Dalglish: We have to get our house in order
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will employ the personal touch to impart his vast experience to the players and spark the necessary revival at Anfield. The 59-year-old won eight top-flight titles - three as manager - with the Reds and also a Premier League crown while in charge of Blackburn Rovers.
And he believes concentrating on the staff he has rather than looking for quick-fix transfers, together with plenty of hard work, will restore Liverpool's fortunes after a difficult six months under Roy Hodgson. Dalglish's previous success as a manager at Anfield came with the club still at the peak of their powers and a top-class squad. However, he dismissed the assessment of critics that the current playing staff was not up to the required standard.
"I think it is the best squad of players I have inherited as a manager since the first time I came here," said Dalglish, who also previously managed Newcastle United and Celtic. "We don't have much time to get things up and running, so the most important people for us are the people here, and we will concentrate on them first and everyone will be given an opportunity.
"As far as I can see, the players are 100 per cent committed to what they want to do: to move onwards and upwards. There are no splits or divisions. The desire is there in abundance, so we will graft as hard as we can and we probably need to work harder in getting things right than some other clubs who are in a better position than us.
"But we won't lose out because of lack of hard work. We will devote as much time to it as we possibly can. At the end of the day it is about players, about people, and your relationship with those players and trying to impart your experience and knowledge on them. It is looking after players, getting relationships with players and getting the respect from the players."
The latter should not be difficult for a man who possesses legendary status at the club where he is revered as their greatest player. Nevertheless, after more than a decade out of the game in an official capacity, even Dalglish believes he has to prove something to his modern-day squad.
"It's one thing showing people what you've won - it is another thing to get respect out of them for what you are trying to do and that is what I have got to achieve," he admitted. "I have no preconceived ideas that because of what I've done it gets me any more respect. The only way to earn players' respect is to work with them, get them on your side and hopefully get the confidence levels up, get a couple wins and take it from there.
"What you do on the training ground you take on to the pitch and when you get on the pitch gives you confidence. There is none less important than the other but the first place it starts is the training pitch. The second thing is if you want it to happen and there is not anyone in that dressing room who does not want it to happen. We certainly have the ingredients and we'll take it onwards and upwards."
Dalglish's desire to concentrate on what he has at his disposal is clever because, as well as eliminating unnecessary complications regarding the uncertainty of new arrivals, it offers security to current players and staff. He has not ruled out signing others - although he will leave the search down to director of football strategy Damien Comolli - but it is way down his list of priorities. The canny Scot wants to create a sense of belonging, a unified front and club-wide commitment to the cause.
"We have to get our own house in order," said Dalglish, who takes his side to Blackpool tomorrow without suspended captain Steven Gerrard. "We brought in Steve Clarke (as first-team coach) and settled the place down, making sure Sammy Lee (assistant manager) knew he was staying.
"The other people that are important to us are the people who are here and we look after them. That is more important than worrying about what might happen or who might come in.
"What is immediate for us is the staff and players we have working together and the people know who they are there will do their very best to do that. If someone comes up who is attractive to the club then fine, but at this moment there have not been any conversations about that. I couldn't tell you definitively whether there will be people coming in."