LIVERPOOL legend Phil Thompson believes Kenny Dalglish is the ideal man to take them forward in the wake of Rafael Benitez’s exit.
Dalglish, 59, has not managed a side since leaving Celtic 10 years ago, but ex-assistant boss Thompson insists his former Anfield team-mate is the perfect candidate to lead the club through uncertain times at boardroom level.
With co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett admitting their intention to sell the club, Thompson is calling on the ex-Reds striking hero to take the reins on a temporary basis, at least until new owners are found.
“Kenny is the ideal man to mind the office for a while,” Thompson told City A.M. “He’s the safest pair of hands Liverpool could ask for right now and it would be an appointment which everyone in the city would like, thus giving the club some much-needed stability. If it works, what a fantastic statement that would be, if it doesn’t, well it is only a temporary measure.”
Dalglish played over 515 games for the Reds, scoring 231 goals, while managing the club for six years from 1985. After spells at Blackburn, Newcastle and Celtic, Dalglish spent nine years out of the game before Benitez lured him back to Liverpool to work with the club’s academy.
His time away has sparked suggestions that he may out of touch with the cut and thrust of the Premier League, but Thompson, himself a stalwart at Anfield for 13 years, insists the Scot is in perfect working order. “He’s a true student of the game,” he added. “He loves his football and has a vast knowledge of the game, whether it be here or across Europe.
“Being with the academy has kept him in touch with the modern-day footballer and has brought him back to the club he loves.”
Thompson, himself, has been critical of Benitez while working as a pundit for Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday this season, but admits he has an element of sympathy for the out-going Spaniard. “He will be extremely well remembered by everyone at Anfield. Winning the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005 was a night no-one will ever forget.
“I can sympathise with him but after finishing second in the league last season, we’ve only just managed to scrape into the Europa League in this, and after six years – the same as Gerard Houllier and myself spent in charge – you get the feeling the time has come for him.
“I just hope, for everyone’s sakes, that it is done sooner rather than later and with as much dignity as possible.”
Phil Thompson was leading a penalty shootout in the Square Mile as part of the build-up to the Standard Chartered Great City Race which takes place on Thursday 15 July.