Kenny Dalglish's honour after dash back from Bahrain

Kenny Dalglish described his decision to return as Liverpool manager as 'a no-brainer' after his first match in charge of the club for almost 20 years ended in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

New Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish looks on from the bench during the loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford. Jon Super / AP Photo
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Manchester United 1 // Liverpool 0

Man Utd Giggs (pen) 2'
Red cards Gerrard (Liverpool) 
Man of the match Ryan Giggs (Man Utd)

MANCHESTER // Kenny Dalglish described his decision to return as Liverpool manager as "a no-brainer" after his first match in charge of the club for almost 20 years ended in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

The Scot, who won three league titles and two FA Cups in a six-year spell before resigning in 1991, took over from the sacked Roy Hodgson after a dramatic return from the Persian Gulf.

"For me, it was a no-brainer," he said. "I've been asked a few times to go back [into management] but Liverpool Football Club is a special place.

"It's brilliant. It's amazing how quickly the memory comes back to you. It doesn't seem that long ago I was in the dressing room. It's a great honour and a privilege. It's a club that means a great deal for me. I was very fortunate to be asked in unfortunate circumstances. The person who has lost their job is a man of real dignity and integrity."

Dalglish had been on a cruise with his wife, Marina, when he was summoned back to Anfield.

"I was on a boat, I was happy and then I got a phone call from John Henry [the owner] who said they spoke to Roy and would I like to come and look after the team until the end of the season," he explained, with a deadpan explanation of his whereabouts on the ship. "Being a professional athlete, I was at the bar."

After a flight from Bahrain, he arrived in England and, despite defeat to a Ryan Giggs penalty, issued a call for unity at Anfield.

"Everybody's got to be singing from the same hymn sheets whether it is players, supporters, the owners or the manager," Dalglish said.

He is in charge until the end of the season, which he described as "a fantastic journey."

The game was shaped by two decisions by Howard Webb, the referee, and Dalglish did not agree with either of them.

"The penalty is a joke," he said. "I have seen the replay and unless they have changed the rules it is no penalty.

"The other one, I cannot see that as a red card either. In the dressing room before the game someone said to me the game's not changed that much. I said 'I thought it was a non-contact sport'. Maybe I was right."


Manchester United

Keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, United's No 2, made one fine save and was otherwise relatively untroubled. Looked a little shaky with ball at feet. B

Defence If United end the season with a trophy or two, much of the credit will go to their solid defence. Jonny Evans deputised well for Nemanja Vidic at centre-back up against Fernando Torres. B+

Midfield Ryan Giggs was outstanding, but United should have controlled the game once Steven Gerrard was sent off. That they did not was down partly to slack passing, partly to a fine Liverpool effort. C

Strikers Dive or not, Dimitar Berbatov was United's match winner again. Always looked like he was on the verge of producing something special. B-

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson picked a strong team although an extra midfielder may have seen United dominate. B

Overall Grade: B-


Keeper Almost saved Giggs’s early penalty and produce a couple more decent stops. It is hard to find a fault with Jose Reina. B

Defence United had success getting in behind Liverpool on the flanks, but were kept to one goal. Daniel Agger will regret trying to tackle Berbatov in the box, no matter how light the contact. B-

Midfield Why Gerrard felt it necessary to jump in with two feet on Michael Carrick, only he will know, but those left behind kept Liverpool in the game with a tireless display. B

Strikers Just as in the league game earlier in the season at Old Trafford, Torres produced nothing and struggled on his own up front. D

Manager Kenny Dalglish was brave to take off Torres with 15 minutes left, given the criticism that often caused Rafa Benitez. B

Overall Grade: C+