Liverpool FC: Why Kenny Dalglish Remains the Greatest Reds Player Ever
Kenny Dalglish has enjoyed a tumultuous second stint as Liverpool manager, particularly in this, his first full season since retaking the helm. The inconsistent results achieved thus far this season, has led for calls for his resignation in some corners.
Admittedly, one has nothing to do with the other, but amid the calls for his removal, let us nevertheless not forget his place in Liverpool lore as arguably the greatest Reds player ever. His name may not be found anywhere in the club’s record books, but his impact has been undeniable.
Here then are five reasons why he’s still the greatest Liverpool player ever.
5. His Service to the Club
The argument of course, is that Dalglish is the greatest player in Liverpool history, which might seem odd considering he scored a somewhat unremarkable 172 goals in 515 appearances for the club.
It would be folly nonetheless, to just look at his statistics in trying to gauge his impact on the field. As his playing career wound down and Ian Rush replaced him as the team’s main goal-scoring threat, it was Dalglish who provided most of the passes during Rush’s record-setting 1983-84 season, when he scored 47 goals in all competitions.
Even then, one cannot simply look at his playing career in isolation from his overall service to the club. As remarkable as his achievements were as a player, his tenure as manager has been arguably just as impressive.
He guided the club to its first ever “double”, winning the League Championship and the FA Cup in his first season as manager in 1985. All told his teams would win three League Championships and two FA Cups in a six-year period, while earning him Manager of the Year award three times.
4. His Performances in Key Moments
Dalglish’s achievements for Celtic ensured that he was already a household name by the time Liverpool came calling, and it took a then British record £440,000 transfer fee to secure his services. Dalglish had huge shoes to fill in taking over the number seven shirt of Kevin Keegan.
The Anfield favorite had moved to Hamburg, and the Kop faithful were skeptical of the Scottish import. It didn’t take Dalglish long to win over supporters however, scoring his first Liverpool goal in the season opener against Manchester United, in the Charity Shield.
A week later he would score seven minutes into his League debut against Middlesbrough, and then again in his Anfield debut against Newcastle.
Later that season he would put the finishing touch on Liverpool’s 6-0 thrashing of Keegan’s Hamburg in the 1977 European Super Cup Final.
Dalglish capped his debut Liverpool season by scoring the winning goal in the European Cup Final versus Bruges, and this was a premonition of a career in which he seemed to dial up the performance during key moments, scoring 118 goals in the League, 11 goals in European competition, and an impressive 30 goals in the final 15 minutes of games, in all competitions.
3. His Impact on the English Game
a) Their goals return- how prolific they were at their peak, and how long that peak extended
b) Their ability to turn it on in big games
c) Their effectiveness in winning trophies and awards.
d) The work they did for the team.
In winning the award, Dalglish beat out other greats of the English game such as Eric Cantona and Thierry Henry, and former Reds greats such as Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan, and “Sir” Roger Hunt.
2. The Number One Player Who Shook the Kop
In 2006, Liverpool FC’s website undertook a series of poll’s among followers, commemorating the greatest players in Liverpool history. The series ended with the iconic “100 Players Who Shook the Kop” survey, naming Kenny Dalglish at the top of the list.
This was admittedly a largely partisan undertaking, captive more to the nostalgic leanings of supporters, rather than being an objective and scientific comparison across players. Nonetheless, unscientific though it may be, who better to say which player had the greatest impact than the club’s supporters?
1. Leadership Defined
Everything that has been previously discussed brings us to perhaps his greatest, most inspirational quality: he has been an unmatched leader both on and off the pitch, whenever it has been called for.
While much has already been written about our tragic periods, Dalglish’s service as manager in the wake of the Heysel Stadium and later the Hillsborough disasters cannot be left unsaid. A lesser mortal would have crumbled under the combined weight of the events, but not our King Kenny.
On the field, his years at Liverpool marked one of the club's most successful periods, with seven league titles, three European Cups and five domestic trophies. To recap, as player-manager during a six-year tenure won three league titles and two FA Cups.
Steven Gerrard has been termed the “Soul of Liverpool” and Liverpool’s “Most Beloved Player of All Time” by some, but there is no denying which player has had the greatest impact at Liverpool, arguably our best leader, and who is the Greatest Reds player ever- that player undeniably is Kenny Dalglish.