revitalising torres key for dalglish
Published 10/01/2011 | 05:00
Kenny Dalglish has inherited a Liverpool squad low on confidence and one which Roy Hodgson will feel let down by, but the biggest issue facing Kenny is, without question, what to do with Fernando Torres.
Torres worked hard against Manchester United, but there is no escaping that he had an absolute stinker before he was taken off with 13 minutes to play.
He was brushed off too often in challenges with Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand and it is obvious that he is playing with very little confidence at the moment.
Compared to the standards he has set as a Liverpool player, Torres has been poor this season and there are now a lot of supporters who would be happy to see the club the bite the hand off anyone prepared to offer £40-50m for him.
I don't know what Kenny plans to do with Torres, but he defended his performance after the game, gave him the thumbs up and cajoled when taking him off, so it appears as though he is ready to encourage him and try to get the best out of him.
That will not be easy because the Fernando Torres we are seeing now is a shadow of the player who decimated Nemanja Vidic in United-Liverpool games for three seasons running.
But Kenny will know that Torres is his best striker by a long way and that, if Liverpool are to progress in the next six months, he has to get him back to his best.
When you consider Kenny's status among the supporters, if he decides that selling Torres is the best option, then few people will question his decision.
I don't think he is looking to get rid of him, however, because he needs a forward who is scoring regularly and Torres has shown the ability to do that in a Liverpool shirt.
Kenny will work at getting the confidence back into Torres, but the performance of the team overall at United, particularly defensively, was so much better than against Blackburn in Roy's final game in charge. It was like night-and-day.
It all boils down to the players. Rafa Benitez is culpable for the situation the team is in, as is Roy, but the one constant is the players and Kenny has to get them performing again.
The squad isn't as strong as it should be for a club of Liverpool's standing, but it is certainly better than its current position in the Premier League.
Most new managers inspire an improvement when they arrive and that was evident at Old Trafford, but one of the problems nowadays is that it is too easy for the modern day footballer to go home and not worry about their performances.
At the end of the day, you have to stand or fall as a team. It's up to the manager to get the best from players, individually and collect-ively, but the incentives for play-ers do not seem to be there now.
When Liverpool were challenging for European Cup in 1978, the bonus for beating Borussia Moenchengladbach in the semi-final was £250 per man.
I thought that was a pittance, but when you consider we were on £6,500 each to win the final, it highlighted the point that you had to win things to earn financial rewards.
Those incentives are gone now, though, because the money earned by players is so big. Players even earn money when a manager kicks them out!
Although Kenny is a close friend and I am automatically biased, if it was my money at stake at Liverpool, he would be my manager.
Over the last couple of weeks, people have questioned whether he can still do the job having been out of the game for so long.
But I know Kenny better than most and football is his life. I have never met anyone with his knowledge of the game and players. Just recently, we spoke about football and his knowledge of players in England and Europe is unsurpassed.
He knows every player, whether they are left-footed or right-footed, what their qualities are, so I don't have any doubts that he is the right man for the job at this time.
Clearly, he has a big job on his hands because Liverpool are in a dire situation. The squad simply isn't good enough to challenge for the Premier League or for Champions League qualification.
For too long, the players that have been brought into the club have not been up to the standard that the club expects and, whatever happens in the summer, it will be a case of 'Here we go again' because the manager will have to look at the squad and start again.
It is now 2011 and how often have we said that over the years?
But unfortunately, since Kenny left in 1991, the luck the club enjoyed in the transfer market during the 70s and 80s has drained away and that's why Liverpool is in the situation it now finds itself in (© Daily Telegraph, London).