The 216th meeting between Liverpool and Everton Saturday at Goodison Park (TV: ESPN2, live, 7:30 am ET) has special meaning. It will be Kenny Dalglish's
first trip back to the Everton stadium as Liverpool manager in 20 years.
It was on Feb. 22, 1991, that Dalglish left Liverpool in what is described as a JFK moment. As Dominic King writes, "For a city that eats, sleeps and breathes football, this was its JFK moment. 99 per cent of the people you ask where they were when hearing Dalglish had gone would be able to tell you their exact location ..." Only when a picture of a haunted-looking Dalglish appeared on the front page of the Liverpool Echo did it hit home that Dalglish, a Liverpool institution, had quit following what would now be considered a rather meaningless game: a fifth-round replay in the FA Cup.
Dalglish had won eight league championships as player and manager, plus three European Cups, two FA Cups and four League Cups, but he was exhausted from leading Liverpool through its darkest hours following the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy two years earlier and needed a break. He said he realized he had frozen during the game and didn't make the moves he should have -- notably, pushing Jan Molby back to play as sweeper -- to preserve the Reds' lead in overtime of the Merseyside classic that ended 4-4. (Everton won the second replay a week later.)
Dalglish returned to Liverpool this season at the request of its new American owners.