent defensive work and for his valuable goals was the outstanding player for the club during that magical run.

I salute you Sami Hyypia. Thank you for the good times!