x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Dalglish wants to repay Liverpool debt

The Liverpool caretaker manager, Kenny Dalglish, says he wants to repay the club for all they have done for him, starting with a win against Everton.

Tim Howard says you have to understand what the Merseyside derby means to supporters of Everton to fully appreciate the magnitude of the fixture against Liverpool.
Tim Howard says you have to understand what the Merseyside derby means to supporters of Everton to fully appreciate the magnitude of the fixture against Liverpool.

Kenny Dalglish will step out of the tunnel for an emotional return to the Anfield dugout in the 215th Merseyside derby today knowing he has a "debt to repay" the club he holds dear to his heart.

The 59-year-old Scot has hardly had time to settle into his new job in a three-match week which has seen defeats away to Manchester United and Blackpool followed by a fixture which is synonymous with his Anfield exit, having resigned following a 4-4 draw in an FA Cup fifth-round replay at Goodison Park on February 20, 1991.

After having had 14 years of success as both a player and manager at the club, Dalglish feels he owes Liverpool. "There is a great debt that needs to be paid back," he said.

"I want to do well for a football club which means so much to me. You want to do well not only for yourself but for everyone that supports the club because I would not be the Kenny Dalglish that is here today if it was not for this football club.

"It will be a bit emotive [today], I would have thought, but it is for the benefit of the club and what we want is to turn that into positive vibes for everyone.

"I know it is going to be an occasion where the focus might be on myself but I know the support from the fans is not just going to be for myself it is going to be for everyone.

"If we can get a lift off the back of that and get a victory then everyone will have played their part."

The focus on Dalglish has increased the attention on a game that usually gets plenty anyway, and Tim Howard, the Everton goalkeeper, is happy to be swept along with the hype.

The American is now in his fifth season with Everton and has grown to share the passion and excitement of supporters for one of the game's greatest local rivalries.

Howard enjoyed a 3-0 victory over Liverpool in just his fourth game for Everton in October 2006, but he admits the contest means much more now.

The 30-year-old believes the key to success is understanding how much the fixture means to fans, and that was never more evident than in an FA Cup fifth-round replay two years ago.

Everton won that game with a dramatic Dan Gosling goal late in extra time and the occasion left a big mark on Howard.

"I think Danny Gosling's goal probably surpasses the 3-0 at Goodison in my first year, only because I didn't quite understand the importance of it then," Howard said.

"Now it is something I have a passion for. In your first year you can't really appreciate it as much as I do now. But the biggest part is to understand the history and the meaning to the club and the supporters, and then flick the switch and become a player.

"It's for the supporters to be on edge - it's for us to be understand the importance and try to be level-headed amid that storm."

All of Howard's successes for Everton over Liverpool, including a 2-0 Premier League win earlier this season, have come at Goodison Park.

Everton have not won at Anfield since Kevin Campbell hit an early winner in September 1999.