Kenny Dalglish: I am the main man at Liverpool

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has insisted he has been the man calling the shots over transfers after the surprise departure of director of football Damien Comolli.

Just two days before their FA Cup semi-final with Everton, the club announced the Frenchman had left by mutual consent, with Comolli saying he was returning home for family reasons.

Initially brought in by new owners American Fenway Sports Group in November 2010 to help ease their first move into football, Comolli's appointment preceded Dalglish's by nearly two months but, once the Scot replaced Roy Hodgson, there was no doubt who was in charge.

Even Comolli's promotion from director of football strategy to a wider role the following March failed to alter the balance of power that club icon Dalglish controlled.

And while Comolli has been criticised for his role in Liverpool's recent - and so far unsuccessful - transfer policy, the Reds boss stressed he had the final word on signings.

"Everyone who has come into the club since Damien has been here was of my choice," said Dalglish.

"Once I made the choice who I wanted, Damien went away and did a fantastic job of bringing them in.

"He has been really helpful in every transfer target we've gone for.

"I had a fantastic working and personal relationship with Damien and it is disappointing but I suppose there is not much in football which comes as a surprise.

"It is sad to see anyone leave the football club and he goes with my best wishes and hopefully it is not long before we meet again.

"We wish him well with everything that he does."

When FSG took over in October 2010 much was made of their intention to employ the moneyball theory, which had been so successful at their other high-profile acquisition of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, to transfers.

That essentially meant finding players who were potentially underachieving 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.

Those deals included an eye-watering £35million for Andy Carroll, £20million for Stewart Downing, £16million for Jordan Henderson.

Dalglish's best deals have been for Craig Bellamy, who came in on a free but has no re-sale value because of his age, and Jose Enrique (£6million from Newcastle), with only Luis Suarez, at £22.8million, coming close to justifying his price tag.

With the owners' pre-season ambitions of regaining a place in the top-four ended by a run of woeful league results it appears the director of football experiment has been ditched.

The responsibility now lies solely with Dalglish, who has come in for his fair share of criticism recently, and while that may not actually have changed much behind the scenes it is now more transparent and there can be no hiding behind anyone else.

Principal owner John Henry thanked Comolli for his contribution but business partner and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner was slightly more pragmatic in his assessment of the situation.

"The club needs to move forward and we now have a huge game on Saturday," he said in a statement.

"It is important that everyone joins us in supporting the manager and gets behind Kenny and the team and focuses on a strong finish to the season."

Comolli, who has also worked for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger and was widely credited with playing a part in Tottenham's recent resurgence, thanked the club for his opportunity.

"I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work at Liverpool and am happy to move on from the club and back to France for family reasons," he said.

"I wish the club all the best for the future."

PA

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