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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Comment by thecityisred on February 16, 2012 at 9:23

onmyown2feet, why is this fallacy that the case was based on one man's word still being trotted out? It wasn't.

What really hung Suarez was the fact that three LFC reps said he said one thing and then all changed their story to all say he said another and all three claimed they misheard something in three different languages. It was farcical, the court said as much and LFC's brief had to agree in the end.

I don't know how we can say Suarez is not a racist, I don't know and neither do they. What we do know is he feels it's ok to bring someone's colour into an argument to label them with. I'm not sure how you define a racist but I'd guess using racist language pushes you closer. The court were obviously keen to not brand him a racist but they don't know.

Comment by onmyown2feet on February 14, 2012 at 21:39

The fault lies with the FA.

To make such a devistating decision on the back of probability is truely horrendous.

To make such a ruling on one mans word against another is neither just nor logical.

This is why us old fuddy duddies abhore the outcome of such a kangaroo court.

Suarez is not a racist, this is agreed by all parties.

His version of events has been totally ignored by all media from the very begining.

He said to Evra, " why black" in response to Evras " don't touch me South Amarican."

Tit for tat.

But it's the story and the scandle that sells news papers.

Comment by Scott Tracy on February 14, 2012 at 17:08

*aren't all ManU supporters.

Comment by Scott Tracy on February 14, 2012 at 17:02

"they are perhaps one of the countries most popular “second teams”"

Are you kidding? Most people I know who understand football loathe LFC - and, no they aren't all few ManU supporters. This is mainly because of the attitude of their fans who like to play to the image of "cheeky, loveable scousers", when in fact a very large number of them are violent, arrogant, thieving, paranoid idiots. They always seem to have some cause or other for self-pity, usually based on an imaginary conspiracy against them and their city and usually involving a claim for financial compensation. If anyone, or any media organisation, dares to criticise LFC then there is a forceful barrage of vicious animosity, often accompanied by a boycott, which forces most to back down or never to criticise in the first place.

Their behaviour over the Suarez affair (negritogate, anyone?) has been both typical and predicatable. What Dalglish has done is to play to his own supporters, rather than think about the bigger picture. In doing that, his popularity with them must have soared but he forgot about who actually pays his wages. Once the owners realised how damaging the whole silly nonsense was, they ordered apologies to be issued. I wonder whether he had the dignity to try to stick to his guns or whether he caved in instantly.

Comment by thecityisred on February 14, 2012 at 9:07

Kenny Dalglish reminds me of my father in law who is a similar age. He just doesn't get the big fuss about racism. Not racist himself but he thinks all this is pc gone mad.

I was at a game once with his father, in his 80s, and a United player got the ball and I was asked 'which darkie is that?' - my Bovril nearly went everywhere. It shows how far we've moved on.

But Kenny Dalglish is in the public eye, he's spent much of his life there. He gets paid a fortune to represent his club. A club who have a pr department and execs coming out of their ears. It's not acceptable for him to be flippant and act the way he has.

He needs to get with the times, and quickly. 

Comment by Johnny Massey on February 13, 2012 at 15:02
nail on the head. excellent article but prepare for the LFC tinfoil hat brigade to try and find fault with it. The Kult of King Kenny are a disturbed bunch.
Comment by Adam Mills on February 13, 2012 at 14:37

This, my friend, is marvellous. Dalglish expected to walk in and his reputation at the club would always go before him. I've spoken to a few Liverpool fans who have said that his reputation has taken a bit of a beating over this whole Suarez debacle.

He showed integrity with his apology to the media yesterday, which I thought was very courageous. He didn't have to come out and apologise, but chose to out of respect. Showing the Dalglish of the past, and hopefully, future too.

I have no idea what kind of long-term damage this saga has caused both Liverpool and United - both clubs have suffered in different ways. I do get the feeling, however, that Suarez may be forced out by owners/sponsors, and Dalglish will stay, purely due to that apology. He's a good, kind bloke - one I've met on a couple of occasions - and this situation has hurt him. Future games and matches ahead will define what this summer will bring Liverpool. Hopefully a 'quiet' one, in the true meaning of the word.


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