Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Kenny Dalglish will make a write fool of his media begrudgers

The other Sunday I sat in the Spurs press room prior to their game against Manchester United. One of the early kick-offs, the Merseyside derby, was being shown on the various television monitors.

I couldn’t help but notice that Raul Meireles’ goal for Liverpool was greeted in silence whereas the two Everton strikes early in the second half, after which I had to leave to get to the commentary position, provoked roars of approval. To quote the late Rafa Benitez, that is a “fact”.

Many of the country’s football correspondents were at White Hart Lane — it was easily the biggest game of the day — most with no connection whatsoever to Merseyside. Are they really ‘anti-Liverpool’ or, for whatever reason, are they against the ‘second coming’ of Kenny Dalglish and hoping it will fail? I may be entirely wrong but that’s how it seemed.

Too stout a defence has been made by too many regarding the Roy Hodgson regime. Too much was made of Dalglish failing to win any of his first three games: after all, two were away from home, a Hodgson ‘forte’, and the other was the Everton battle. Anyhow, it now looks as if many may be disappointed.

Liverpool will not win the title. They will not qualify for the Champions League. It’s unlikely they’ll make the Europa League unless they win this season’s competition. However, if I correctly lip-read Sammy Lee as he turned to Dalglish after Torres scored Liverpool’s third at Molineux, I agree: “We’re back!” he screamed.

Wolves’ Stephen Ward, who scored the only goal when the sides met just after Christmas, said: “Things change when a new manager comes in and credit to Liverpool, they’ve come down here (where Chelsea and Manchester City both lost) and been a lot better than when we won at Anfield.” Too right.

Saturday’s was only Liverpool’s third away win in 21 games but it was a huge improvement on anything seen under Hodgson. Dalglish has totally changed the atmosphere with a return to the playing style the club’s supporters have longed for: ‘the Liverpool way’.

Yes, Fernando Torres was a lone striker but he ‘felt’ far from alone given the willingness of others, particularly the outstanding Meireles, to rush forward in support. This was a revived Liverpool, a wholly positive Liverpool, casting off the negativity of the previous manager.

It’s still a long way forward. The return of Steven Gerrard after suspension tomorrow night against Fulham poses the question as to where Meireles will play. Why not play the skipper deeper and allow the Portuguese international to flourish in that role at the centre of the three behind Torres?

And where, if Ian Holloway isn’t affronted by another “disgraceful” bid — I gather Blackpool are being offered at least eight times what they paid for the player — would Charlie Adam fit in?

Surely the priorities lie elsewhere? They need a left back, probably Stephen Warnock, initially on loan, and a really good central defender alongside Daniel Agger. That may have to wait till the summer. Above all, it is essential Dalglish signs a quality striker. That’s why Damien Camolli is in Amsterdam in pursuit of Luis Suarez.

But, rest assured, especially certain correspondents, Liverpool are on the up.

Belfast Telegraph

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