With the arrival of Kenny Dalglish last January, Liverpool FC has begun to show signs of recovery after a number of years in turmoil. The Gillett/Hicks years will be synonymous at Anfield with the demise of the club both on and off the field. A very public bitter feud between the two co-owners, involving former manager Rafa Benitez, threatened to drag the club into oblivion. The eventual forced sale to New England Sports Venture (NESV) and the appointment of Roy Hodgeson signalled a new dawning for the club. But the best laid plans don’t always pan out and, to the joy of the Kop faithful, Dalglish finally got the job he craved.
The acquisition of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, soon after Dalglish’s arrival, and the departure of Fernando Torres marked a changing of the guard at the Pool. The desired impact was not seen straight away. Thanks to the backing given to the manager this term, the shoots of revival have begun to show. Early close season signings of Adam, Downing and Henderson have helped to strengthen a lacklustre midfield and given it a more familiar flavour. All three are hard-working grafters, and although they will not set the world a light skill-wise they are the type of determined players that Liverpool need.
The change in style, attitude and focus that King Kenny has brought means that there is now potential for development at the club. A shot at winning the title may be just out of reach this year but a more realistic target of a return to the Champions League is believable. The reality for many Liverpool fans is that the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City will be pushing for the title this whilst Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs will be fighting it out for the fourth Champions League spot.
This will be no easy task, as even at this early stage, the Premier League looks to be shaping up for a very competitive season. Liverpool though are showing all the signs of a team on the up. They have signed some decent hard-working players and they have a good batch of young lads like Kelly and Flanagan coming through. But the truth is they are just not strong enough to be title contenders this season. They will push hard and at some stage may even be close to the top of the table. The lack of depth in the squad will eventually mean that when it comes to “squeaky bum time” they will have fallen back. Dalglish has won the league before, one of the few remaining managers left in the league who can boast that achievement. Given enough time he will bring Liverpool back within touching distance of the title thanks to his own inspirational and clever managerial style but also helped no end by the financial backing of the clubs new owners. If he can actually turn all this potential and backing into a league title remains to be seen. What can be seen though by everyone who knows football is that Liverpool are coming back.