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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Dalglish impact proves he's only man for the job

Liverpool's American owners would be making a huge mistake if they delay their decision on a permanent manager at Anfield until the end of the season, because, in Kenny Dalglish, they already have the only man for the job.

If you had taken a poll of 100 Liverpool supporters last Christmas and offered them a choice of Kenny or Jose Mourinho to succeed Roy Hodgson, Kenny's standing at the club would have ensured he would probably have won by 75-25.

But the same vote now would see him win 100-nil because of the impact he has had at Anfield since returning in January. Any manager other than Kenny would now be a disappointment for the club's supporters, but that's because of the turnaround on the pitch during his two months in charge rather than his status as a god-like figure at Anfield.

Now is the time to give him the job on a full-time basis because the challenge at Liverpool is getting the club back into the Champions League and the planning for next season needs to start now.

If Kenny does not know whether or not he will here next season, then he cannot start to look for the players that the team need to improve.

Kenny being Kenny, he still believes that he can get Liverpool into the Champions League this season and he will be focusing on getting the team as close as possible to that objective.

When I played under him in 1986, we had just lost to Everton and I told Kenny that it was the worst Liverpool team that I had played in. But he still believed the team could achieve something and, 10 weeks later, we ended the season by winning the double.

Back then, he spoke about the need to get some impetus going and that is what he will be thinking now. He has now generated that by getting the team winning, lifting morale and the victory against Manchester United, following on from the win at Chelsea last month, has given the club real impetus.

So the time is right for the owners to hand Kenny a full-time contract because it would give the club another boost and allow everybody to turn their attentions to getting Liverpool back to where those at Anfield believe they belong.

There is a theory that the owners might not want to stick with Kenny in the long-term because he is such a powerful figure that he could put them in an impossible position if things go wrong.

But for all of Kenny's popularity, if his team are lying fourth from bottom and producing rubbish, the supporters would not put up with it, regardless of who he is. And there would not be a problem with Kenny working with Damien Comolli, Liverpool's director of football, so long as Kenny had the final say on the players he brought in.

Kenny has changed the whole mood of the club. It is now a completely different place to walk into compared to the dark days of last November.

On the pitch too, there is a different ethos. In the past, if the likes of Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson or Gerard Houllier played with two holding midfielders, you would expect to see eight men behind the ball. But against United, Liverpool had two holding midfielders, yet they attacked the Premier League leaders and were rewarded for doing so.

The cynics that claimed that Kenny had been out of the game too long when he came back have all been proved wrong because they overlooked the reality that all the changes in football over the last 10 years have happened off the pitch.

A flat back-four is the same as it was in 1977, just as it was in 1937! It will be the same again in 2097.

Kenny's knowledge of the game and the players involved is still as detailed as it has always been and maybe the proof of that has come with the results that Liverpool have had under him.

I don't see anybody out there who could do the job better than Kenny and hopefully the owners will not wait much longer before making it a permanent appointment.

At 60, he is still young enough for the job and he will also be cheap. There will be no compensation fee required to get Kenny to sign a contract and it would make perfect sense to make the decision now. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

Irish Independent

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