Dalglish has 'full support' of Liverpool owners

 

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner insists manager Kenny Dalglish enjoys the “full support” of owners Fenway Sports Group.

The position of the Reds boss has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a woeful run in the league in which they lost five of six matches, ending their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Director of football Damien Comolli left the club earlier today but Werner said Dalglish's position was safe.

"We've got great confidence in Kenny," he told liverpoolfc.tv.

"We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and he enjoys our full support."

Werner also gave his backing to managing director Ian Ayre.

 

The club have been criticised this season for an apparent lack of leadership after their poor handling of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row.

After the departure of Comolli - along with head of sports medicine and sports science Peter Brukner, who also left the club today - Werner was asked whether he envisaged any other changes at senior management level.

"We do not. We believe the senior management is very strong, Ian Ayre is an outstanding managing director," said the American.

"His charge is to raise revenue so that we can put the resources into strengthening our football club.

"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."

Comolli's departure is significant in that FSG took the positive decision to make a change after seemingly losing faith in the Frenchman's ability to deliver their vision.

The Americans were keen to implement the moneyball theory to transfers which had been so successful at their other high-profile acquisition, the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

That essentially meant finding players who were potentially under-achieving or slipping under the radar at other clubs, but who could be signed relatively cheaply, made into a success and therefore have a much higher re-sale value.

However, in the three transfer windows Dalglish has overseen, the owners have forked out the best part of £125million, with a net spend of about £70million - which seemed totally at odds with moneyball principles.

The likes of Andy Carroll (£35m), Stewart Downing (£20m) and Jordan Henderson (£16m) have failed to live up to expectation and the best deals have been for Craig Bellamy, who came in on a free but has no re-sale value because of his age, Jose Enrique (£6m) and Luis Suarez (£22.8m).

"We've had a strategy that we have agreed on. There was some disconnect on the implementation of that," said Werner, who confirmed they had made the decision to remove Comolli.

"That strategy is a strong one and it will continue.

"We need to build a strong system under the first team. We're hard at work identifying transfer targets and we will be better next year.

"Frankly, we make these decisions with a great deal of care because it's our track record in Boston to give people authority and we've had great success with our manager, who was there for eight years, and our general manager, so we prefer stability.

"But when it's time to act, we need to act. 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.

"We feel there is enough talent on the pitch to win and I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football.

"But we're also talking about the future - we have a strategy we need implemented and we felt Damien was probably not the right person to implement that strategy."

That does not mean, however, that the role of director of football has been abandoned entirely.

"We're still confident the structure we've discussed is the right structure," added Werner.

"That doesn't mean we won't look at tweaking it, but we feel a collective group of people making football decisions is healthy.

"The debate is healthy. Part of the reason we made this decision now is because we want to start the process of finding an excellent replacement."

Principal owner John Henry's target at the start of the season was to make it back into the top four but their recent run of poor results scuppered those chances.

"We've been dissatisfied, as most supporters have been, with the results so far," said Werner, of Liverpool's eighth-placed league position.

"We feel we are a club that needs to be perceived as the strongest club in football and we want to get there."

PA

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