Partnerships on the pitch in football are certainly important, whether they are strike pairings or centre back pairings it is good to have a partnership where each brings something different to the party. The same could be said for partnerships off the pitch in the backroom staff. Bill Shankly & Bob Paisley, Brian Clough & Peter Taylor, the relationship between the manager and his assistant coaches is all important.
For this reason, I believe the decision of both King Kenny and Damien Comolli to bring in Steve Clarke was an inspired choice. Dalglish must take the majority of the credit for Liverpool’s revival, he restored the confidence of the players, he has started to build an environment where the players enjoy their football and where there is a good deal of team spirit as well as making the key decisions to switch to a 3-5-2 formation, to play Glen Johnson as a left wing back, starting Martin Kelly, giving Raul Meireles the freedom to roam forward, and has no doubt had a big hand in the acquisitions of both Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.
King Kenny was also an advocate of moving back towards the “pass and move” style of football which has been missing in recent years. On the training pitch however, Kenny does not take the lead role. According to former player Alan Shearer, Kenny never has done. During his time at Blackburn, says Shearer, Ray Harford would be the one taking the training sessions while Dalglish “got inside the player’s heads.” It looks as if now then that Steve Clarke is playing the “Harford role.” According to the players, Clarke has been instrumental in the team’s success. Dirk Kuyt explains the role of Clarke and Kenny most eloquently:
“The combination of Dalglish and Clarke is a really good one. Clarke has come in from outside the club. He has the same role as he had earlier with Mourinho at Chelsea. Under Clarke we now do totally different training sessions. We do a lot of positional play in small spaces. And while Clarke is doing sessions with us, Dalglish will talk all the stress away from the players.”
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