Comolli pays price as Kenny insists 'buck stops with me'

Dalglish 'responsible for all signings' as Frenchman is fired on another crazy day at Anfield

Kenny Dalglish last night said he accepted full responsibility for the £112m worth of signings that have led to Liverpool's director of football, Damien Comolli, losing his job on the eve of their biggest game of the season – tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final with Everton.

The Liverpool manager was given a vote of confidence by the club's chairman, Tom Werner, who also sacked the head of sports science, Peter Brukner.

"We have great confidence in Kenny and we feel the team is going to make great strides in the future," Werner said. Nevertheless, Liverpool have won only five league games at Anfield this season; two fewer than when Liverpool were relegated in 1954.

Werner and the Liverpool owner, John W Henry, have been angered both by performances on the pitch and in the transfer market. Dalglish has sanctioned all the players who have arrived under his management, save for Luis Suarez. Comolli to negotiated fees and contracts. Johan Cruyff, who left the Ajax board this week, is a name in the frame to replace him.

 

"I have brought every player here," said Dalglish. "End of story. I have made the decision on every player who has come here and I will continue to make the decisions. I don't need any reassurance from the owners. I have got a big game on Saturday against Everton which is the focal point for us."

Although Liverpool are on course to win both domestic cups, for the third season running they will fail to reach the Champions League, which Fenway Sports Group considers unacceptable.

When the initial announcement was made, it was presented as being made "by mutual consent". Comolli said he was "happy" to go back to France for "family reasons". However, a subsequent interview with Werner on the club's website revealed that it had been FSG's decision to get rid of Comolli.

"I would say we have the resources to compete with anybody in football," Werner said. "We feel there is enough talent on the pitch to win and we have been dissatisfied with the results so far. We are talking about the future. We have a strategy we want implemented and we felt that Damien was not the right person to implement it."

For many observers the timing of Comolli's departure – with the implication that some of the players who will start the FA Cup semi-final with Everton have not delivered value for money – seems extraordinary.

"I don't think there is ever a good time for anyone to lose their job," Dalglish said. "The timing of this cannot be used as an excuse for us not to be fully focused for the game on Saturday."

Comolli was one of the first appointments made by FSG after its takeover at Anfield and his successes were the transfer of Suarez from Ajax – the bulk of negotiations for which were done while Roy Hodgson was manager – and a reduction of the wage bill.

Some of Liverpool's highest earners – Fernando Torres, Alberto Aquilani, Christian Poulsen and Milan Jovanovic – have been moved on while Joe Cole was loaned to Lille. However, the fees paid for Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson – a combined £75m – were thought excessive. Both Newcastle and Sunderland considered the amounts Liverpool offered for Carroll and Henderson far too good to turn down, although this was a consequence of Dalglish's desire to invest in expensive British talent, of the kind that had won him the title at Blackburn.

"Damien was never involved on the training pitch," said Dalglish. "He was involved in scouting, sending scout reports in – a lot of administration work such as getting [goalkeeper] Peter Gulacsi back from Hull in time for the semi-final. There were Premier League meetings, things that seem mundane but were very important to the running of the football club. Part of his job was to go and negotiate for the players we wanted to bring in. It's a huge job. I had a really good working relationship with him and a good personal relationship as well.

"I have spoken to the owners but do you think I am going to sit here and tell you about the conversations I have had? Damien has not gone in any way, shape or form because of a problem with myself. Unfortunately, the guy has lost his job. That is not a pleasant day for anybody."

The relationship between Comolli and Dalglish had been the subject of discussion at Anfield. Dalglish's closest friend in the game, Alan Hansen, has always argued that a director of football is a divisive appointment "unless he is appointed by the manager". Comolli was not. Dalglish had worked unsuccessfully as a director of football at Blackburn but he was not even aware of the club's decision to sell Alan Shearer to Newcastle in 1996. He left shortly afterwards.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
i100
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution