John W Henry and Tom Werner, Liverpool’s principal backer and chairman, are expected to attend the club’s final home game of the season, increasing the chances that Kenny Dalglish’s return as permanent manager could now be confirmed early enough for his side to kick off at Anfield against Tottenham on Sunday knowing he will be in charge next year.
The Americans, the principal owners of the Fenway Sports Group consortium which has owned Liverpool since October, are due to fly in to the city on Friday. As well as examining the state of their investment at the end of their first season in charge, they are thought likely to take the chance to announce that the Scot will take charge on a full-time basis.
Talks between the two parties have been progressing for almost six weeks and the public appointment of the Scot - initially installed as a caretaker in January - has been described as imminent by sources acquainted with the negotiations for almost a month.
Dalglish has made plain his delight at having the chance to return to a post he vacated in 1991, while FSG has been impressed by the stunning turnaround in form overseen by the Scot in his four months in charge.
Any minor hitches over the length of his deal, the exact nature of his relationship with director of football Damien Comolli and provisions for a position at the end of his contract are thought to have been overcome.
Dalglish’s success - recording 10 wins, three draws and just three defeats in his five months since replacing Roy Hodgson at Anfield - has served to make FSG’s first managerial appointment a formality, despite an initial intention to appoint a younger manager around whom they could build the club for the next decade.
At 60, Dalglish hardly fits that description. Equally, he is less accustomed to working in FSG’s preferred management structure - alongside Comolli - than the Americans would, perhaps, have wished, but Henry for one has been fulsome in his praise of the former Blackburn and Newcastle manager.
Speaking to Fox Soccer Channel earlier this season, Henry said: “In retrospect you could not have made a better choice [for caretaker than Dalglish]. I know he, for a long time now, has wanted to be in this position, so it’s a great thing for the club, for Kenny and for us."