Since Kenny Dalglish returned to the Anfield hotseat he appears to have made a conscious effort to battle every journalist that enters his path. The Scot has battled with anybody brave enough to question him about a negative issue and sometimes those who don’t.
It is now becoming a regular occurrence as he takes exception to people doing their job because they are not doing as he wants. While all managers hope for an easy press conference and attempt to use a straight bat to fend off any problems, the 60-year-old brings all eyes on himself by lambasting those in front of him.
The latest episode of this ongoing saga came last week at the mandatory press conference ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea when a reporter asked for his thoughts on Luis Suarez’s racism charge by the FA. The club had sent out a press release the day before outlining their stance on the decision but with the cameras on he was pushed to give a response of his own.
Like any good manager that has consulted the club’s press officer he said: “I think the statement says everything and our position has not changed in any way, shape or form. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
But when pressed again he appeared more agitated, saying: “I just said that’s all I’ve got to say.”
And when asked for a third time he couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the interviewer, adding: “I don’t know if you’ve got wax in your ears but I just said the statement says what we’ve got to say and we have not changed our position in any way, shape or form.”
It’s hardly of Joe Kinnear proportions but it is becoming a habit that is not being missed.
In September he was asked about Andy Carroll’s lifestyle in response to Fabio Capello’s comments on his drinking and he used the opportunity to take a huge swipe at the press. He said: “How long you gonna milk it for? You don’t know his lifestyle. Who knows his lifestyle? Andy. I think Andy’s wiser than a lot of you boys and a lot of the people that right about it and I don’t think his lifestyle is anything like what you’d like it to be.”
And after the 2-1 Carling Cup victory over Stoke another reporter asked a much more positive question about the £35 million man, simply enquiring: “We know Luis Suarez will take the headlines on for Wednesday, but Andy had a really good game. I know there have been one or two questions about his form, but do you feel vindicated every time he puts in a performance like that?”
But even then Dalglish reacted angrily retorting: “I don’t know why he had to ride it. There’s always one or two questions. He was fantastic the other night, just leave it at that, and just leave your question at that as well, and don’t keep looking for negatives. We’ve been through it before with the big fella.”
The manager may think he is just defending his players and attacking journalists he feels aren’t worthy of his presence but it is creating a storm around him that is likely to end badly. Dalglish’s plan of action in press conferences and interviews may work well for him but it is going to make him a target for criticism when things go wrong.
Journalists are asking the questions that the public want answers to and getting an aggressive response so they have decided to take a more positive line of questioning with him, only for the mundane and repetitive style of interviewing to be criticised by the Scot in another rage. Doing this will only alienate him from the press and when things start to go wrong he will not be able to get away from the criticism. The media will not go out and target the Liverpool manager but if he is going to argue with them on a weekly basis why would they want to sweep any problems at Anfield under the rug?
Andy Carroll’s form is not fantastic but it is being concentrated on more and more because of the strained relationship that is being created between the club and the press. Stories are there to be found and the journalists mocked by Dalglish will not turn a blind eye to any sight of a problem.
Kenny Dalglish picked a fight with the media that he can only win while his team is winning like they did on Sunday. But if he doesn’t guide them to the top four and begins to struggle, the press will be ready to put the pressure on.
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