There is no getting away from the disaster that was the pre-match routine in the weekends Manchester United v Liverpool match but Liverpool have since done all that they could to remedy the situation and credit must be given to the club for the same.
The statements released from Ian Ayre, Kenny Dalglish and Luis Suarez on Sunday – whether prompted by their American employers or not – were just what the situation required and the speed, in which they were issued, will hopefully help bring an end to the matter.
Yet again though, the weekend did highlight an area of concern for Liverpool and one that I think they must address sooner, rather than later.
When rejoining the club in his second spell as manager, concerns were raised from those on the outside looking in, with regards to Kenny Dalglish and his time away from the game.
The games moved on since he last managed at the top level we were told. How could he be out of the game for so long and yet still be tactically sound and know how to manage the modern day multi millionaires?
They needn’t have worried.
The principles of football are still very much the same, whether you have Opta stats and Pro-Zone or not and man-management, is, well, man-management.
Dalglish had kept in touch with the game and whilst at times his tactics have been questioned, generally his return to the game has been success and few could argue he doesn’t deserve to be in the position he is.
He certainly doesn’t give the impression of a tactical dinosaur, dusted off and paraded in front of the Kop.
However, there has been a massive change in the game since he last managed and that’s off the field.
Nowadays, football is not only big news, its 24 hour, 7 days a week news. Whether it is round the clock news channels, television and radio phone-ins, social media sites such as Twitter or the internet as a whole, never have there been so many channels to discuss the big issues of the day.
Dalglish alluded to the same at the weekend, when he gave reference to the previous cup encounter between the two sides not being subject to the intense media scrutiny that perhaps comes with a game covered by Sky Sports.
To succeed, however, you need to learn to play the game. I’m not sure that particular penny has dropped with Dalglish yet.
Curt responses to questions were originally amusing but, as time has gone by, have become tiresome. His ability to turn questions back on the interviewer appears childish and is very rarely constructive.
Almost since taking over at Liverpool, he has approached most forms of media with an air of suspicion. The disgusting lies printed by one newspaper in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy could be at the core of his suspicions and if that is the case, few could argue against his stance. I certainly wouldn’t. Some things can be forgiven. Other’s can’t and, indeed, shouldn’t be.
But the fact remains that the media plays a big part in the modern game and whether we like it or not, it has the power to make or break an individual.
Take Harry Redknapp as a case in point. When he winds that window down on transfer deadline day and tells the reporters what he is up to, he doesn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart. No, he does it to serve his own purposes. He understands the power of the media and the advantages of having them onside. Give them a little bit and they may just give you a lot.
His recent tribulations at Court are a good example. A guilty verdict would have perhaps provided a better story for the press but upon his acquittal, the general feeling amongst journalists was one of happiness.
You may counter that argument with Sir Alex Ferguson at United but although his general apathy for the press has become worse as time has passed by, United’s general position of power and success on the field, has allowed him to do just that.
Liverpool is resurgent force and whilst Dalglish may believe the siege mentality is a helpful tool in their quest for glory, it can be destructive aswell. I’m not saying that Dalglish needs to become a media luvvy overnight but perhaps he just needs to relax a bit. If you are asked a simple question, give a simple answer.
The world isn’t against Liverpool. Indeed outside of Goodison Park and Manchester, they are perhaps one of the countries most popular “second teams”, if such a thing exists.
Many Liverpudlians feel that the press were over the top in their reporting of the Suarez saga and went to town on the club they love. But the reality is they were only doing their job. We’re told the full facts were not known and indeed Dalglish hinted at this himself previously but what do you do? You can only report on the facts that are out there and if they are unfavourable, so be it.
Any comparison to the John Terry case is unfair. With police involvement and criminal proceedings under way, what can and can’t be reported is very much restricted for fear of contempt of Court. It’s not because he is or was England captain. Simply the rules of the land prohibit what can be reported.
I’d disagree with anyone who feels John Terry gets preferential treatment from the press. His past misdemeanours and the press coverage of the same would indicate anything but.
A major charm offensive is needed by Liverpool to repair the damage caused by recent events and it needs to begin sooner, rather than later. Because make no mistake, there has been damage. And that damage won’t have gone unnoticed across the pond.
Liverpool has always been admired for not only their success on the pitch but their conduct off it. It’s not irreparable but it will take effort and hard work. At the forefront of that must be the manager.
I think Dalglish needs to change. I just wonder if that stubborn streak of his will allow him to before it’s too late?
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