Dalglish strengthens his candidacy
Here's what I'm thinking about this Tuesday morning:
It's early yet, but so far Dalglish has made a mockery of such claims. He's shown himself to be as tactically astute as ever, switching from the 4-4-2 that he previously favored to deploying a 4-2-3-1 at times, and a three-man backline in Liverpool's past two games where he outmaneuvered both Stoke's Tony Pulis and Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti. Equally critically, he's abandoned Hodgson's long-ball approach and defensive mind-set and installed a more attacking, pass-and-move philosophy. Not to be overlooked is his astute appointment of highly regarded former Chelsea and West Ham No. 2 Steve Clarke as his assistant coach. Clarke's impressive work in running training drills and tightening the Liverpool back line has been clear for all to see.
Despite calls from players such as Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt that Fenway Sports Group make Dalglish's tenure permanent, it's unlikely that FSG will do so before the end of season. As seen with FSG's excruciating delay over removing Hodgson, principal owner John W. Henry clearly isn't the type to rush into any decision. However, given the team's transformation and the fact that Dalglish has finally united both the Liverpool players and its fan base, Dalglish has clearly emerged as a strong contender to take the team forward.
Take into account that dynamic young coaching candidates such as Dortmund's Juergen Kopp and Porto's Andre Villas Boas are looking increasingly unlikely to consider leaving their clubs this summer (both recently signed contract extensions while professing a desire to guide their young squads through inaugural Champions League campaigns next season). It's looking more and more likely that Dalglish's appointment as full-time coach is inevitable in the summer.
While Torres certainly did read up on Liverpool's history and studied videos around the time he signed in 2007, he was, despite popular belief, never actually a childhood Liverpool fan. Much of the myth probably stems from the time he was spotted (while playing for Atletico against Sociedad) bearing an armband with the phrase "We'll never walk alone."
From that point, the association with Liverpool's famous anthem ("You'll never walk alone") and Torres' subsequent signing with Liverpool combined to create an urban legend. In reality, though, the slogan was simply something Torres and a group of his close friends in Madrid had adopted as a pact of commitment -- something not uncommon among small groups of friends in Spain and often symbolized with a tattoo. Though the phrase was clearly based on the Liverpool anthem (hence why Torres was the only one of the group not to get it tattooed for fear of misinterpretation by Atletico fans), it could just have easily been any other English turn of phrase that took their fancy, such as the SAS's motto "He Who Dares, Wins." Torres underscored this point at his unveiling last week for Chelsea, reiterating, "I was an Atletico fan. I still am."