The Transformation of Liverpool Under Kenny Dalglish

Photo by wekkuzipp. Dalglish (pictured center).

Since returning to the managerial spotlight at Anfield, Kenny Dalglish has set about constructing a Liverpool team with a solid core and an old-fashioned British mentality. Although several of Liverpool’s squad possess overseas passports, the transformation of the sides core has a particularly home-grown feel.

At the back we can expect to see the ever reliable Jamie Carragher turning in more of the heroic performances that have made him a living legend on Merseyside. Further forward we’ll see the equally legendary Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, a player who is now relishing life under the management of his boyhood hero and is armed with a renewed belief in his dream of lifting the Premiership trophy with his home-town club. At the ages of 33 and 31 respectively, both Carragher and Gerrard will be well aware that they have precious little time to realise their collective dream of bringing the league title back to Anfield. As a result we should expect a fresh enthusiasm for success from both these key players come August 13th. At full-back Dalglish is likely to look to Glen Johnson on the right side whilst a move for Newcastle’s energetic Spaniard Jose Enrique is still very much on the cards. Missing out on Enrique would not spell disaster, with both Fabio Aurelio and Danny Wilson capable of operating at left-back, however Dalglish will want to be certain of his back four before the season begins. Having tasted several successes in the game, both as player and manager, the Scot knows the importance of a consistent and familiar defensive unit when trying to compete at the top end of the English game.

Another issue that Dalglish appears very much aware of is the need for a fluid and balanced midfield. In Gerrard he can of course rely however, since the departures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano to La Liga, Liverpool have looked disjointed in the centre of the park and perhaps relied on Gerrard too much. This season they will not be short of quality in that area at all, with the impressive Raul Meireles looking to build on his tireless performances of last season and Lucas Leiva finally looking to have found his feet in the Premier League. Twenty-one year old Jordan Henderson will be desperate to live up to his billing as the ‘next Steven Gerrard’ by turning in the box-to-box midfield performances that earned him a regular place at Sunderland and an array of admirers at across Europe. Add into that mix the creative and technical prowess of new signing Charlie Adam, a player who possesses the natural football intelligence to pick apart the very best defences, and the Liverpool midfield oozes an appetising cocktail of energy and quality.

Dalglish will also be hoping that he can help Stewart Downing realise his potential as a deadly attacking force. Downing has always promised great things and can deliver match-winning performances on his day. Unfortunately he has suffered from inconsistency in the past, but his big money move from Aston Villa this summer offers him his best opportunity yet to prove his true value in a top quality team. The relentless work-rate of Dirk Kuyt will be a reliable source of consistency for Liverpool this season, though it remains to be seen how involved the Dutchman will be in a side that is now packed with options in midfield and attack. That Kuyt may be relegated to the bench on occasion speaks to the strength in depth which Liverpool now possess, a key component of any title challenging side. The squad includes players who all have something to prove and will be eager to try and force their way into the starting eleven.

Up front, Liverpool’s hopes rely very much on the two players who arrived in January 2011 and impressed before the end of last season. Luis Suarez is a menace to opposing defences with an impressive work ethic, dazzling footwork and a keen eye for goal. Indeed, few would argue that in Suarez Liverpool have found a more than suitable replacement for Fernando Torres. The Anfield faithful have already taken the Uruguayan to their hearts and this is in no small part down to his gutsy performances at the back end of last season. His strike partner Andy Carroll is another player who will have hunger in abundance following his staggering £35million move from Newcastle in the final hours of the January transfer window. Unlike Suarez, Carroll was unable to show his true ability, struggling to find his best form after a succession of injuries. The Liverpool number nine will be desperate to justify his price-tag and recapture the kind of form that earned him a move to Merseyside. At Newcastle Carroll displayed his abilities as a target man, proving that when he is fit and at his best he can be unstoppable. If Liverpool can provide Carroll with top quality service, and with the likes of Adam, Downing and Gerrard they should be able to, he is a good bet to be the leading scorer in the league this year. Should Carroll and Suarez strike up an effective partnership and both stay clear of injuries, Liverpool’s season has the potential to be hugely successful. In Kenny Dalglish they have an experienced tactician and perhaps more importantly for the fans a popular and likeable leader. With King Kenny at the helm, the Anfield club can realistically set their sights on a top four finish and without the rigours of a European campaign to worry about they must be considered very real contenders for the Premiership crown.

28 thoughts on “The Transformation of Liverpool Under Kenny Dalglish”

  1. Also teams that win titles don’t do so because they don’t have to play in European competitions. They do so because they’re good. Let’s put to rest the idea that their is an advantage to not being in multiple competitions. This is something people say to ease the sting of their club having an unsuccessful season. Liverpool already lost one player because of missing out on Champions League football. And although ‘Pool fans may say good riddance to Torres at this point, miss out on honors again and one Mr. Suarez, who is already smitten at the thought of playing in the Bernabeu, will be leaving too.

    1. RE Blue moon : Barcelonas stadium is called the Nou Camp actually so before u start spouting that liverpools best player wants to leave please get at least ur basic facts right! Suarez has sed in the past that its his dream to play for BARCELONA even before joinin liverpool and u cant begrudge him that if thats his dream! its not as if he said it last week and is fed up of liverpool tho isit! And if liverpool were to sell him in this market with him havin signed a six year deal ur talkin 50m easy so next time u start ur bitter spoutings please use ur brain! Also, the majority of liverpool fans are not bitter about torres as he strolled around disinterested for the best part of two years while knowing the club was in difficulty! And wen in comes to the league, liverpool this year are an unknown quantity so how do you in ur expertise known they wont challenge wen the squad is massivly different to last year and with a new manager who gathered more points than every team but chelsea in his six months! ur entire post is just malicious and biased! Im a liverpool fan as u prob can tell and i think we;ll finish top 4 and get a gd run in a trophy hopeflly but for u to slag us off randomly is stupid

    2. ‘et’s put to rest the idea that their is an advantage to not being in multiple competitions” You mean like the english getting on robinhos back or the scots on neymar. Yeah when folks get shown up, they usually react with all sorts of excuses dont they.

  2. “Add into that mix the creative and technical prowess of new signing Charlie Adam, a player who possesses the natural football intelligence to pick apart the very best defences”

    If that’s how you view Charlie Adams id love to hear what you think of Xavi, Iniesta, Sneijder, Nasri or Pastore.

  3. Liverpool have failed miserably in the transfer market commingle off their worst season in the premier era and have overpaid for a bunch of marginal talent. This ‘rebuilding’ that you write of makes no sense. When Man City spent money on quality the press screams its just a foreign owner throwing money after money. When Liverpool does the same thing for average skill they are the most brilliant back office and watch out world Liverpool’s who can’t qualify for Europe, beat WBA, nor sign any top class transfer are the top team in England. Liverpool and their American know nothing owñers are bad for football. They inflate cost of players, raise ticket prices, finish 7the and laugh all the way to Boston. I can’t believe any self respecting Liverpool fan is not upset. Myself and my pops will never go see Liverpool again after this joke. But who cares, there are enough of you ‘true’ fans out there willing to give up 300 quid to help give the Red Sox a world Series

    1. There is this song that Liverpool fans sing…don’t know if you’ve heard of it…but it’s called You’ll Never Walk Alone. There is a line in it that sums up many Liverpool fans “Walk on, with hope in your heart.” We are a naturally optimistic bunch, generally speaking. Of course, when the hard evidence comes in, we can turn as quickly as anyone, but were are always willing to support our club and believe the best until we have reason to belief otherwise.

      You say Liverpool “have failed miserably in the transfer market”. We’ve haven’t even started the season yet! Don’t you think it is just a tad early to declare it all a failure??

    2. You do know that the way the owners have it set up, what happens at Liverpool has no influence on what happens with the Red Sox….and vice versa….

      Plus everything that the owners don’t know they have delegated to people that are more than capable…do you really think that an organization this big has people running around who dont have a clue what they r doing?

  4. Nice article. Looking forward to our club hitting the pitch with the new arrivals. We still need a player or two, but the club is definately on the right path in all areas.
    Keep up the good work.

  5. Dalglish has been the best signing by Liverpool since Torres. There’s only one spot open for the Champions League and that will be fought between Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool.

    In terms of spirit, Liverpool go in with the kind of optimism that both Spurs and Arsenal are missing right now with their transfer saga’s at the moment. If Liverpool win the title it will be one of the biggest shockers in recent memory which is why it won’t happen.

    The big key for Liverpool is getting off to a good start, it’s something that eluded them under Benitez and obviously under Hodgson as well.

    1. Don’t be sure about it being one spot.

      Chelsea still haven’t addressed an ageing squad which is mainly past its prime. Man U still haven’t addressed their midfield problem which has been worsened by Scholes’s departure.

      Man U didn’t win the league last year because of their stellar displays. They won the league because the competition capitulated, mainly Chelsea and Arsenal.

      This will be the most competitive season at the top in a looooong time, you can bet your bottom dollar on it.

      1. As for Spurs, they have never been a top 4 team. Yeah they finished in the top 4 ONCE, but you have to remember so did Everton (The year Liverpool won the CL).

        Spurs happened to be in the right place at the right time when Liverpool faltered in Rafa’s last season in charge. Before that they’ve had no history of playing with the big boys. They’ve had their 5 minutes of fame.

        It will be normal service resumed with the “regular” top 4 + City competing for the main spots.

  6. JJ – congrats mate, you just ended my readership of this website with one moronic post. I used to think people with brains used to read this site, now I can just compare you to the rest of the shyte football fans out there that know nothing about any sport except their emotions.

      1. So write your own post. It’s idiotic comments like yours that really annoy the readers on this site.

        If your so advanced on the EPL then you should let us all in with your posts. Grow up. Either ignore the post or read something else.

    1. Nick, we have no control over comments posted on the site, but to say you’re going to end the relationship just because of one comment you don’t agree with seems a bit excessive. Sorry.

      The Gaffer

  7. What a surprise.. Two Mancs banging their gums over Liverpool… Obsessed or what.. As for ‘Jj’ get back to Football Manager

  8. I enjoy reading from this website, and this article has led to my first post…
    I don’t have a problem with fans being optimistic at this stage of the season, but you are dreaming.

    First, and most importantly, Liverpool have done nothing to address their biggest single problem – a lack of depth and quality in defence. In fact, they have not had a decent defence since Sami Hyypia left. I do admire Jamie Carragher, as I am also an old school romantic, however he is best suited to being a great squad player, to add depth. Glenn Johnson has quality. However Martin Skrtl and Daniel Agger must be challenged in the squad as they have proven to be unsuccessful and injury prone.

    If Liverpool had gone out and bought 2 of they following players, then they could be taken seriously (Same applies to Arsenal):
    Gary Cahill
    Phil Jagielka
    Michael Dawson
    Christopher Samba
    Roger Johnson
    Brede Hangeland

    Don’t even get me started on Liverpools’ left back situation….it is a disaster.

    You will find that the three best defences in the league will finish in the top three positions: Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City.

    1. DFaz –

      You are absolutely right about LFC’s backline, but the transfer window’s not closed yet!

      As for the defenders mentioned, not sure they are all that stellar players themselves, but I agree in principle. LFC have all the strikers and midfielders they need to make a run for it this season, but they need at minimum two more defenders, ideally a Center back and a left back.

      All that said, its worth noting that during their run at the end of the last season, Liverpool often went out with Carra, a couple teenagers from the academy and some scotch tape. (Was it against Chelsea that they played a 3-5-2?) You’d think they’d have been slaughtered in those encounters, but in fact, they let in very few goals because of tempo control, a top class keeper and the midfield destruction of Lucas.

      1. Roger Johnson went to Wolves for 7m…. In my world that is great business. Why other clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool, or others for that matter didn’t come in for him baffles me. This guy has been a rock for Birmingham and shows great character.

        But really, Liverpool could have spent that 20m for Jordan Henderson on both Gary Cahill from Bolton and Chris Samba from Blackburn, plus a few more million….would have really struck a blow to Arsenal and would have given the team more balance.

        Still, as you say, they have a month to get it right….

    2. Thanks for the comment DFaz. Firstly I’d just like to point out that I am not in any way a Liverpool fan. I don’t even have a soft spot for them as a second team. I completely agree with you about the defensive situation at Liverpool. As I eluded to in the article Carragher is getting on a bit now and the left back position is up in the air. I do feel that if they can set the tempo and dominate games in midfield (especially at Anfield) then the Liverpool defence will have a more simplistic task ahead of them. Dalglish seems to have a lot of cash to spend though and if they don’t make a move for a new centre half then I’m assuming he feels confident that the players he has are capable.
      Thanks again

  9. Man U are still, in my mind, the team to beat…Sure they’ve lost Scholes, and I’m not sold on Anderson BUT I think they will revert to playing the fluid counter attacking style of the Ronaldo years.

    They’ve now got Rooney, Hernandez, Young, Valencia and Nani all able to play up front. Not to mention the Prems co top scorer Berbatov…won’t be surprised if Rooney is dropped even deeper to play even more as a Trequartista.

    Chelsea have done some OK things to liven up the squad..I still feel that Central Midfield is their biggest weakness (which used to be an area of strength).

    I like what Liverpool have done. Solid midfield. Good strike force. I think they will definitely finish top 4, and could make a solid title push.

    As good as Tevez is, I think City may, gasp, play better without him..And now they’ve added Aguero. The defense was solid. And Hart has a case as the best keeper in the Prem (at least top 3).

    I think Man U/City make up the top 2 again…leaving LPool, CFC, Arsenal, and Spurs fighting for 3-4.

  10. Liverpool fans do tend to be a bit delusional. The club is nowhere near the class of the top 3. Any reasonable person would acknowledge that the title will go to United, City or Chelsea. Anything else would be a monumental upset. I understand the optimistic outlook for a new season but you do have to temper it with reality. 4th spot will be fought over by Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool. All 3 have a shot, with Arsenal being the odds on favorite.

  11. Nice one Rozza, love that subtle nod to your possibly out bound Spaniard too.

    Do agree, we’ll see a reinvigorated carra and gerrard, twilight is dawning (does that even make sense!!!), adh hopefully it’ll have the effect you’ve suggested, from all i can gather from their attitude up until this point i would (and again hope) imagine you’re more right than wrong.


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