Sometimes, you end up being psychic without meaning to be.
Just broke, but Kenny Dalglish has left Liverpool. I doubt anyone is going to say they're shocked. While details won't come out until a press release in about an hour, and even then I doubt we're going to get anything more than usual boiler plate filler, the reasons have to be obvious to all.
Let's take his standing at the club, his legend, his accomplishments, and his name out of the equation for a minute. What you're left with is simply not good enough. Lowest point total in half a century, a bloated transfer budget that didn't produce anything, and a directionless club. The last part is what gets me. While the final results wouldn't be acceptable, they would be understandable if the team was actually going through some overhaul. If kids were tried out at every position before they were ready, if veterans were moved out simply because they won't be around when Liverpool are a true threat again.
But let's face it, that didn't happen. Jordan Henderson was bought for the future, we were told, and then hardly allowed to grow at the position he will man when he truly matures. Andy Carroll was shunned for almost three quarters of the season, usually in favor of Stewart Downing or Craig Bellamy (who rarely could manage 70 minutes) or some other combination, and we know how Downing went. While my opinions on Kuyt are clear, he was instrumental in the club's revitalization last season under Kenny, along with Maxi, and yet both were hardly used. Both certainly had more of a role to play.
If it was a ruthless streak Dalglish wanted to show to his more experienced players, how did Jamie Carragher get into the FA Cup Semifinal? Why was Fabio Aurelio not ever, ever an option to give a gasping Jose Enrique a breather? Is Jay Spearing so limited that he was always going to look like he took a step back? I'm not so sure.
It's all simply not good enough.
But it's not that simple when you're dealing with Kenny Dalglish, is it? You can't simply throw out history and his place at Anfield, can you? Well, a forward-thinking management does. Because no matter what he's accomplished, clinging to that when the current team is falling is how you end up in a real mess. And Liverpool may already be in a real mess, and if they're not they can certainly see it without binoculars from where they are.
Where now? We'll have plenty of discussion for sure. Obviously, Roberto Martinez is going to be the favorite, and as I said yesterday I would be in favor of that. But is he the man to immediately gain the players' respect upon hearing his name? Will Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, and whoever else is of Champions League quality think he's the man to bring it to them at Anfield? You have to wonder. Will Dirk Kuyt and Maxi, useful squad players if nothing else, wait long enough before leaving to see if they still have a role to play? Can whoever they bring in move Henderson and Carroll down the road of development to become real weapons that only some of us see if we squint real hard? Only time will tell.
There will be other names. Rafa Benitez has been out of work a while, if he's not waiting around to take the Spain job after Euro 2012. But did he lose touch with Gerrard and Carragher enough to be welcomed back? His problems mainly came from ownership, and now it's new owners. Not totally unlikely. Paul Lambert's name might get thrown around too, as he's done probably even better with Norwich than Martinez did with Wigan. Andre Villas-Boas? He was shunned at Chelsea for doing what they kind of asked him to do, i.e. make over an aging squad. Would he want a non-Champions League job? You can't argue with what he accomplished at Porto, he simply can't be a bumbling idiot.
But that's what's to come, and I don't want to throw any more dirt on Kenny right now. Because we owe him for last year, when things looked a lot more hopeless than they do now. That team was headed for way worse than 8th and 52 points, or at least that's what it felt like. And the football was abhorrent at times. Kenny changed all that, and at least made us believe again. Things could have been so much worse.
I hope whatever bitter feelings are around eventually subside, and Kenny can be a part of the club again one day. It wouldn't be Liverpool without him. But his part isn't in the manager's office, and if you can ignore all he means, you'll see that was pretty obvious.