Liverpool Lore: All hail the King; Kenny Dalglish

Few people left a bigger mark at Liverpool then Kenny Dalglish.
Kenny Dalglish 1987 League Cup Final
Kenny Dalglish 1987 League Cup Final / Getty Images/GettyImages

It's been quite awhile since our last edition of "Liverpool Lore". A lot has been happening in and around Liverpool Football Club.

However, with the Jurgen Klopp era coming to a close, I am very much in my nostalgic feels and felt it was high-time we brought this series back. Previously I've revisited players like Robbie Fowler, John Barnes, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen, Daniel Agger and more.

Today though, we're going right to the very top. No more beating around the bush. Let's take a look back at the glittering and memorable Liverpool career of the one and only, Sir Kenny Dalglish.

August 10, 1977 saw Liverpool sign a Celtic footballing hero, Kenny Dalglish for £440,000. The move was sanctioned by then Reds boss, Bob Paisley. This was a British record fee at the time.

Dalglish was being brought in to replace the departing Kevin Keegan who, just months prior, had made the move to Germany to play for Hamburger SV.

The Beginning

Dalglish wasted little time settling into life as a Liverpool player. He scored his first league goal against Middlesbrough before netting his first goal at Anfield just a few days later against Newcastle United.

Liverpool would finish Dalglish's debut season second in the league to champions Nottingham Forest as the Reds were 7 points off the pace.

However, Liverpool would end the season on the highest of notes as they defeated Club Brugge to win the European Cup. King Kenny would score the only goal in the 1-0 victory. It capped off a brilliant first season of 31 goals from 62 appearances.

David Fairclough was second in the side with only 15 goals himself.

Dalglish would not slow down in his second season as he led the club in goals once again and was named the FWA Footballer of the Year for 1978-79.

He quickly built a reputation for insane durability as he did not miss a single league game for Liverpool until the early 80's. If they say the best ability is availability, then there was nobody better than Sir Kenny.

The European and League Cups were secured during the 1980-81 season despite a rare misfiring season from the star Scot.

As Dalglish turned the page into his thirties, he began morphing into a new type of player. Along came a hotshot 19-year old, Ian Rush, that demanded the spotlight and was capable of shouldering some of the scoring load.

Dalglish and Rush formed a terrorizing duo up top for Liverpool as they combined for 52 goals in the 1981-82 season that ended with the Reds being crowned league champions.

Dalglish becomes a Player-Manager

There are very rare instances in the real world where the player-manager idea actually works to the benefit of both player and club.

Of course this was one of those times, because Dalglish would not let it be otherwise. Following the Heysel Stadium tragedy and the retirement of Joe Fagan, it was Dalglish that took the helm for the 1985-86 season.

Now aged 34, Dalglish began taking a back to seat to the talent that was bursting at the seems at Anfield at this time. While he played 30 times in all comps, he only scored 5 goals.

Ian Rush and Jan Mölby led the charge for the Reds as they won the League and FA Cup double that season.

The Writing on the Wall

Following the departure of Rush in 1987, Liverpool had the likes of 27-year old John Aldridge and 26-year old Peter Beardsley waiting in the wings to take over the attack. A young John Barnes was ascending at this time as well.

A new era was beginning at Liverpool as Dalglish, 36, was the clear piece that was becoming moot. He only played twice in all comps during the 1987-88 season

The Reds soared to a 17th English League title behind 29 goals from Aldridge.

Dalglish made his final appearance as a Liverpool player in 1990 when he came on as a 39-year old substitute.

Managerial Success

As incredible as he was as a player, some could argue that Dalglish was just as successul, if not more, in management.

Dalglish led his charges to the 1989 FA Cup triumph over Everton following an Ian Rush 104th minute winner to give the Reds a memorable 3-2 win. This was followed by their 3rd league title under Dalglish in the 1989-90 season.

He was in charge during the 1989 Hillsborough disaster that claimed the lives of 97 victims. He did not shy away from the situation in the aftermath, as he was an ever present figure in the community as he did all he could to help the city heal.

King Kenny would step down as manager in 1991 with Liverpool sitting at the top of the table. He would go on to manage Blackburn Rovers to the 1994-95 Premier League title.

Dalglish would return to the Liverpool touchline when he replaced the miserable Roy Hodgson in early 2011. it was a rough time for the club as results were going poorly. He oversaw the signings of Andy Carroll and one Luis Suarez in January of 2011.

He was given a 3-year contract to lead the club and it was not smooth sailing as a lot of his time was spent defending Suarez for his various antics in a Liverpool shirt.

However, glory would be restored in 2012 when Liverpool defeated Cardiff City via a penalty shootout in the League Cup Final. They would also reach the FA Cup Final that season as well.

Unfortunately, they finished 8th in the Premier League and Dalglish was dismissed from his post.

A Legend

The impact that Kenny Dalglish had on Liverpool as both a player and a manager is unprecedented. At a club full of legends and icons, he shines the brightest.

As a player he was a gifted dribbler well ahead of his time, could finish from anywhere with either foot and could pick out a pass if needed. He was must-see on the pitch.

His ability to adapt as a manager across multiple clubs and eventually, decades, shows the staying power of his footballing knowledge. Sir Kenny's Liverpool legacy is something that is buoyed by the trophies and stats, yet, it goes far deeper than that.

He is part of the fabric at this club and always will be. There can only be one, King Kenny.