Tuesday 20 March 2018

Liverpool sack legend King Kenny as manager after flop season

Sacked: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish
Sacked: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish
Dethroned: 'King Kenny' could not recreate the glory years at Liverpool Photo: Getty Images

Independent reporters

KENNY Dalglish's Liverpool reign is over following face to face talks with the club's American owners.

A statement is expected from the club imminently confirming his departure.

After 18 months back at the helm, Dalglish – King Kenny to the Anfield faithful – has paid the price for a poor league performance, during which time he lost the faith of his board.

Fenway Sports Group are in the midst of a major restructure at Anfield, and their review of the club includes the manager's chair.

During a summit in Boston they told Dalglish of their frustration with his poor use of club resources in the transfer market. The £110 million spent on seven players did not bring the improvement they anticipated, despite a strong showing in the domestic cups.

Principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner became disillusioned with the inconsistency of performances and have become intolerant of suggestions bad luck was the main cause for Liverpool's failure to challenge the top four.

For Dalglish, an emotional return has come to a disappointing end. He hoped winning the Carling Cup would be the catalyst for another golden period, repeating his first glorious spell in charge.

He knew he was in a vulnerable position when Director of Football Damien Comolli was sacked for buying too many under-performing players. The implication was Dalglish, too, was being blamed for targeting mediocre signings.

Although Werner said at the time Dalglish had his "full support", there were no promises he'd remain in charge if Liverpool did not improve their league position.

Home defeats to Wigan and Fulham made the situation even worse and there was a feeling only winning the FA Cup would save the manager.

Losing to Chelsea at Wembley raised concerns Dalglish's fate was sealed, and the refusal of the board to publicly comment on the manager's future was a sign his position was being assessed.

Off the field there were also problems, with the mishandling of the Luis Suarez racism case at one stage prompting Dalglish to issue an apology for his tone while being interviewed on television. That revealed the first cracks in the relationship between the manager and his bosses.

Dalglish decided to travel to Boston to determine for himself what the club's plans were. He soon realised they did not involve him remaining in charge.

FSG are now expected to pursue a younger coach who will match the criteria they set out on first buying the club. They were convinced to appoint Dalglish after his success in a caretaker role and because of his legendary status and popularity among fans.

Now, the owners have numerous vacancies to fill at Anfield, the most important of all being that of the manager.

It promises to be a defining summer in Liverpool's modern history as the club seeks to restore its dwindling status in the upper echelons of English and European football.

Press Association

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