Style or Substance? Dalglish’s headache

When a new manager arrives at a club, there is generally a new-found sense of hope that accompanies him. The promise of a new start, of new players and of a different style of play brings great excitement to fans.

Arguably none more so than the arrival of Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool in January. With the backing of American businessman John Henry, Dalglish has begun to shape the squad in his image. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez arrived in January, with Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing having followed in the summer.

Kenny Dalglish’s transfer dealings were always going to be scrutinised by fans and the media as he looked to rebuild confidence in a team that appears to have been dented over the past two seasons. Some have suggested that his transfer policy is likely to lead to the Anfield club playing an unattractive, results-based game this season. But will it be a case of substance over style this season?

It is clear to see from Dalglish’s purchases that he has targeted players who will not be afraid to get stuck in and pull the team forward. Under Roy Hodgson, the team appeared to lack the ability to put in the hard graft, which resulted in lacklustre displays and lost points. Jordan Henderson signing for the club raised a few eyebrows, mainly due to the £20 million price tag that he carried, but he is without a doubt a player who is willing to put in the hard yards for the sake of the team. Jay Spearing managed a similar job towards the end of the last season, and his performances received the praise they deserved as a result. Having two players that can play this role will be important for the squad, allowing other players to fully express themselves on the pitch.

An issue the team has had since the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (I exaggerate, but it really does seem like it’s been quite a long time) is the distinct lack of width present in the side. Andy Carroll’s arrival at Liverpool has clearly been the springboard for action regarding this issue, with Stewart Downing’s signature a vital part of unlocking the Geordie’s aerial ability. This doesn’t necessarily mean Dalglish’s men will be doing nothing more than knocking balls into the box and hoping Carroll can head home, as Downing is a threat when he cuts inside, giving the team added variety.

The signing of Carroll in the January transfer window may have grabbed all the headlines, but it is important to remember that he was also joined by Suarez in arriving at the club over the winter. The Uruguayan put in a number of impressive performances in the second half of last season, and rightfully so Liverpool fans are excited to see him back on the pitch again this year. He is not the sort of player that will thrive on direct, pumped balls into the box however, and a compromise will have to be reached by Dalglish in order get the best out of the Uruguayan striker.

But it is this need for variety that the Liverpool boss looks to have satisfied during the two windows he has had to work with. It is easy to lump football style into one of two boxes; either pretty or ugly. Too often last year the team looked short on ideas, and the fans will be hoping that this added variety will be enough inspiration to push the team forward.

Who’s your favourite team to watch? Let me know on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/_tomclose Answers of ‘Barcelona’ will be abruptly rejected.




 


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