Liverpool yesterday bid £4m for Blackpool's midfielder Charlie Adam as the club's director of football strategy Damien Comolli admitted that qualification for the Europa League through the Premier League looked improbable.
Comolli telephoned the Blackpool chairman, Karl Oyston, to make the verbal offer but Oyston, whose manager, Ian Holloway, this week ridiculed £3.5m bids for the player, turned him down flat.
A source, not connected with Anfield, suggested yesterday that Liverpool are in pole position in the pursuit of the 25-year-old Scot. Manager Holloway said, after Adam's integral role in helping Blackpool beat Liverpool two weeks ago, he would consider offers only from elite Premier League sides.
Liverpool are assessing a larger number of players than had been thought, with Comolli also suggesting in an interview with the French broadcaster Canal+ on Thursday evening that Darren Bent had been considered but passed up because he would not operate well with Fernando Torres. "We thought about him and we looked at his profile and we decided he would not be very complementary along with Torres. He is a guy who plays as a lone striker."
Comolli grimaced and looked pessimistic when, in a discussion of the Ajax striker Luis Suarez, he questioned whether the Uruguayan, who is 24 on Monday, would be released by the Dutch side. "He is one of the players we are interested in, but will he be available in January? That's another story," Comolli said. "Our priority is to recruit a striker who is quick because the team lacks pace." Pace is actually one quality for which Suarez is not particularly feared.
But it is Comolli's assessment of Liverpool's league prospects which reveals most about the task they feel they have ahead. "The Europa League is our main objective for the season. We have won it three times and it's important for us to win it again," he said. "It's the shortest and probably the only way for us to qualify for Europe next season." Given that Liverpool are only four points off seventh-placed Bolton, Comolli's outlook may appear gloomy.
Meanwhile, the manager, Kenny Dalglish, has declared that his reappointment is the best job offer of his career because he was "running out of time" on the fringes of the game. Dalglish said ahead of today's trip to Wolves, in which Liverpool seek only their third away win in almost 13 months: "It is the best job I've ever been offered, so that will do me. It is very seldom you get offered a job and are fortunate enough to have most things in place. For me, coming in here was the best offer I have had in my life and I wasn't going to turn that down. There are problems that need to be solved but I wouldn't be here if there wasn't any problems. Hopefully, we can solve them.
"I was only a baby when I was in charge last time, now I'm a grand-dad, so I was running out of time. It's different players, a different era, a different age. I knew the players at Liverpool when I first got the job ... but you don't really get to know them until you start working with them."