Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kenny Dalglish Is Candidate For Permanent Liverpool Job

New Liverpool caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish will be a candidate for the post on a permanent basis.

The Scot is in charge until the end of the season, with director of football Damien Comolli tasked with finding Roy Hodgson's long-term successor.

Asked whether former Reds player and manager Dalglish would be considered Comolli said: "The answer is yes."

Dalglish added: "If I do really well and someone better than me comes along I will have no problem whatsoever."

Dalglish, who won eight league titles as a player and a manager with Liverpool between 1977 and 1991, applied for the job in the summer after the departure of Rafael Benitez, only to be overlooked in favour of Hodgson.

But when a dismal run of results brought a premature end to Hodgson's reign on Saturday the club turned to the Anfield legend to take charge until the end of the season.

That gives Dalglish a chance to stake his claim for the long-term job while Comolli scours the globe for a viable alternative.

Asked what the criteria were for identifying the next permanent manager, Comolli said: "Competence, someone who will fit into the club and playing philosophy and huge on man-management - the three things most important to the club.

"It is open to people that we think fit into what I have described and Kenny obviously fits into that category.

"There will be a thorough search of what we want to do, where we want to get to and we will talk to Kenny about it and see where it takes us."

Dalglish, speaking to journalists at Anfield on Monday for the first time since he was appointed, insisted he is happy with his current caretaker role and denied seeking any assurances for his long-term future when he was offered the job by Liverpool co-owner John Henry.

"My understanding is that it's until the end of the season and that's no problem for me," said Dalglish, whose first match in charge ended in a 1-0 FA Cup third-round defeat to arch rivals Manchester United on Sunday.

"I've heard stories about demanding this and demanding that, but when I was phoned on Saturday morning and asked if I'd take the job it was a straightforward 'yes' and that was it for me.

"There's no conditions, no promises, there's nothing. I came back to work at a club that myself and my family are eternally grateful for many things they have done for us and when I was asked to do it there was no way I was going to be disrespectful and say 'no'.

"I am here to be of help to the club and if that means Kenny Dalglish is not the manager that is not a problem.

"If at the end of the season the owners have their eyes on someone else then I have no problem stepping aside because if I didn't I wouldn't be true to my word.

"I would do it readily if it meant the club improving."

Liverpool will resume their stuttering Premier League campaign at Blackpool on Wednesday.

And Dalglish joked that in the current climate he may be fortunate to see out the season with the Reds.

"If I can get to the end of the season then I'll probably end up as one of the longest-serving managers in the Premier League any way," he said.

Comolli, who has previously worked for Arsenal and Tottenham, was appointed by new owners New England Sports Ventures (NESV) in November to help the club identify potential transfer targets.

But the Frenchman insisted Dalglish would have the final say on all new signings.

"As I have always said, if Kenny is not happy with a player we think could make the team better, or if he thinks it is not the right timing, it will always be down to the manager to say he is not happy."

Dalglish said he has not had time to think about transfer targets yet.

"I am sure the owners have an opinion about the football club, they own it so they are entitled to, but that is why they put Damien in his position and me in mine," he said.

"They will leave it in our hands as to whether we need players or not."

New Liverpool First-Team Coach Steve Clarke Couldn't Turn Down Chance To Work With Kenny Dalglish

Steve Clarke has spoken of his excitement at joining the coaching staff at Liverpool after the former Chelsea assistant manager was appointed as first-team coach at Anfield.

Clarke, who played over 500 senior matches for St Mirren and Chelsea, was assistant manager at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho, and also at West Ham United under Gianfranco Zola.

"I was sat at home doing nothing and now I've got the chance of working with a football great in Kenny Dalglish and also working for one of the world's leading football clubs" Clarke told Liverpool's official website.

"This was something I couldn't turn down.

"I am grateful for everybody who has given me such a warm welcome, especially all those here at Melwood.

"I am really looking forward to working with Kenny and the rest of the staff to help bring good times back to the club."

Kenny Dalglish Has 'No Problem' With Short-Term Liverpool Stay

Kenny Dalglish's second stint as manager at Liverpool may yet be extended beyond the end of the season, but for now the Anfield legend is just focused on improving a group of players who have so far under-achieved this term after revealing that he has no trepidation about the short-term nature of his return.

The 59-year-old will take the managerial helm at Anfield until the end of the season, something with which he insists he has no concerns about.

“My understanding is that it’s until the end of the season, and that’s no problem for me,” Dalglish told the assembled media on Monday.

“I’ve heard stories about demanding this and demanding that. I got a call Saturday morning, I got asked if I would take the job, and it was a straightforward ‘yes’.

“I came back here to work at a club to which myself and my family are eternally grateful, and if I can get to the end of the season I think I’ll be one of the longest-serving managers in the Premiership.

"If I do really well and someone better comes along, it’s not a problem. I’m here to help in any way shape or form I can.”

Liverpool currently lie in 12th position, with just 7 wins from 20 games in the Premier League following the reign of Roy Hodgson, something which Dalglish accepts isn't good enough, but is sure that he can put right, despite a decade away from management.

“The squad of players is much better than the form table and points gained so far suggest," Dalglish said.

“Football hasn’t changed. It’s about players and your relationship with them, imparting your knowledge to them."

Dalglish also had his say on the furore surrounding Ryan Babel, and his posting of a doctored photo showing Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt on Twitter, something that the manager saw as “just a bit of fun".

He added: “The FA should look into it and try to find a sense of humour."

€10m Dutch Ace To Be King Kenny's 'First Signing'

Ricky van Wolfswinkel will be the 'first signing' of the new Kenny Dalglish reign at Anfield, according to Metro.

The FC Utrecht frontman is one of the hottest prospects in Dutch football and has hit the ground running this year with 11 strikes in 17 starts; adding to his tally of 10 goals last season in his debut campaign at the Stadion Galgenwaard.

It had initially been reported by talkSPORT last month that Liverpool had made a formal bid for the 21-year-old and now Metro suggests that, despite competition from Napoli, a deal could soon be concluded.

During his brief tenure at Liverpool, Roy Hodgson was adamant the club needed to bring in attacking reinforcements during the January transfer window and Reds owners New England Sports Ventures look likely to heed his advice - albeit too late for the former Fulham boss.

Van Wolfswinkel would certainly provide Liverpool with the added potency they so crave in the pursuit of Premier League salvation and could make for a dynamic partner for Anfield star Fernando Torres.

The Spaniard has failed to hit the previous heights he enjoyed with Liverpool in the seasons preceding this and is likely to benefit from having the goalscoring burden removed from his shoulders.

But temporary Liverpool boss Dalglish believes the 26-year-old will soon be back to his sensational best.

"Fernando Torres has got a magic wand. We have great aims to build on and it is up to us to get him going," said Dalglish after Liverpool lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup.

"He wants to do it, you can see he wants to do it, and we'll get him going sooner rather than later."

Dalglish To Swoop For €20 Million Ashley Cole Replacement

Liverpool caretaker manager is set to seal a move for Benfica left back Fabio Coentrao as his first signing in January, according to reports.

The new Reds boss wants to bring in a replacement for Paul Konchesky, one of Roy Hodgson’s high-profile flops, to improve their defence.

Alongisde Damian Comolli, Dalglish has amended Liverpool’s January transfer wishlist, which now includes Ryan Shawcross and Ricky van Wolfswinkel at the top.

Coentrao is one of the best full backs around and would be a significant coup for Liverpool and possibly signal signs of better things to come for the remainder of the season.

Dalglish knows he needs to bring a number of new signings into Anfield this month if he is to drag Liverpool out of trouble and a treble swoop would be a good way to announce himself.

The Portuguese was thought to have agreed a move to Chelsea to eventually become Ashley Cole’s replacement at Stamford Bridge last month but those reports seem to have been false.

Cole has been linked with a move to Real Madrid this season so Coentrao was thought to be a target for Carlo Ancelotti but the England international has stayed loyal to Chelsea and looks set to see the season out with them.

And, with Chelsea deciding not to pursue Coentrao, Liverpool is set to swoop for a player who was looking forward to playing in the Barclays Premier League.

Liverpool Given Green Light To Make Move For Spanish Star

Liverpool have been given the green light to make a £17m offer for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo.

Negredo, 25, has been attracting interest from a number of top clubs following his impressive displays in La Liga.

Liverpool are keen to bolster their forward line and give some much needed support to Fernando Torres who looks well below his best this season.

Kenny Dalglish has just taken charge of first-team affairs but the club has been working hard to bring new faces into the squad.

Reports in Spain suggest that Sevilla would not block a sizeable bid for their star forward and would consider a £17m offer.

Negredo is refusing to be affected by all the speculation surrounding his long-term future but is aware of the interest from Liverpool.

Negredo said: "I read something, but my representative has said there is nothing happening at the moment. I am comfortable with the situation and will just focus on playing for Sevilla."

Glen Johnson Decides Against Liverpool Move After Hodgson Exit

The right-back is rumoured to have fallen out with the former Reds boss earlier in the season and had been linked with a January move to Spain but will take his chance under Kenny Dalglish.

The Anfield legend was installed as the new Liverpool manager until the end of the season at the weekend.

In his first game in charge on Sunday, Liverpool lost to Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup, thanks to a controversial first minute penalty by Ryan Giggs.

Johnson also made the headlines during the weekend after launching an astonishing Twitter attack against former Arsenal player Paul Merson.

After Merson criticized his attitude during this season on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, the Liverpool defender took to Twitter to respond to the criticism.

‘Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times,’ Johnson posted.

’The only reason he's on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!’

The post though was later deleted by the Liverpool defender.

Ryan Babel Officially Charged By FA

Following Liverpool’s loss to arch rivals Manchester United, Ryan Babel proceeded join the bandwagon and plunge into the debate via Twitter. Babel is fairly famous for using Twitter as I am sure most Liverpool FC fans are aware, but was he out of order?

Of course, Babel isn’t the only player who uses Twitter, many of the QPR players are blasting El Hadj Diouf over the popular site for his unkind words towards Jamie Mackie who suffered a double fracture to his leg for things that he said. Perhaps Diouf will face similar consequences but they have to be in the same category of offense don’t they? Although Diouf’s may be seen as slightly more sickening.

The young Dutchman Ryan Babel blasted the English games best referee Howard Webb saying “And they call him one of the best referees? That’s a joke. SMH.” Babel isn’t the only football related person to be commenting on Howard Webb’s performance, Kenny Dalglish’s son Paul also said “Howard Webb MBE. Manc of the Busby Era. I am not normally bitter, as you know, but it is different rules against them”.

Damien Comolli Says 'Cycle Of Negativity' Led To Roy Hodgson Departure

Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli has explained that the club dismissed Roy Hodgson from his position as manager due to a "cycle of negativity" sweeping through the team.

Hodgson was sacked on Saturday morning after just six months in charge at Anfield, a spell which had seen Liverpool win only 7 of 20 Premier League matches and has left the five-time European Champions languishing in 12th place and just four points from the relegation spots.

Asked what went wrong under Hodgson, Comolli explained at a press conference to unveil the returning Kenny Dalglish: "There was a cycle of negativity and it was difficult to get it back. Of course it is a shame it didn’t work out, it is difficult to explain."

Supporters were particularly vocal in their condemnation of Hodgson and his methods during his time at Anfield, but the club's commercial director, Ian Ayre, said that the decision to sack Hodgson wasn't based on the fans' distain for the former Fulham boss.

"Our decision was not based on the fans’ reaction," he said.

"Things weren’t gelling – the level and number of defeats were what drove the decision.”

Ayre was also keen to point out that the settlement package agreed with the deposed Hodgson – reported to be in the region of £7.5 million – will not impact upon the money available to new boss Dalglish to improve the squad during the January transfer window.

"We reached a mutual decision with Roy," Ayre explained. "His departure won’t affect the club’s transfer budget."

"I don’t know if we will bring players in," Comolli said. "We have been working but January is a difficult market."

And when pressed on the club's future and on the qualities that it was looking for in a long-term managerial appointment, Comolli said: "Competence, to be able to fit in to the club philosophy and playing philosophy."

That may mean that Dalglish, tied to the managerial role until the end of the season, could be considered on a permanent basis.