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Friday, May 18, 2012

Dalglish out as Liverpool manager


LONDON — The adulation of Liverpool fans wasn't enough to save "King Kenny."

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Second stint over: Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was fired by the club on Wednesday after just 18 months in charge. AP

Kenny Dalglish's lackluster second stint in charge of the fallen English power was halted by the club's American owners Wednesday after less than 500 days in charge.

Displaying its ruthless streak, Fenway Sports Group terminated the club great's contract after realizing he was unlikely to be able to bring the good times back to Liverpool by replicating his trophy-laden first spell.

Dalglish produced the last of Liverpool's 18 English league titles before quitting a year later, in 1991. His expensively overhauled 2011-12 team ended the season in eighth place, underperforming on the field and damaging the club's reputation following a racism incident involving forward Luis Suarez.

Winning the League Cup to end Liverpool's six-year trophy drought and reaching the F.A. Cup final wasn't enough to convince the FSG the club was on the right path. The decision was taken after Dalglish flew to Boston this week for an end-of-season review with ownership, which also runs the Red Sox.

"Results in the Premier League have been disappointing, and we believe to build on the progress that has already been made we need to make a change," chairman Tom Werner said. "We are committed to delivering success for our supporters and our ambition remains resolute to return this great club to the elite of England and Europe, where it belongs."

Liverpool came within four points of winning the league in 2009 under Rafa Benitez, who delivered a fifth European Cup title to the club in 2005 and also led the team to the 2007 Champions League final.

Dalglish won eight league titles as a player and coach from 1977-90. He returned to Anfield shortly after the Fenway takeover to replace Roy Hodgson in January 2011 with the club hovering above the relegation zone.

After lifting Liverpool from its perilous position to sixth place, Dalglish was given a three-year contract at the end of the 2010-11 season.

"Kenny came into the club as manager at our request at a time when Liverpool Football Club really needed him," Werner said. "He didn't ask to be manager; he was asked to assume the role. He did so because he knew the club needed him. He did more than anyone else to stabilize Liverpool over the past year and a half."

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