The plot line for the joint Liverpool and FOX Soccer documentary about the behind-the-scenes story at Liverpool FC got decidedly more exciting today after it was announced that Kenny Dalglish has been sacked as Liverpool manager. Roberto Martinez is the favorite to replace him according to the bookies, and bets on Martinez and Rafa Benitez have been suspended.
However, earlier today, BBC’s Ian McGarry (who is a guest host on the BBC Radio Five Live Monday Night Club show) said that a current Premier League manager has been approached for discussions regarding taking over the Liverpool FC job. Despite widespread speculation among bookies that Roberto Martinez is the leading candidate, McGarry added that the Premier League manager approached for the job is not Martinez. Presuming that McGarry’s tip is valid, that leaves potential candidates as Paul Lambert, Alan Pardew, Brendan Rodgers, David Moyes and Martin O’Neill as potential candidates. But the chances of Moyes joining Liverpool from Everton would be almost impossible, while O’Neill seems happy at Sunderland. Therefore, this could open up the possibility to give either Paul Lambert or Brendan Rodgers — two managers who both finished just five points behind Liverpool with far fewer resources — an opportunity to step up into the Anfield job.
The decision for Dalglish to leave Liverpool is a wise one. The manager did well last season when he took over from Roy Hodgson, but as manager, the performances of his Liverpool squad during the 2011-12 season were — at times — woeful. It seemed that Dalglish was short of tactical ideas, kept on making excuses and wasn’t able to get the most of a poor Liverpool squad for most of the season. Their 2012 Carling Cup victory came after winning in penalties against Cardiff City, a side that West Ham United streamrolled over in the Championship Playoff semi-finals.
While Roberto Martinez is being talked about as the favorite for the Liverpool manager position, many Liverpool supporters are dismissing Martinez’s record and are calling for bigger names. The reality is, however, that Liverpool is no longer a top four club as evidenced by the eighth place finish in the season, where “lesser” clubs such as Newcastle United and cross-city rivals Everton finished above them. Many Liverpool fans have a false sense of reality where they believe they are, and that someone of the ilk of a Jose Mourinho or Didier Deschamps should be approached to take over the job. Or former hero Rafa Benitez, who is still idolized by many Liverpool supporters despite his complete fall from grace during the latter years of his Liverpool reign.
The reality is that a Paul Lambert, Roberto Martinez or Brendan Rodgers is someone better suited for the Liverpool job. These are not big names, but are instead gifted managers who know how to manage a team and how to get the most out of them. Tactically, they’re sound. And giving any of them the opportunity to replace Dalglish would be an honor to manage such a famous football club. Given the resources to build the squad, I’m sure any of those three could do a much better job of managing Liverpool than Kenny Dalglish did.
Don’t get me wrong. Kenny Dalglish is still a deserved legend at Liverpool Football Club. He turned around their 2010-11 season after Hodgson was sacked, and he regained a lot of the faith and trust in Liverpool FC. But it’s time for the club to move on. Dalglish did the best that he could, but he was out of his depth. Now is the time to hand over the manager’s job to someone who can rebuild this Liverpool squad into a team that opponents fear.
Here is Liverpool’s statement in full:
“After a careful and deliberative review of the season, the Club came to the decision that a change was appropriate. It is not a decision that was reached lightly or hastily.
The search for a new Manager will begin immediately.
Principal owner John Henry was fulsome in his praise for the outgoing Manager.
“Kenny will always be more than a championship winning manager, more than a championship winning star player. He is in many ways the heart and soul of the club. He personifies everything that is good about Liverpool Football Club. He has always put the Club and its supporters first. Kenny will always be a part of the family at Anfield.
“Our job now is to identify and recruit the right person to take this Club forward and build on the strong foundations put in place during the last 18 months.”
Liverpool Chairman Tom Werner said it was a tough decision, but ultimately one that needed to be made.
“Kenny came into the Club as Manager at our request at a time when Liverpool Football Club really needed him. He didn’t ask to be Manager; he was asked to assume the role. He did so because he knew the Club needed him. He did more than anyone else to stabilize Liverpool over the past year-and-a-half and to get us once again looking forward. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.
“However, results in the Premier League have been disappointing and we believe to build on the progress that has already been made, we need to make a change.
“We are committed to delivering success for our supporters and our ambition remains resolute to return this great Club to the elite of England and Europe, where it belongs.”
Kenny Dalglish’s departure brings to an end his second spell at the Club where, as a player, he won numerous honours, including six English league titles and three European Cup trophies. As Manager he won three league titles, two FA Cups and of course this season, the Carling Cup.
Dalglish said he is proud to have served such a great Club.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to come back to Liverpool Football Club as Manager. I greatly appreciate the work that Steve, Kevin, the players and all of the staff put in during my time and feel proud that we delivered the Club’s first trophy in six years winning the Carling Cup and came close to a second trophy in the FA Cup Final. Of course I am disappointed with results in the league, but I would not have swapped the Carling Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our fans and the Club to be back winning trophies.
“Whilst I am obviously disappointed to be leaving the football club, I can say that the matter has been handled by the owners and all concerned in an honourable, respectful and dignified way and reflects on the quality of the people involved and their continued desire to move the football club forward in the same way as when they arrived here.
“I would like to thank all of the staff at the Club for their effort and loyalty. I said when first approached about coming back as Manager that I would always be of help if I can at any time and that offer remains the same.
“Finally, I want to put on record my heartfelt gratitude to Liverpool’s fans, who have always given me and the Club their unwavering support. Without them neither the Club nor I would have achieved anything.”
UPDATE: As of Friday, May 18, Swansea City manager has been approached by Liverpool to be interviewed for the Liverpool job, but has turned down the interview request.