Will he or won’t he leave? This is what was being asked for too many days prior to the departure of Kenny Dalglish. It really shouldn’t have come to this; Kenny is a legend in most people’s eyes and should have never let the day come when he was forced out of his and our beloved club. Most could see that his position was untenable and that his methods had not moved with the times however he clung almost desperately to his job forcing the club into pulling the trigger.
Kenny can leave with his head held high though after successfully steering the club through some of its most difficult times in recent memory, he added success of a Carling Cup giving some much needed cheer to fans who had seen their club go to the bring not two years prior.
However it was the second final which Liverpool reached which really exposed the tactics and short comings of Dalglish, Liverpool who were struggling in the league to convert attractive football into points, headed to Wembley to face a Chelsea side with one eye on a Champions League final and the knowledge that Liverpool had already beaten them twice on their own patch earlier in the season. Dalglish however abandoned his philosophy of free flowing attacking football to operate a defensive counter attacking system which isolated his star man, Luis Suarez. Andy Carroll who had been so expensively purchased and staunchly backed throughout his tenure was left out in the biggest game of the season; it was a showing that even King Kenny did not know how to get the very best out of the squad he had assembled. The inclusion of wide man in Stuart Downing and no target man contradicted each other and limited the impact of the winger on the game, until the belated introduction of Carroll.
These conflicting tactics had been on show at Liverpool numerous times during the season, the inclusion of Maxi ahead of Downing in a team which contained Carroll was equally as confusing to those who sat and watched.
In the end John W Henry and FSG had little choice but to move on from Dalglish who was clearly struggling to convert his successful 80s and early 90s tactics into the 2012 Liverpool side, and a reluctance to move away from 4-4-2 in favour of a more fluid formation.
In his place they sought an open minded manager who could play attractive and expansive football whilst also delivering Champions League football which would now be missing from Anfield for a third year.
It was immediately obvious that a young manager was being sought, one who played football in the way which Spain and Barcelona had successfully done so for a number of years. The early candidates of Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Martinez, Frank De Boer and Brendan Rogers where met by fans with mixed reactions. Some happy that a “pass and move” brand of football was being sought to be returned to the club, others unhappy at “Chelsea rejects” or “that bloke from Wigan”
The club pressed ahead with rounds of interviews which went against the normal route of a new manager being sought, despite reports that Martinez was being offered the job after photographs emerged of him with John W Henry in Miami, Brendan Rogers was announced as heir to the thrown and the man to begin a legacy at Liverpool Football Club
The early signs of Rogers have been encouraging, his words carry weight and his press conferences are well thought out, his relationship with the press, unlike Dalglish, seems to be a happy one at present. His willingness to talk to the media outlets will no doubt please and displease in equal measure, however it can surely only been seen as a good thing that the fans get to hear what there manager has to say without a prickly exterior being on display to reporters.
On a day when Rogers first signing has been announced in the form of Fabio Borini, the signs that Liverpool are to move to a more fluid way of playing, with individuals with good technical abiliy is encouraging, who else will follow him into the club gives cause for excitement.
With rumours that Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam are looking to be moved on fans can look forward to a new way of playing, to more games where they defend and attack with possession of the ball, and where technical ability is encouraged to be shown no matter what the circumstances and less reliance on “throwing the big fella on” to try and win us the game. The introduction of more technically equip players can only been seen as a good thing, in Luis Suarez Liverpool have a great base to build a fluid attacking unit around, something which will hopefully lead them to greater things.
No doubt that during the early days of Rogers reign and his introduction of passing free flowing football, there will be games which Liverpool maintain possession but are unable to break down opponents, it will be then that the Kop will need to show it houses “The Best Supporters In The World” and continue to back its team and its new manager in what they are trying to achieve.
The first team squad set off for America next week which will give fans their first chance to see how Liverpool are likely to play next season, the optimism is high amongst the supports thanks to Rogers positive words and early transfer business.
The King is dead as they say, long live the King?