Dirk Kuyt is sure Kenny Dalglish can turn around Liverpool’s fortunes as the Scot prepares to take charge of his first Premier League game at Blackpool.
Dalglish has replaced Roy Hodgson, sacked by Liverpool on Saturday, and endured a 1-0 FA Cup defeat at bitter rivals Manchester United in his first game back at the helm 24 hours later.
Dalglish, who had a role with the academy as well as working as a club ambassador, is renowned as one of the club’s greatest players and also won three league titles and two FA Cups in a first spell as manager from 1985 to 1991.
Liverpool were much-improved despite slipping to a defeat at Old Trafford that saw captain Steven Gerrard sent-off on Sunday.
But Dalglish’s main task is to improve the club’s woeful position in the Premier League. They currently sit just four points above the relegation zone and have won just one away match all season.
Dutch winger Kuyt said he was disappointed to see Hodgson leave after just six months in the job.
But he is confident Dalglish can have a galvanising effect on the Liverpool squad and help drag them back into the top half of the table.
“It is very sad that Roy has gone because you can never just blame one man,” said Kuyt. “We must all take the blame and perform better.
“It’s disappointing to lose a manager like that but a very big plus that we can bring in someone like Kenny. He is a very experienced man and someone who can have a positive impact on the squad.
“The most important thing is to make Liverpool a winning team again.
“Kenny Dalglish is a legend and a very important man for this club.
“I think it says everything about him as a man that he is here to help us and put us back where we belong.
“We are all disappointed with the result at Manchester United because we wanted to win but we can take positives from this and must now look ahead to Blackpool and Everton.”
Dalglish is likely to have a similar squad to the one that was defeated at Old Trafford, with Jamie Carragher and Jay Spearing still on the sidelines.
He may have right-back Glen Johnson available, after he missed the game at United as his partner was due to go into labour.
Gerrard, though, is suspended for Liverpool’s first trip to Bloomfield Road since 1970.
Blackpool go into the game on the back of a 2-0 FA Cup defeat by third division Southampton.
Manager Ian Holloway is confident his side can record the double over the Merseyside club after Blackpool’s shock 2-1 win at Anfield in October.
“It was a fantastic result at Anfield. The way we played pleased me as much as the result,” said Holloway, whose side are level on points with 12th-placed Liverpool.
“We passed it so well, held our nerve and scored two goals at the Kop end.
“Good luck to Kenny Dalglish because he’s a wonderful fellow. He’s been out of the game a while and I’m sure he’ll relish being back in it.
“To come back into it after so long out is a big step. I hope Liverpool get it right because Kenny deserves not to ruin what he has got with the fans.” — Sapa-AFP