Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool destiny rests in untested hands of Alexander Doni

 

Kenny Dalglish will turn to a goalkeeper who has not even completed a full friendly for Liverpool – he dislocated his finger against Rangers on his one start – and who conceded seven goals on his previous appearance in England.

Desperate times are calling for desperate measures for Dalglish, who is now leading his beloved football club through their worst run since the 1953-54 season, and amid the fallout from Sunday's defeat to Newcastle comes the realisation he will have to call on a keeper unproven in this country at least.

The moment Pepe Reina lost control of his head, in every sense, at St James' Park before his dismissal, may yet prove to be the moment when Liverpool's season really did implode. For an FA Cup semi-final with Everton that seems to grow in significance with each defeat, Dalglish will turn to Alexander Doni, the 32-year-old who was signed on a free transfer during the summer, after it was confirmed yesterday that Liverpool will not appeal against Reina's red card.

It will be a huge ask. Doni has not been trusted with the gloves at any time this season, but at least there is pedigree. For six seasons he stood between the posts for Roma (including that 7-1 Champions League defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford) and picked up three Cups during his time there.

 

Doni also has 10 caps for Brazil, but the cauldron that awaits at Wembley, for what will be his competitive debut, will prove the most acid of tests. How Doni fares will go some way to determining how Dalglish fares. Mark Lawrenson said yesterday that his former team-mate would not walk out on Liverpool, and few have suggested such an outcome.

But there seemed a softening in Dalglish's tone at Newcastle on Sunday. Any form of questioning of his players has been rare throughout any of his managerial reigns – at Liverpool, Blackburn, Newcastle or when he was the football director at Celtic– and yet he did that to both Andy Carroll and Reina in the immediate aftermath of defeat. In both cases the criticism was deserved, but it was interesting to hear from those in the tunnel that rather than the fist fight Reina had offered James Perch, the recipient of his "headbutt", Liverpool's players walked down the tunnel in stony silence.

Perhaps Dalglish realises that the phenomenal and sometimes understandable loyalty he gives to his players is not being reciprocated in full during such a testing period, late in his career. Carroll's outburst after being taken off against his old club was shocking to everyone, including Dalglish, but it had felt an unwise substitution from the moment the No 9 flashed up in match official Phil Dowd's hand. What little confidence or self-control Carroll had left evaporated at the ground where he once reigned. That action from Dalglish perhaps in its own way said a thousand words, that his own patience at his misfiring forward had snapped.

Dalglish could have made far more of Danny Simpson's handball and the fact he should have been shown a red card. That would have affected the outcome hugely, and yet he did not. He instead spoke of channelling aggression and disappointment in the right direction. Nor did he turn on Perch for his over-reaction to Reina.

Doni, being critical of his own players, easing up on officials: these are untested waters for Dalglish, and that must make the current period feel even more precarious.

Doni's career

Corinthians (Brazil) 2001-2003

88 appearances

2002 Brazilian Cup

2003 Sao Paulo Championship

Cruzeiro (Brazil) 2004

17 appearances

Juventude (Brazil) 2005

29 appearances

Roma (Italy) 2005-2011

199 appearances

2007 Coppa Italia, Supercoppa

2008 Coppa Italia

Liverpool (England) 2011-

0 appearances

Brazil national team 2007-

10 caps

2007 Copa America

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable