Club Focus – Liverpool – Legendary Dalglish deserves credit for Reds turnaround

Liverpool may have to wait until Monday night before they can continue their push for a top-five finish, but optimistic manager Kenny Dalglish has heaped praise on his players for turning their faltering season around since the Scot was appointed back in the dark days of January. A humiliating 3-1 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers in Roy Hodgson’s final game in charge saw lowly Liverpool sink to 12th in the Premier League table, having collected a meagre 25 points from 20 games. Now, the improved Reds find themselves sitting pretty in sixth – four points ahead of bitter local rivals Everton.

Many fans will correctly propose that Dalglish himself deserves most of the credit for helping Liverpool get back to their best. However ‘King Kenny’ remains appreciative of the players’ efforts over the last three months. The Scot’s appointment brought renewed optimism around Anfield following the torment faced by supporters under the miserable tenure of Hodgson. Since his arrival, Dalglish has helped Liverpool pick up 20 points from just 11 games, a run which has seen many players, pundits and fans alike call for him to be given the job on a full-time basis. The owners have not offered him a contract just yet but it is unlikely John Henry and co will let such a popular figure slip through their hands.

Of all the improvements Dalglish has made, the most significant has been to restore confidence among the players. While former boss Hodgson spoke of his players in a somewhat negative manner in his press conferences and constantly bemoaned the lack of quality at his disposal, Dalglish has taken a completely different approach. The Scot is far more complimentary towards his players and has offers them his full backing. Dalglish often gives ‘credit to the lads’ in his post-match interviews, something Hodgson was less inclined to do. This has helped to transform the atmosphere in the dressing room and the Reds are visibly confident and have shown greater spirit and togetherness thanks to this more appropriate approach.

The fact that Liverpool are within touching distance of that all-important fifth-spot indicates how well the club has developed under Dalglish. Under Hodgson, even matching last season’s top-seven finish seemed a distant dream. Now, the Reds could improve on where they finished in Rafael Benitez’s worst season. Indeed, the players must be given credit for rising up to the challenge and showing their true quality in the second half of the campaign, but it is clear that the change in manager has made a real difference.

So, as Liverpool prepare to face moneybags Manchester City at Anfield on Monday night, it would not be surprising to see them put on a much better show than earlier in the season under Hodgson, where they were thrashed 3-0 by Roberto Mancini’s men. Dalglish will undoubtedly give more credit to his players regardless of the result, but in the eyes of many, it is the delightful Liverpool legend who deserves many of the plaudits for the remarkable turnaround at the club.

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