Friday, October 23, 2009

Dalglish gives full backing to Rafa

Kenny Dalglish has given his full backing to Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez following the club's worst run of form for 22 years.

Dalglish is currently employed by the club as a roving ambassador as well as the director of Liverpool's academy. He was appointed in the summer at Benitez's instigation.

Now the Liverpool legend is being talked off in some quarters as a potential safe pair of hands to replace Benitez, should the American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks decide to axe the Spaniard.

Such a move is highly unlikely now that Gillett has openly supported Benitez, with the knowledge that the coach has a new four-year contract and it would cost more that £20million to get rid of him.

But Dalglish has chosen this moment to calm the speculation, saying: "I'm only here because Rafa wants me here.

"Everyone within the upper echelons of this club has no doubt whatsoever about Rafa - I know that for a fact.

"Everybody at Liverpool knows Rafa is the right man to get the club through this.

"No-one is pumped up and panicking in any way, shape or form. Everyone is being as helpful and supportive as they possibly can be to the manager.

"Obviously, whether you're a manager or a player, you have to retain your confidence and belief in what you are doing.

"You have also got to retain your belief in each other. The manager has to retain belief in his players and the players must retain their confidence in the manager.

"It's very important that everybody sticks together to get themselves through this."

Dalglish, who spent 14 years at Anfield as player and manager, added: "Of course it's not good for Liverpool - or any club - to lose four games in a row. It is a bad run and the supporters feel it equally as badly as everyone at the club does.

"Everybody's accountable. When you have success everybody takes their fair share of the credit - and rightly so. So when it goes badly the same thing must apply in reverse.

"People have made mistakes but it's how you react to them that's the most important thing.

"The other vitally important thing is that you must never allow other people to drive wedges between you and through various parts of the football club.

"Of course everyone must stand up and be counted - and then at least we'll be going in the right direction."

Dalglish, speaking in a interview, said: "If you lose four games on the spin you're not going to be getting praise.

"Yes, there's criticism. Some will be constructive and Rafa will look at this and take it under his wing and say maybe that's right. Other parts he will totally dismiss.

"But there's no way Liverpool and the majority of people would want Rafa to go anywhere.

"Remember last year we beat Manchester United with Steven Gerrard only playing 20 minutes and Fernando Torres not playing at all. So if we did it last year, why can't we do it this year?"

Dalglish was manager the last time Liverpool experienced such a dismal run, and he knows what it takes to emerge from a slump.

He added: "The players will need to stand up and be counted. But then everybody needs to do that.

"For anyone who has any affiliation to Liverpool, then it's time for them to rally round and channel all their efforts in the one direction.

"That is to help the manager and the players to get the one result everybody wants. That's the only way to do it."

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