Dalglish steers Reds to win

2012-02-27 06:52
Kenny Dalglish (AFP)

Wembley - Barely into the second year of his second spell at the club he graced as a player and then manager, Kenny Dalglish has steered Liverpool to its first trophy in six years.

Liverpool beat plucky Cardiff 3-2 in a penalty shootout to win the League Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday after the teams were locked at 2-2 following extra time, giving the club its first piece of silverware since the 2006 FA Cup victory over West Ham.

With the team also in the FA Cup quarter-finals and a contender for a top-four berth in the Premier League to ensure automatic qualification into the Champions League, Dalglish has Liverpool back doing what it once did best - filling the trophy cabinet.

"Although we have won something today(Sunday), that is not us finished," Dalglish said. "We don't want to stop here, we want to keep going. It (Liverpool) means an awful lot to a lot of people.

"All we do is try to make them as happy as we possibly can. Today(Sunday) we have been able to do that. Hopefully it makes up for some of the days when we have not been able to."

The 60-year-old Dalglish, who is widely considered the greatest player to don Liverpool's red shirt, took the helm in January 2011 after Roy Hodgson's brief reign. By then, Liverpool had already gone five years without a trophy.

Before Dalglish quit as Liverpool manager in 1991 after his first stint, Liverpool bestrode English football in much the same way that Manchester United has in the past couple of decades. After an illustrious career as a player in which he won six league championships and three European Cups, Dalglish's six-year tenure as manager yielded three more league titles and two FA Cups.

Since then, the team has been in decline, the spectacular come-from-behind victory over AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final notwithstanding.

Last season, Manchester United overtook Liverpool after winning its 19th league title. When Dalglish ended his first tenure as manager, Liverpool was leading its bitter rival by a seemingly insurmountable 18 titles to 7.

With Sunday's victory, Liverpool has equaled Manchester United in the number of domestic cup competitions won. Both clubs have now won 15 titles in total in the FA Cup and League Cup.

Liverpool's one remaining bragging point is the five European Cup titles compared to Man United's three.

The task of returning Liverpool to somewhere approaching its former heights is not going to be easy, and Dalglish is reluctant to promise a return to the glory days but says he hopes the victory will act as the launch pad for more success.

"If you do something you enjoy, you're going to want more of it," he said. "I think that's logical, it's not to say it's going to happen."

The English footballing world is a very different place to the one that Dalglish inhabited in his previous incarnation at the club he first joined in 1977, in the aftermath of Liverpool's maiden European Cup triumph.

The arrival of the Premier League in 1992 heralded an era of big money and constant monitoring from the media.

Dalglish, one of the most skillful players to ever come out of Britain, has been accused of being out of touch following Luis Suarez's ban for racism, a scandal that forced the club and its manager to issue apologies about the way it was handled.

However, his latest triumph ensures Liverpool is making news for the right reasons.

He joins Manchester United's Alex Ferguson and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as the only managers to have won all three of English football's top domestic competitions: the league, the FA Cup and the League Cup.

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