Kenny Dalglish said that it was right that Rafael Benitez left Liverpool in the summer and that he feels no sense of hurt that he was not chosen to succeed him as manager.
Dalglish, who has not managed since leaving Celtic a decade ago, put himself forward as a contender to return to the job he quit in February 1991 when exhausted by the demands of constant success and the weight of the Hillsborough disaster.
"Rafa was right to go," he said of the man who appointed him as club ambassador last year. "It was time for him to move onwards. He changed jobs, everyone changes jobs, and he changed when the time was right.
"He began magnificently here, winning the European Cup and the FA Cup but, like everything else, there is a sell-by date. His leaving was beneficial for both parties and that is not to undermine what he did or what he brought."
Perhaps mindful that his return to Parkhead had not been a success, Dalglish's application was given short shrift by Christian Purslow. Liverpool's managing director said he wanted Dalglish, whose relationship with the Kop is that of an unalloyed hero, to continue to be the club's public face, advise the academy and be given more responsibility for player development. The latter is still to come to pass.
"I have not been given an extended role but that is not to say I wouldn't want one – but the delay is totally understandable when you see what Liverpool have been through recently with a new manager coming in and players being moved out," said Dalglish, who yesterday launched his account of his 33-year relationship with the club, entitled My Liverpool Home.
Among its more surprising observations is that Dalglish is opposed to a new stadium, preferring the redevelopment of Anfield, adding that if this is impossible Liverpool should consider ground-sharing with Everton.
Dalglish said he applied, not because he was dismayed by the quality of the shortlist drawn up to replace Benitez, but because he still feels a debt towards the club. He added that he has never properly forgiven himself for resigning as manager in a year when Liverpool appeared on course for their 19th title. "If you had said then that we would not win a title after 1990, you'd have been sectioned," he smiled.
It seems strange that a man who played 515 times for Liverpool, scored 172 goals and helped them to 17 major trophies – of which the 1989 FA Cup won in the shadow of Hillsborough is his favourite – should still feel he owes Anfield. "They never sacked me, I left," he said by way of explanation. "Maybe I am being a wee bit romantic. I had a debt to pay to the club. At the time when I resigned, there were a lot of disappointed people but there was nobody more disappointed than myself."
My Liverpool Home by Kenny Dalglish is published by Hodder and StoughtonReuse content