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Top marks for Dalglish

Top marks for Dalglish

by Mike Langley of "The People"

 

Kenny Dalglish is sure to look quizzically at his maximum merit-mark of 10 out of 10. "Och," he'll think, "I've sometimes played better than this."

 

Better maybe, but never more historically or influentially. Manager Dalglish virtually brought his chair on the pitch.

 

Everton and West Ham hoped that Stampford Bridge would prove a bridge too far in Liverpool's assault on a record 16th championship.

 

They were wrong. Dalglish made them wrong. He chested down Beglin's cross, noted Chelsea's defence entangled in their own offside trap and volleyed the winner off the outside of his right foot.

 

It was an old-fashioned goal from the old-fashioned inside-left position and today, as Hampden Park fills for Dalglish's testimonial match, it will move the Liverpool player-manager even closer to becoming an old-fashioned millionaire.

 

"Ah, it could easily have gone in the enclosure," said Dalglish later, trying to decry the goal and his own part in the championship.

"Everyone else did more," he said. Like Rush with his 31 goals, the strapping Dane, Molby, with his 20, not to mention Bob Paisley and the training staff.

But Dalglish cannot kid the fans or the record books. He's the first player-manager to win the championship.

 

Dalglish ended a bleak Liverpool run of not winning in the League at Chelsea for 12 years. And he's guided his team to the brink of the double.

 

Can they now beat Everton in the FA Cup final on Saturday ? "Well," he said, "this gives us a tremendous lift." Everton won't want to find Dalglish in the masterly mood that drew a capacity crowd to see what I believe may have been his farewell League match.

 

Everyone could see he was on his game when he infiltrated the penalty area and back-heeled to Gillespie whose shot was blocked.

 

Dalglish again was the steadying hand through the second-half as Liverpool drew on years of experience to protect their lead for more than an hour.

 

They suffocated Dixon and Speedie with three centre-backs and offsides of a precision that couldn't have been bettered by a chorus line. Speedie angrily demanded a penalty against Lawrenson in the 57th minute and a thunder of boos followed when a shake of the ref's head was the only response to Jones tumbling over Beglin's legs.

 

McAllister came on as an extra forward for the final Chelsea push when Nevin moved into the middle. But only Speedie and McAllister got a chance to beat Grobbelaar. Each time they shot wide. So it was all embraces in red shirts at the finish, the travelling Kop in a flag-waving ferment, and the Liverpool team too excited to stand still for their title-winning photograph.

 

No, that's not right - Dalglish didn't move. "He's a perfectionist," said chairman John Smith.

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