Shaka Hislop: ‘Liverpool have said goodbye to a gentleman and a great football brain’

It turns out a Carling Cup win and FA Cup Final appearance aren’t enough to keep you your job. Liverpool have parted ways with Kenny Dalglish. Shaka Hislop looks at the man and the manager and where things may have gone wrong at Anfield.

Kenny Dalglish

The curtain has come down on Kenny Dalglish’s second stint in charge of Liverpool. Parting company with the man who has been there for the some of the brightest and darkest days in the club’s history is a seriously big call from the owners. In coming days and weeks we may get more of an insight into the dynamics behind the scenes that triggered the decision, but King Kenny is adored by the fans and his contribution to the club – quite aside from the football – has been immense.

First and foremost, I have to say I’m a big fan of Kenny on a personal level. I worked with him towards the end of my time with Newcastle. He’s far more personable than many people may realise from watching him purely on camera. Even though I left St. James’ Park under his management, I have the utmost of respect for him and I’m genuinely sorry to see how thing have turned out. Maybe you can understand the Liverpool owners parting ways with Dalglish, but I’m disappointed. I like Kenny a lot, he’s a gentleman.

He’s got a great football brain. He’s got a good balance between man management and tactical awareness. Harry Redknapp was certainly a better man manager than Kenny, but Kenny was far better tactically than people gave him credit for. The game has changed a lot in the fifteen or so years since I worked with him, so I can’t say for certain how he approached tactics in this era, but I felt he was good enough at the time.

As for where it went wrong, it’s hard to pin down. He spent a lot of money last summer, but I really feel he was building a team. I never thought they would come close to challenging for the Premier League or even close to it this season and that’s how it turned out. But under Kenny they were getting better, playing better football and but for a little more luck, they could have been higher up the table. They were well poised to make a stronger challenge next season.

I think he handled the Suarez/Evra incident really poorly from Liverpool’s point of view. Knowing Kenny, that really surprised me. The owners clearly weren’t impressed with the entire situation. I don’t think the form was bad enough to sack him and I don’t think his handling of the Suarez case was enough on it’s own to get rid of him, but the combination of the two was his undoing.

Not for the first time in recent years, the club finds it’s self at a crossroads. Not being able to turn to King Kenny is going to take some getting used to at Anfield.

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