Well it seems like Christmas came late for us this year but seeing King Kenny back on his throne again has me about as happy as an Australian umbrella salesman!
It was a bit surreal seeing Dalglish in the dugout for our game at the Theatre of Illusions at the weekend but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Even Howard Webb’s impressive impression of Mike Reilly didn’t spoil my mood, in fact it only enhanced it even more. Kenny had literally only just arrived to take over the team but already you could see the difference his presence made. Given our fragile state going into the game and then to suffer the injustice of conceding a non-penalty after less than a minute might well have triggered a collapse but Dalglish is in charge now and we just don’t deal in self-pity anymore.
I was impressed with the way the team played their way back into the game after the early set-back and we started to look like the better team before we suffered another body blow with the Gerrard sending off. I thought the skipper deserved to go after his unnecessarily heavy challenge on Michael Carrick. It was really very annoying because it was so needless, I mean why bother tackling Carrick anyway? The guy is crap so why not just let him have the ball, it’s not as if he’s going to do anything with it and the chances are he will most likely give it back to you! So it was a stupid decision by Gerrard that means we will have to do without him for 3 games which is the last thing the new gaffer would have wanted.
But even with 10 men against 12 (including Webb) the team battled on and with a bit of luck might have grabbed an equalizer but it wasn’t to be. I thought Kenny did well from the bench and , unlike some managers I could mention, brought on fresh legs when it was early enough to possibly make a difference. So the Dalglish era mark 2 began with a defeat but it was a loss we could take a lot of positives from. I’m actually not too bothered about being out of the cup this season because our priority right now is to focus on the league and getting as many wins as we can to put ourselves in the best position possible and build on that in the next campaign. We already have the welcome distraction of the Europa League, I don’t think we have enough about us at the moment to cope with a cup run as well.
Needless to say I’m delighted to see Dalglish back. To be honest, I had reached a stage where I was rapidly losing interest in the team and not really looking forward to any of our games anymore. Everything seemed so bleak and depressing, a bit like an episode of Eastenders! I just didn’t want to think about and I for damn sure didn’t want to write about it. But now King Kenny has returned and suddenly I’m buzzing again, I’m looking forward to the games ahead and I’ve even started to plan a couple of trips over to cheer the lads on, something I wouldn’t have bothered wasting my money on up to recently. If Kenny can lift the players half as much as he’s lifted me we’ll really be going places!
Anyway outside of all the romance there’s also a lot of work to be done and it all starts with our game at Blackpool tonight. I’ve got a ton of respect for Ian Holloway and his team, they’ve done amazingly well since being promoted to the Premiership and it’s going to be tough for us to get out of there with a result. They deservedly beat us at Anfield but we’ve got to try to do the same to them this evening because 3 points, particularly away from home, would be a huge boost and will help to keep the Kenny feel-good factor going awhile longer.
I’m fascinated to see what Dalglish will do with the team tonight. If the past is anything to go by we can expect to see a lot more attacking so it will be interesting to see how he’ll use the players at his disposal, which players he’ll select and if any of our youngsters will get a look in, with Pacheco being particularly impressive for the reserves in front of the boss last night. Obviously not having Gerrard available will limit his options but we’ll just have to wait and see how he handles it.
The team will be well motivated that’s for sure, Dalglish is a master at that just as he is of the media but our squad is limited in terms of quality so he’s going to have his work cut out to make the whole greater than the sum of it’s parts. It’s obviously still very early but we just might get a little glimpse of the direction he wants to go with the team, in tonight’s game.
Anyway I’ve got a long drive ahead of me to make it home in time for the game so I’m going to keep this one short and sweet and sign off now because I want to save the rest for the Merseyside derby at the weekend. So my prediction for tonight in the battle of the “Pools” is the same score line as the Anfield game only this time the points will go to The Reds with a 2-1 win and at least one of our goals being scored by Torres.
Keep the Faith