Dalglish urges Reds fans to be realistic
Back in the Liverpool manager's job after 20 years, Kenny Dalglish urged fans on Saturday to be realistic and not to expect his emotional return will immediately banish the gloom at Anfield.
Dalglish has been hired until the end of the season by Liverpool's American owners after Roy Hodgson's dire six-month reign was brought to a halt.
John Henry, who also owns the Boston Red Sox, has turned to the man who delivered the last of Liverpool's 18 English league titles in 1990 and is still adored by fans.
But with Liverpool just four points above the Premier League relegation zone and stars like Fernando Torres struggling for form, the 59-year-old Dalglish is cautioning that there will be no quick-fix.
"We won't always be successful, and to be perfectly realistic I think we have to say 'Let's just start walking before we run," Dalglish said on the Liverpool website. "Let's not go crazy here and think the season changes and we're going to sweep everything aside now and go undefeated from now to the end of the season.
"We're perfectly capable of doing it but let's be realistic, let's just go out there and try our best and take things one game at a time. If there's excitement among the supporters then I can share in that excitement. I think we've got to be realistic and a little bit patient ... it's not going to turn overnight."
Dalglish, who won eight league titles as a player and coach from 1977 to 1990, was disappointed to be overlooked for the manager's job in the offseason when Hodgson was hired to replace Rafa Benitez.
But fans have been chanting Dalglish's name recently after becoming quickly disillusioned with Hodgson. Their wish to see the Londoner fired came in the wake of Wednesday's ninth loss of the 20-game-old season at Blackburn.
"I know there are lots of times when a manager leaves a football club and a new guy comes in and gives everyone a lift, well if the players get a bit of a lift then it has to last for more than one game," Dalglish said. "There might be some disappointments but the biggest disappointment for me is if everyone who is involved in this football club doesn't give everything they have to give."
While fans have celebrated Dalglish's return on fans' forums and the club's TV channel, the Scot said "the excitement has to calm down a wee bit."
After being appointed, Dalglish returned on Saturday from a vacation with his wife in Dubai and he immediately went to the team hotel in Manchester, where Liverpool plays United in the FA Cup on Sunday.
"Marina and I were away for a break, but I said at the start of the season that if they wanted me to help in any way, shape or form then I would do," said Dalglish, who has been working as a club ambassador. "I felt nervous last night after I got the phone call, and I don't think there's anything wrong with feeling that anticipation. I also feel a great sense of pride to try and help everybody get what they want, which is results."
That requires unity at Anfield.
"If we pull in different directions we won't get anywhere," he said.
And Dalglish has the medals to prove that: From 1977 to '90 he won eight league titles and three European Cups as a player and latterly as a manager.