Liverpool fans were happy to welcome back Kenny Dalglish this week, despite over a decade out of football management.
Dalglish was powerless from the sideline in preventing his side from going down to arch rivals Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
Dimitar Berbatov won a controversial penalty inside a minute that Ryan Giggs smashed home for the only goal of the game. Steven Gerrard was sent off in the first half for a reckless challenge on Michael Carrick. Manchester United were not at their best, or at their strongest. Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael and Ryan Giggs played the full 90 minutes. Jonny Evans was just short of a full game before being replaced by Chris Smalling late on. Neither Nemanja Vidic or Wayne Rooney featured, but Michael Owen got 15 minutes against one of his former teams.
Jose Reina was forced into a number of successive saves during one point of the second half, while Kuszczak was rarely tested but for a Fabio Aurelio free kick. Liverpool’s man of the match must go to Ryan Babel for his mock picture of Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt posted on his Twitter after the game.
Kenny Dalglish couldn’t have been expected to win this game on his first game back, but the loss of Steven Gerrard through suspension is going to hinder him for the near future. Liverpool travel to Blackpool on Wednesday in the Premier League, having already lost at home to Ian Holloway’s side this season.
His previous Premier League experience did see him win the title with Blackburn in 1994/95. But a lot has happened in 15 years. Seemingly, a lot had happened between then and the 1997/98 season when he took Newcastle United from Premier League runners up to 13th place. He lost his job at the start of the following season and hasn’t had Premier League management experience since.
Backing of the Fans
One thing working in Kenny Dalglish’s favour is that he has the backing of the fans; something that Roy Hodgson never had. One thing he doesn’t have is a wealth of talent. The thing that was key to his successes with Liverpool in the 80’s, and Blackburn in 1995. There’s no John Aldridge, John Barnes, Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and co for him now! Instead, there’s an oft-injured and frustrated Fernando Torres up front, backed up by a headless chicken, David N’Gog. The defence has a has-been Jamie Carragher and are weak at full back. Raul Meireles hasn’t settled in and Lucas remains a first teamer. Can Dalglish really be expected to compete with top half sides like Blackburn and Stoke?!?
Liverpool currently sit in 12th position in the Premier League after Rafael Benitez guided them to 7th last season.
Manchester United travel to Southampton in the 4th round.