Dalglish and Suarez worked together at Liverpool for a season and a half.
Luis Suarez and Kenny Dalglish experienced a lot together during their time working alongside each other at Liverpool.
As evidenced by Dalglish’s text message to Suarez after he was dismissed as the club’s manager, it appears that their shared experience brought them closer together.
Suarez first year with Liverpool
Dalglish was the Reds manager when the striker joined the club from Ajax in January 2011.
Suarez inherited Dalglish’s number seven jersey and would become a talisman for Liverpool in the style of ‘King Kenny.’ Like Dalglish in the 1970s and 80s, Suarez lit up Anfield with his individual brilliance.
The Uruguayan won his one and only trophy with Liverpool – the 2012 League Cup – under Dalglish. The pair were, however, involved in a controversial incident.
Dalglish’s support for his player
Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a game at Anfield in October 2011. The striker recieved an eight-match ban and fined £40,000.
Liverpool did not appeal the punishment. Dalglish, however, continued to back Suarez.
Nine years after the incident, Liverpool FC apologised to Evra.
Ferguson on Dalglish’s dismissal
Liverpool sacked Dalglish in May 2012. He had led the club to the League Cup and eighth place in the Premier League. At the time, however, Alex Ferguson said that his handling of the Evra-Suarez incident contributed to his departure.
“I wasn’t surprised at Kenny leaving, their owner John Henry has obviously looked at that [incident] and felt it wasn’t handled in the right way.
“It certainly wasn’t a nice thing to happen and it must have been part of it,” the then-Manchester United manager said.
Dalglish’s continued support for Suarez
Dalglish would later say that he would have, in hindsight, handled the situation differently. Yet, despite the fallout from the incident, the Scot maintained his admiration for Saurez, as evidenced by his message to the Uruguayan when departing Anfield.
According to Daniel Taylor, writing in the Athletic, Suarez and Dalglish communicated through text message on the day the Scot was dismissed as Liverpool manager.
“On the day Dalglish was sacked as manager — partly, many feel, because of the way he handled the Evra case — he and Suarez exchanged text messages,” Taylor writes.
“Suarez wanted to thank Dalglish for his support.”
“Dalglish’s reply was short and simple: ‘Don’t ever change’.”
Dalglish has since returned to Liverpool as a club ambassador and has had a stand named after him at Anfield. He was on hand to present Liverpool with the Premier League trophy in July.
Suarez, meanwhile, left Liverpool for Barcelona in 2014. The Uruguayan almost helped the Reds win an unlikely Premier League under Brendan Rodgers before departing.
(Originally published on September 24, 2020).