x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kenny Dalglish's eyes are shut to harsh reality at Liverpool

Adopting Wenger's 'I did not see it' stance is damaging not only to Dalglish's reputation, but Liverpool too.

Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish has put his reputation at risk.
Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish has put his reputation at risk.

Worst denial: Kenny Dalglish

When Kenny Dalglish was questioned about his controversial striker Luis Suarez's decision not to shake the hand of Patrice Evra, the Liverpool manager adopted what has long been labelled "The Arsene Wenger Defence".

"I never knew Suarez refused to shake Evra's hand," Dalglish said, straight-faced. "I wasn't there, I never saw it. It's contrary to what I've been told."

Wenger is the master of deflection; he has the acute ability to spy a sending off from 50 yards, yet misses blatant actions by his own players in front of his eyes.

Dalglish proved this weekend he has honed his talents considerably in recent months and is now ready to challenge Wenger for the title of most myopic manager.

Sadly, in doing so, he risks not only besmirching his own legendary status, but also that of one of England's finest, most revered and once most respected football clubs.

 

Worst slip: Wayne Hennessey

That may be a little harsh, considering the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper kept the score line down to 5-1 with some fine saves, but the fact is the Wales international was badly at fault for at least two of the West Bromwich Albion goals, the second one in particular one for the highlights reel of goalkeeping gaffes.

The 6ft 8ins stopper has a tendency to concede goals when shots are aimed straight at his body and that came to the fore again when Peter Odemwingie's fierce drive went in off Hennessey's left leg to break the deadlock at Molineux.

However, that was small fry when compared with what was to follow.

The Wolves defence, not for the first time yesterday, struggled to deal with a West Brom corner and after a session of head tennis, the ball fell perfectly for Jonas Olsson to let fly with a rasping left-foot volley.

The shot had plenty of venom, but was aimed straight at Hennessey's midrift, with Wolves fans well within their rights to expect a routine block or save. However, Hennessey only contributed to fumbling the ball over the line, much to the delight of the cackling West Brom faithful.

 

Best home debut: Louis Saha

Such is Harry Redknapp's ability to resurrect careers that there is a joke doing the rounds in England that were the 64 year old to accept the FA's inevitable offer for him to manage his national side, he would pair Wayne Rooney up front with Sir Bobby Charlton.

Louis Saha is the latest player to benefit from Redknapp's Midas touch. He had managed just two goals in 20 appearances for Everton this season before joining Spurs on the last day of the transfer window.

His two goals in 14 first-half minutes in his side's 5-0 demolition of Newcastle not only doubled his tally for the season, but also ingratiated him with the White Hart Lane faithful on his home debut.

Both Saha and Spurs will be hoping the 33 year old can add to that in his next game - they play rivals Arsenal on February 26.

 

Best return: Steven Pienaar

Steven Pienaar's Tottenham career never really got going after he moved to White Hart Lane from Everton 13 months ago.

The South African failed to score for Spurs as he started only five league games in 12 injury-blighted months.

On Saturday, having returned to Everton on loan during last month's transfer window, the 29 year old had to wait just five minutes before nabbing the opening goal in his side's 2-0 win over Chelsea.

The strike may prove as important to his ultimate employers as it does his current paymasters.

Tottenham are intent on solidifying their place in the top four and with Chelsea dropping three points, Harry Redknapp's side now have a 10-point gap over their fifth-placed London rivals.

For Everton, the result means their impressive streak continues: they are now without defeat in six games.

The last team to beat them was Tottenham.

 

Best farewell: Thierry Henry

Whoever writes Thierry Henry's scripts needs to be taught a lesson, for what happened against Sunderland on Saturday was so fairy tale in its implementation, it was almost beyond the realms of imagination.

In the final minute of his final league game for his beloved Arsenal, the 34-year-old on-loan Frenchman connected with a cross from the beleaguered Russian winger Andrey Arshavin to knock the ball past Simon Mignolet in the Sunderland goal to give his side an invaluable 2-1 win.

Henry will return to Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls this week, but his strike - his third in six games - means he will be leaving the Gunners sitting pretty above Chelsea in the league. "Exceptional talent survives the years," Arsene Wenger said. And Henry's scriptwriter clearly agrees.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

 

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