Liverpool's owners New England Sports Ventures finally put an end to manager Roy Hodgson's miserable six months at Anfield in ruthless fashion and immediately installed club legend Kenny Dalglish to take over in the interim.
Although Hodgson knew he was on borrowed time after NESV suggested after last week's home defeat to Wolves they were looking for alternatives he probably expected to remain in charge at least for Sunday's FA Cup third round tie at Manchester United. He even gave an interview to the club's television channel on Friday previewing the game but less than 24 hours after that was aired he had been relieved of his duties.
"We are grateful for Roy's efforts over the past six months, but both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down from his position as team manager," said principal owner John Henry.
Although the club statement said the 63-year-old's departure was by mutual consent there is no doubt the club's American owners pulled the trigger - especially as less than a fortnight ago Hodgson insisted he had no intention of resigning.
By bringing in Dalglish, widely regarded as the club's best player and their last manager to win the championship in 1990, NESV have bought themselves some time while also immediately getting disgruntled supporters back on side.
The 59-year-old put his name forward for the permanent job when Benitez left but was overlooked by the previous regime. He will now see this as his chance to get the job for good after the end of the season.
Hodgson was never the fans' first choice as manager and he was certainly not the owners', who completed their £300million takeover three months after Hodgson's July appointment.
"We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season," Henry added. "Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers - three giants.
"We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season."
Dalglish has been on holiday in the middle East but is returning in order to take charge of the side at Old Trafford, where he will renew rivalry with old foe Sir Alex Ferguson.
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