STEVEN GERRARD believes Kenny Dalglish’s man management skills and a change in training methods have been crucial to Liverpool’s resurgence.
The Reds skipper, who is continuing his rehabilitation following groin surgery, is confident the progress made following the appointment of Dalglish in January will continue next term.
Liverpool were 12th when the Kop legend took over from Roy Hodgson but a remarkable run saw them climb to sixth and only narrowly miss out on qualifying for Europe.
“It’s his qualities as a human being that make him a special manager,” Gerrard said.
“Every player knows that his door is always open whatever problem you have. But that doesn’t mean he’s too soft - the opposite in fact. If he’s unhappy he’ll let you know about it.
“His management skills are second to none because he knows when someone needs an arm around them and understands when someone needs a rollicking as well.”
Shortly after his appointment Dalglish brought in Steve Clarke as first team coach and the new manager ensured sessions at Melwood changed.
“The training has been simplified and now it’s close to match tempo,” he said.
“Steve Clarke and Sammy (Lee) are both very good coaches and together they work well. You don’t want to miss a single session.
“If the training is competitive you get in the right habits. You get used to working at a tempo and it’s easier to take it into the games.
“What is definitely evident now is that with a bit of maturity and extra time on the pitch we have better players than some thought we had.”
Gerrard, who sat with Liverpool’s travelling support for the final game of the season at Aston Villa, says the whole atmosphere around the club has altered.
And the midfielder believes with Dalglish’s appointment as permanent boss the last in a line of key appointments, owners Fenway Sports Group have put together a winning formula.
“A new manager comes in, he puts a load of belief and confidence into the players, he brings a different coach and training changes, the players enjoy the sessions and the fans are delighted with Kenny coming back,” he said.
“Now the structure of the club from top to bottom seems to be right. The new owners are making the right decisions.
“They’ve put Damien (Comolli) as a director of football, which is a good appointment. Ian Ayre is the new MD - again positive.
“And Kenny’s back too and he’s Liverpool through and through. It feels more like a solid structure and it feels more like Liverpool.
“People are only talking about the new team now, which is the way it should be for me.”