Kenny Dalglish Leads Liverpool Fight Club Up From Cellar Into Spotlight

Kenny Dalglish Leads Liverpool Fight Club Up From Cellar Into SpotlightKenny Dalglish struck a defiantly relaxed pose as he answered reporters' questions. The Liverpool manager was savoring the moment, knowing his team has set project mayhem into motion.

On Tuesday, the embattled LFC manager saw his team prevail over Blackburn Rovers in one of the most dramatic games of the Premier League season. The Reds took and lost a two-goal lead. Starting goalkeeper, Alexander Doni, was sent off, only for his replacement Brad Jones to make a tear-inducing penalty save. Andy Carroll, LFC's biggest and most heavily scrutinized player, scored the game-winner in stoppage-time.

Sure, it was a lot for anyone to take in. But Dalglish took great satisfaction not only in stopping a winless run, but also in the manner in which it happened..

The Reds were nowhere near their swashbuckling best on Tuesday. But they showed themselves to be a team of fighters; a group capable of overcoming whatever adversity the game throws its way, and winning the contest by any means necessary.

It was a newfound display of character that went against the grain of recent performances. Last week, Liverpool was on the ropes (following the April 1 loss at Newcastle), mired in a "slump" that flirted with crossing the line into "crisis" territory. The Reds were one loss away from their seventh loss in eight league games, which would have been their worst run since 1909.

We don't know what has been said or what has taken place behind the scenes. But publicly, Dalglish remained positive and upbeat. He said hard work and unity would see the Reds through their troubles. If he was feeling the same angst, and anger that supporters were, he did not show it in his press conferences.

That changed after Saturday's draw with Aston Villa. Dalglish raged against the numerous referees' decisions that went against Liverpool in his postgame comments. He even threw out neutron bomb words like "agenda" and "paranoia" to suggest that larger forces were working against his team.

Two days later, ahead of the Blackburn visit, Dalglish spelled out his problems with referees with clarity, according to the Mirror.

"The last three games blatant decisions have gone against us that are inexcusable. It would be helpful and more ­transparent if officials told us, if they explained the decisions to us, or even just held their hands up and said 'sorry I got that wrong' and we can see they have integrity. But they never say anything.

"We don't get everything right so it is understandable they don't either, but a bit of a respect towards us would help the situation. Otherwise people might think there is a conspiracy.

"We can't believe that, we can't let if affect us, and take it into the games coming up, because that would damage us. We have to keep going and ensure it doesn't affect the players."

Few will reasonably expect Dalglish's criticisms of the referees to result in more favorable decisions. That wasn't his point. The manager showed his players and supporters that he's not willing to let the final weeks of the season pass with a whimper. The LFC legend will fight — if only for the sake of fighting — until the bitter end of this strangest of seasons, and expects his players and supporters to follow his lead.

His words may land him in hot water with the FA. LFC will likely be fined £25,000 ($39,727) for the number of bookings his players received against Blackburn. But that is of little importance.

If a team is indeed a reflection of its manager, then it's safe to say LFC has turned a corner. Dalglish may have grown tired of the playing the role of the polite, mild-mannered narrator in Fight Club (as played by Edward Norton). It was time to let his alter-ego loose. LFC's new, combative on-field identity comes from that of its manager, "King," and leader of the fight club: Tyler Durden, er, Kenny Dalglish.

Review all the action from Tuesday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O'Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer's Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

Photo via LiverpoolFC.tv

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