Blackpool v Liverpool

Holloway has mixed emotions

January 11, 2011

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway is looking forward to taking on "living legend'' Kenny Dalglish, but is saddened by the circumstances surrounding his Liverpool return.

Dalglish was reinstalled as Liverpool manager on Saturday - almost 20 years after his first spell in charge at Anfield ended - following the departure of Roy Hodgson.

Holloway is in awe of Dalglish for his achievements as a player and a manager but feels Liverpool should have given Hodgson longer to turn their season around. Hodgson held the post for just six months but paid the price for a poor start to the campaign, which sees them 12th in the Premier League ahead of the trip to Bloomfield Road.

"Good luck to Kenny Dalglish, he is a wonderful fella," Holloway said. "The man is a living legend, he is someone I have admired from afar and for a long while. It'll be nice to try to beat him and that's what I'll be doing, but I am still lamenting a strange situation.

"I am sure Roy will get another job but I am sure he will be bitterly disappointed that a club the size of Liverpool didn't really give him the chance he hoped for. He waited a long time to climb up the ladder and unfortunately he has come off it really quickly. I don't think he deserved that. I just think it is very convenient to blame Roy Hodgson.''

The return of Dalglish, regarded as Liverpool's greatest-ever player as well as being one of their most successful managers, has energised the supporters. His first league game, albeit away at tiny Blackpool, is likely to be a highly-charged occasion but Holloway is not overly concerned.

Holloway, who guided the Seasiders back to the top flight after a 39-year absence, is simply relishing the fact the two clubs are competing on level terms.

Blackpool won at Anfield earlier in the season and head into the rearranged clash - which was postponed on Boxing Day due to freezing conditions - below the Reds only on goal difference.

Holloway said: "I can't wait. How can there ever be a bad time to play Liverpool? It'll be very special for the fans. Liverpool is just down the road - they've always been miles ahead but now we're on the same playing field.

"Three points available in the same league! It's fantastic for us, but not so much for them. It's probably a game their fans will think they should win, so that brings its own pressures.''

Holloway has rarely had dealings with Dalglish during his time in the game, meeting him just once when he was given short shrift for asking for his autograph at a function.

Holloway said of the incident: "I can't tell you what he said - he thought I was taking the mickey! But I can't remember a better player than him in my whole life. I think he will give them some stability, that is what their club is built on.

"Their foundation was laid out years ago and Kenny was part of that as a player, a player/manager and a manager. It is a big ask because he has been out of the game a while, but if anyone can pull it off it is Kenny. I just hope it goes horribly wrong for him tomorrow - my club might gain then.''

Holloway will revert to a more recognisable side after making nine changes for the FA Cup third-round defeat at League One Southampton. The Tangerines boss insists he has no regrets over fielding an under-strength side, despite facing some considerable criticism over the weekend.

"We are not even David if this league is Goliath, we are smaller than him. And we haven't even got a slingshot. As far as I am concerned I have done the right think for my squad. The likes of Charlie Adam - I can't afford for them to get injured playing so many games in a month.''