John W Henry has given further validation of Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool reign by praising the "total team effort" that has transformed the club's season in under two months.
Liverpool's owners, the Fenway Sports Group, are due to announce a permanent replacement for Roy Hodgson at the end of the season but may revise that time frame in light of the impact made by Dalglish.
Liverpool have risen from five points off bottom place to sixth in the Premier League since the Scot took temporary charge and head to West Ham on Sunday on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run. That sequence yielded a place in the last 16 of the Europa League at the expense of Sparta Prague on Thursday night and has prompted another endorsement of Liverpool's management team from Henry. The club's principal owner, posting on his Facebook page, said: "Over the last seven matches, I believe, only one goal (and that may have been offside) has been conceded. Terrific effort on defense with increasing aggressiveness."
Dalglish has been consulted on Liverpool's long-term plans by the owners and was instrumental in the combined £57.8m deadline-day outlay on Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll. However, he insists there have been no discussions over his expected promotion from temporary to permanent Liverpool manager. His immediate concern is West Ham where Suárez, who is ineligible for the Europa League, will be recalled to a side that toiled in attack against the Czech champions. Liverpool will give late fitness tests to Steven Gerrard, Martin Kelly, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson before the game, with the captain still rated as doubtful having missed the last three matches with an adductor strain.
Kelly and Agger were both injured against Sparta and the match-winner Dirk Kuyt believes their contributions have been invaluable to the side's improved away form.
Under Hodgson Liverpool won one league game away from home in 10 attempts. At West Ham they will be seeking a third consecutive victory in four away league games under Dalglish. "The team is in a much better shape right now," said Kuyt. "The other thing is that we are not satisfied with the results we have been getting. We are hungry to keep progressing and we are working hard in training. It's good that we have had six [league] games unbeaten but we won't be satisfied until we have more.
"We have much more confidence. We have had a lot of clean sheets and defensively we are much stronger. That gives you confidence up front. We have got players to come back and on Sunday, Luis can play. We have got some strength."