A heavy weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Liverpool supporters around the world today with the news that manager Roy Hodgson has been sacked. With caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish appointed, the Reds now go in to their FA Cup Third Round match against arch-rivals Manchester United with a renewed sense of belief and a sliver of a hope that Dalglish, one of the greatest players in the history of Liverpool, can rally the team to defeat United at Old Trafford.
Without a doubt, the appointment of Dalglish has made the atmosphere on Merseyside instantly rosier.
But should it? Does a manager make that much of a difference? Liverpool has the same set of players who have been putting in woeful performances. Tactics can change and confidence can be boosted, but will Dalglish’s appointment make that much of a difference? Can one man reverse Liverpool’s season and provide them the miracle cure they need? Is Dalglish Liverpool’s savior, or a mere stop-gap soluton before Fenway Sports Group appoint someone this summer?
While many Liverpool supporters are gushing that Dalglish has been appointed caretaker manager, the reality is that the Scot hasn’t managed in the Premier League since 1998 when he was sacked as manager of Newcastle United by former chairman Freddie Shepherd. The danger is that some Liverpool supporters believe that Dalglish is going to be Liverpool’s savior to pull them from the depths of defeat and return them to former glories, or at least to attain a respectable finish to this Premier League season. Some are talking about Dalglish being appointed the long-term manager this summer even though King Kenny hasn’t managed a game as caretaker quite yet.
Dalglish is being thrown in the deep-end at the worst possible time. His first match in charge of the Reds is against their closest rivals. He’s being thrown right in to the January transfer window. And while Liverpool supporters will give Dalglish plenty more time than Hodgson, it’s important that Liverpool supporters give Dalglish the time and patience to adapt so he can turn Liverpool’s season into a respectable one. For some Reds supporters to expect him to transform this side is unrealistic. Dalglish needs to be given the time and confidence to try to get the best out of the Liverpool side and to keep stringing them along until this summer when a permanent decision can be made. If Dalglish does better than expected, then he could be considered for a full-time position. But more likely Dalglish will transition the manager’s position to someone who can take the ropes on a permanent basis, who is best suited to adopt FSG’s Moneyball strategies as it relates to transfer signings and football strategy.