Kenny Dalglish's future remained uncertain last night, despite the Liverpool manager seeking clarity by heading to Boston to meet his club's owners, who are unhappy with the club's eighth-placed finish. Fenway Sports Group would need to have a successor lined up in whom Liverpool's supporters can invest some faith, before moving Dalglish into any kind of symbolic boardroom role.
Though the rumour mill has been in overdrive, there seems to be no prospect of Wigan manager Roberto Martinez working alongside the club's former manager Rafael Benitez. FSG's meeting should not be characterised as a summons to the United States for Dalglish. But the owners have offered no public affirmation that he retains their faith and with the director of football, Damien Comolli, and director of communications, Ian Cotton, both having been dismissed, they must avoid a sense of drift overtaking Anfield.
Players are also seeking clarity on what the club's aspirations are, including centre half Martin Skrtel, one of the club's outstanding performers of the last campaign. Skrtel's agent, Karol Csonto, denied yesterday that Skrtel was unhappy because of his own perception that, at the age of 27, the prospect of him playing Champions League football at Liverpool once again was receding. But Csonto told The Independent that he would seek an understanding about Liverpool's future in discussions with the club scheduled for two weeks.
"You cannot say Liverpool won't play in the Champions League," Csonto said. "It is a big club and because they haven't made it this year doesn't mean they would not next. There are expectations on both sides, though. Some changes have been made at the club and the player wants to know what the aims and ambitions are. We want to discuss with Liverpool what they want and, of course, we will discuss the issue of Martin's new contract."
Though he has had a poor season by his own standards, goalkeeper Pepe Reina has made no secret of his desire to "challenge for titles". Daniel Agger also excelled in the campaign just concluded, though there is a feeling that he is less motivated by titles.
Dalglish, who secured the Carling Cup, still retains the support of the majority of Liverpool fans, who acknowledge that the team has played vastly better football since taking over from Roy Hodgson. Liverpool's results did not always bear out their performances in the previous campaign.
There has not been contact between FSG and Liverpool's former manager Benitez and despite rumours of a role working in tandem with Martinez, it is thought that the man who brought Liverpool the 2005 Champions League trophy would not want that kind of arrangement.