Liverpool reward Dalglish's renaissance with three-year deal

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Kenny Dalglish has been appointed Liverpool's permanent manager on a three-year contract. The Scot has been in temporary charge since January, and has inspired an improvement in form, leading Liverpool up to fifth in the Premier League table. First-team coach Steve Clarke has also signed a three-year deal.

"I said when I took the job on that I was just happy to help the club out for the remainder of the season," Dalglish said yesterday. "Now the owners have decided in their wisdom that they want me to stay a little longer and it's fantastic news for both myself and Steve Clarke that we have signed these contracts.

"This is a unique football club and I'm delighted to have the oppor-tunity to help build something special here again," he added.

Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson on 8 January this year, with Liverpool in 12th place in the table and four points above the relegation zone. He had managed the club before, between 1985 and 1991, during which time they won three titles and two FA Cups. He had won five titles, four League Cups and three European Cups at the club before he took the player-manager role.

His return has inspired a radical upturn in Liverpool's form; they have won 10 and drawn three from 16 League games, and have taken 19 from the last 24 available points. Liverpool are now two points ahead of sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, and can secure fifth, and Europa League qualification, with a win against Spurs on Sunday. He has also overseen the successful integration into the side of new signings Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll from Ajax and Newcastle respectively.

"Kenny is a legendary Liverpool figure both as a supremely gifted footballer and successful manager," said the club's principal owner John W Henry yesterday. "Since returning in January he has shown extraordinary leadership and the ability to bring the best out of so many people associated with the club."

Henry added: "It was obvious to us very early on that the atmosphere surrounding the club had been transformed by his presence. No one else could have produced such a response. Therefore, I'm delighted we have agreed to a new contract. We didn't need nor want to look elsewhere for the right man.

"Working closely with him, we've seen first-hand his love for the club and his determination to do whatever is necessary to produce a winning side again. He has a unique relationship with our supporters and embodies everything that is special about the Liverpool way of doing things."

Dalglish thanked Clarke, saying: "I also want to pay tribute to Steve Clarke's input since we started working together as he has brought great experience and knowledge to the role. The players enjoy the training sessions, understand their relevance to our actual football games and have responded brilliantly."