The first few months of 2011 have been fantastic for Liverpool Football Club and their supporters. After enduring a horrible end to 2010 their side have gone on an impressive run since the return of Kenny Dalglish. He has won 30 points in 15 games in the Premier League that has lifted them to 6th in the table and within touching distance of a European place.
It was a very strange start to the season with Liverpool’s new manager Roy Hodgson. He just never looked settled at the club and it was inevitable that he would go before the end of the season. The presence of ‘King Kenny’ would have been unsettling as well although the board should have appointed him over Hodgson initially.
The sale of Fernando Torres in January had to happen and it has made the club stronger. He looked unhappy and disinterested in the opening months of the season; it was rumoured that he asked to leave last year and was promised the chance last summer. However, with the £50 million they were able to buy Andy Carroll and Luiz Suarez who already look like forming a formidable partnership next season.
There has also been the emergence of several of the academy graduates who have settled into life in the Premier league effortlessly. There have been a number of impressive youngsters making an impact; John Flanagan, Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson and Jay Spearing amongst others. There is almost a feeling of Liverpool returning to the way they used to be managed; bringing through young players and adding some genuine quality alongside.
It appears likely that Dalglish will be appointed full-time manager by John W. Henry at some stage in the next few months. He has instilled a work ethic and pride back into the Liverpool players that was missing earlier in the season.
I believe it has also helped not having Steven Gerrard available. He is the Liverpool talisman but is not the player he was and forces the side to play in a particular way. His positional discipline is appalling and always has been; it lead to rows with Benitez when he was the manager as Gerrard would often do things his way rather than how he was instructed. It has given Raul Meireles more freedom which has brought the best out of the Portuguese International.
All in all things are looking good for the red half of Liverpool. With some good purchases this summer they should be back in contention for a place in the top four next season which is where a club of Liverpool’s stature should be.