"Dalglish told me that we're the ones who make people's dreams come true. The fans can't play, so they live their dreams through us." - Fernando Torres
Dalglish in, Hodgson out. Finally. It's been a long, long wait.
It goes without saying, but from here on out, I'm done on the Hodgson vitriol. I apologize to those who thought it offensive and out-of-control over the last few months. I am irrational, petty, and quick to overreact. Thankfully, it's over now. He's a nice guy, it didn't work out. Time to move on as soon as possible.
But I can't help cite a few statistics as a requiem.
• Premier League win percentage:
Roy Hodgson: 35%
Rafa Benitez: 55%
Gerard Houllier: 49%
Roy Evans: 47%
Graeme Souness: 41%
• One league away win in 10 attempts, scoring only seven goals in the process.
• Goal difference of -3 after 20 games.
• 4 points above the relegation zone after 20 games.
• Liverpool hasn't been 12th place or lower after January since the team was relegated in 1953-54. That was the last season Liverpool had 9 or more losses after 20 games.
This is why Roy Hodgson's leaving by "mutual consent." Not because of FSG's itchy trigger finger. Not because of fan power. Not because of the 'shit squad left by the nasty Spaniard.' Cold hard stats, cold hard reality, and massively poor results. That's why he's leaving.
And yes, this is the outcome I'd hoped for.
The comparisons to Kevin Keegan and Newcastle are facile and wrong-headed. Yes, Dalglish hasn't managed in more than a decade, but his record at Liverpool, Blackburn, and even Newcastle was light years better than Keegan's with the Geordies, Fulham, England, and Manchester City. Dalglish has won the league title four times, with two separate clubs. Keegan finished runner-up twice, and won Division One (the current Championship) twice. Liverpool's current squad, despite the recent trouble, is far better than the relegated Newcastle team.
Many have written about the bind this puts FSG in. What happens if Dalglish isn't successful? What happens if he's "too successful?" First, even out of the hot-seat as long as he's been, I doubt he'll replicate the horrendous results we've seen so far this season. The respect from players he's rightfully earned and resulting morale boost should be enough to raise form. And that's not even considering tactics; it's hard to suggest what Liverpool's style will look like because of Kenny's extended sabbatical, but I doubt we'll see so many players out of positions; rigid, antiquated tactics; and a complete refusal to press higher up the pitch. If Dalglish does well this season, excellent, give him the job for as long as he wants. FSG are here for the long-term; they will get the chance to hire "their manager" in time.
This is a brilliant, brilliant day. I can't remember the last time football made me so happy. Which is how sport should be.
And just in time for a trip to Manchester. Adds a bit of luster back onto that match-up.