How long can Kenny cling on?

Kenny Dalgish surmised Liverpool’s season as “not bad” following last night’s success over a much-changed Chelsea side but don’t let that result, the Carling Cup or debates over goal-line technology fool you – 2011/12 has been a disastrous season for Liverpool Football Club.

How long can Kenny cling on?

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May 9th, 2012

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Speaking to the press after their 4-1 victory over a much-changed and probably still hung-over Chelsea side, Dalglish seemed satisfied with Liverpool’s year of toil and mediocrity.

“We’ve got a bit of silverware back in the cupboard after six years,” claimed Kenny, glossing over the fact that the trophy currently sitting in the Anfield cabinet is one that clubs such as Liverpool used to decry as an irrelevance and a nuisance. “We’re back in Europe at the first time of asking,” he added, with the sort of spin that would have had Alistair Campbell thinking “Nah, I’ll never get away with THAT!”

OK, so let’s give some merit for some credible cup runs, but they have been the bright points of a truly horrid league campaign. Liverpool have won just six home games this season – the same as relegated Blackburn – and sit eighth in the table, 14 points off fourth place with one season to go.

And all of this after spending £108m on new talent since Kenny arrived in January 2011 – more than Manchester City in the same period. Where else would a Carling Cup and a season of Thursday nights in Eastern Europe be considered a worthwhile return on investment?

It was all supposed to be so different. After the disastrous reign of Roy Hodgson, the fans demanded King Kenny and that is who they got – the man who was supposed to guide them to their past glories with a side playing the way that Liverpool used to play.

And therein lies the problem. Dalglish is a man, and Liverpool a club, still stuck in the past. Liverpool is a club still struggling to come to terms with the demands of modern Premier League football. Until last year, Liverpool fans would simply quote the number “18” to end any argument about the state of their club. Now, they simply say “five”. History is something that you cling to when you have no future, and Liverpool have no future with a manager who simply cannot cope with the pressure of the Premier League in 2012.

Rather than channel pressure into positive performances, Kenny has constantly been on the defensive. He’s ranted about the size of sponsorship deals, 24 hour news channels, handshakes and, in true regional stereotype, played the victim card whenever criticism or sanctions have come his team’s way. It’s one thing to defend yourself and your players, it’s another to be completely deluded.

Liverpool, like Newcastle some years before, made the cardinal sin of appointing the manager that the fans demanded. Dalglish will enjoy more time and more sympathy than any other Liverpool manager despite it being patently clear that, if Liverpool are to get to where they feel they belong, he needs to be removed from the dug-out.

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