UNDER-FIRE Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has been given a ringing endorsement by the club’s American owners and backed to stay in charge beyond the summer, after the axe fell on director of football Damien Comolli yesterday.
Dalglish’s position has come under increasing pressure following the Reds’ worst run for 59 years and amid criticism of his public pronouncements, not least in relation to the Luis Suarez racism accusations.
But on the eve of tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final it is transfer guru Comolli who has paid the price instead, with Liverpool chairman Tom Werner insisting no further changes were on the horizon.
“We’ve got great confidence in Kenny. We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and he enjoys our full support. We don’t envisage any other changes,” said Werner. “We’ve got great confidence in the other people in football operations, and so the answer is there will be no future changes of significance.”
A vote of confidence is often seen as a harbinger of an imminent sacking, but Werner’s words of support hint that Dalglish will remain in charge not just for this season but beyond. The American stressed that he and owners Fenway Sports Group “prefer stability” but felt compelled to make some changes, and begin the search for Frenchman Comolli’s replacement, as thoughts turn to summer recruitment.
“We’re coming close to the end of the season and the transfer window for the summer, and we felt it was important to make this change expeditiously,” he added.
Werner conceded FSG had been “dissatisfied” with a season that will not reap Champions League qualification and relies on beating Everton tomorrow to keep alive FA Cup hopes.
Comolli was hired in 2010 to oversee Liverpool’s transfer policy but Dalglish emphasised he himself had the last word on all signings and called the former Tottenham director’s departure “disappointing”.
The Merseysiders’ business has come under scrutiny following the expensive failures of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, who cost a combined £80m last year, to deliver on lofty expectations.
■ Luis Suarez, £22.8m from Ajax
■ Andy Carroll, £35m from Newcastle
■ Stewart Downing, £20m from Aston Villa
■ Jose Enrique, £5m from Newcastle
■ Jordan Henderson, £16m from Sunderland
■ Charlie Adam, £9m from Blackpool
■ Sebastian Coates, £6m from Nacional
■ Craig Bellamy, free from Man City
■ Alexander Doni, free from Roma
■ TOTAL £113.8m