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Kenny Dalglish sacked as Liverpool manager

Kenny Dalglish sacked as Liverpool manager

Dalglish led the club to success in the League Cup this season, but Liverpool finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League.

Liverpool: Liverpool have parted company with manager Kenny Dalglish after the team finished a disappointing eighth in the English Premier League.

Dalglish's second stint in charge of the club was ended by the club's American owners as the Anfield great paid the price for his side's worst Premier League finish for almost 20 years.

Speculation has raged this week over Dalglish's future and the 61-year-old returned to England on Tuesday, having flown to Boston on Monday to hold showdown talks with Liverpool’s owners FSG.

"Fenway Sports Group (FSG) and Liverpool Football Club announced that Kenny Dalglish is to leave his post today as manager after having his contract terminated," the club said in a statement on their website.

"After a careful and deliberative review of the season, the club came to the decision that a change was appropriate. It is not a decision that was reached lightly or hastily."

Dalglish, who had been one season into a three-year contract, masterminded his side’s League Cup success this year after beating Cardiff City on penalties - the club’s first trophy since 2006 - and led them to the FA Cup final as well, where they lost to Chelsea.

However, he failed to secure a top-four finish as demanded by the owners, having been allowed to invest over £100 million on new players since he returned to the club in January 2011.

Chairman Tom Werner said disappointing Premier League results meant Liverpool needed to "make a change". The club said the search for Dalglish's successor would begin immediately.

Liverpool ended their Premier League campaign in eighth place, a worst-ever finish for the club since the formation of the league 20 years ago. In addition, their points tally of 52 points marked their poorest return since the 1953-54 season when the club were relegated from the old First Division.

The Reds' claimed just six league wins at Anfield all season, the worst record at home in a league season since 1948-49, and recorded their fewest wins in a top-flight season since 1953-54, with 14, and fewest top-flight goals (47) since 1991-92.

Dalglish, along with director of football Damien Comolli, have been criticised for the inflated transfer fees invested during the former's reign. Andy Carroll, who scored just six times in 46 appearances, arrived for £35m, before midfield trio Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, the latter contributing not a single goal or assist from out wide during the entire season, were brought in for a collective fee of around £45m.

Dalglish is still the last manager to guide Liverpool to the English league title. He returned for a second spell when the club fired Roy Hodgson in January 2011, with Liverpool 12th in the standings and four points above relegation, and signed a permanent contract 12 months ago after leading them to a sixth-place finish.

Dalglish is likely to remain a firm favourite at Anfield after a glorious career as player and then manager in his first spell, which ended in 1991.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to come back to Liverpool Football Club as manager," said the Scot.

"Of course I am disappointed with results in the league but I would not have swapped the Carling (League) Cup win for anything as I know how much it meant to our fans and the club to be back winning trophies."

As a Liverpool player, Dalglish won numerous honours, including six English league titles and three European Cup trophies. In his first spell in charge between 1985 and 1991, he won three league titles and two FA Cups.

Once the dominant force in English football, Liverpool have not won the championship since 1990. They finished 37 points behind champions Manchester City, 17 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and one place behind bitter rivals Everton.

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has been strongly linked in the media after piloting the north-west club out of relegation difficulty with a strong finish to the season, while fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez is second favourite among British bookmakers to make an Anfield return.

Benitez took charge in June 2004 and his first season ended in triumph with the unforgettable Champions League final victory over AC Milan in Istanbul. He also won the FA Cup in 2006, but left by mutual consent four years later.