Friday, April 13, 2012

Dalglish Assured Over Position

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has made assurances over the future of manager Kenny Dalglish, insisting he has the 'full support' of owners Fenway Sports Group.

The position of the Reds boss has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a woeful run in the league in which they lost five of six matches, ending their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

Director of football Damien Comolli left the club earlier on Thursday but Werner insists Dalglish's position is safe.

"We've got great confidence in Kenny," he told

"We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and he enjoys our full support."

Werner also gave his backing to managing director Ian Ayre. The club have been criticized this season for an apparent lack of leadership after their poor handling of the Luis Suarez-Patrice Evra race row.

After the departure of Comolli - along with head of sports medicine and sports science Peter Brukner, who also left the club on Thursday - Werner was asked whether he envisaged any other changes at senior management level.

"We do not. We believe the senior management is very strong, Ian Ayre is an outstanding managing director," said the American.

"His charge is to raise revenue so that we can put the resources into strengthening our football club.

"We've got great confidence in the other people in football operations, and so the answer is there will be no future changes of significance."

Carragher Expects Close Encounter

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes this weekend's FA Cup semi-final with Everton is evenly balanced.

Everton go into the game as the team in form having won four of their last five games, while Liverpool have lost three of their last five outings.

David Moyes' side arguably goes into the Wembley showdown as favourites, but Carragher insists there are no favourites when the two local rivals lock horns.

"Everton are doing well at the moment, we had a great win at Blackburn on the back of not such great form, but in that run of bad form we had a great win over Everton," Carragher told Sky Sports News.

"It is evenly balanced and whoever is the favourite doesn't really matter."

The game will be a particularly poignant affair on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Players from both teams involved will also wear black armbands in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who died on April 15 1989 at the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest and a minute's silence will be held at Wembley.

Carragher is hoping that Liverpool can give their fans a boost ahead of Sunday's memorial with victory over Everton.

"It is always a special weekend this time of year," added Carragher. "It is a difficult weekend for the club, for the families of the 96 and friends with the memorial on Sunday and hopefully we give them a little smile on their face for Sunday with the result on Saturday hopefully."

Doni Appeal Rejected

Liverpool goalkeeper Alexander Doni's appeal for wrongful dismissal has been rejected by the Football Association.

Doni was handed a red card during Liverpool's 3-2 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park on Tuesday night.

The Brazilian was sent off for bringing down Junior Hoilett as he raced through on goal midway through the first half with the Reds leading 2-0.

Referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty to Rovers for the infringement only for substitute goalkeeper Brad Jones to save Yakubu's spot-kick.

With No.1 keeper Pepe Reina already serving a suspension, Doni's dismissal left Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish with a real goalkeeping problem on his hands ahead of this weekend's FA Cup semi-final with Everton.

Liverpool had hoped to have the red card overturned so that Doni could be available to face Everton, but a regulatory commission rejected the appeal and the former Roma man will now serve a one-game ban.

It means Jones will now start in goal at Wembley with Peter Gulacsi recalled from his loan spell at Hull City to provide cover.

Liverpool Target Mexican Starlet Hector Herrera

Liverpool has targeted a move for Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera in the summer, as they continue to move forward with their plans to revamp and freshen up their ageing squad.

The 21-year-old winger, who played a key part in his country's qualification for the Olympics this summer, is currently playing for Mexican side Pachuca, and the club's executive director Andres Fassi has confirmed the Merseysiders' interest in the player.

"At the moment, we know that Liverpool is interested. But that's all it is at this point, an interest," Fassi told ESPN.

Fassi maintains that any potential move made will have to be on a permanent basis, though, before stating his belief that Herrera would take the Premier League by storm.

He continued: "If [Herrera leaves], it will be thanks to a sale. We will not loan him out or send him for a trial."

"[Herrera] can surely be one of the Premier League's best players in two or three seasons. He's that good."

Liverpool Enquire About Barcelona Striker

Despite being heavily criticized about their transfer policy in recent weeks it seems Liverpool are hoping to have more success this summer after they were linked with Barcelona striker David Villa.

On the day that Liverpool announced they had sacked Director of Football Damien Comolli, the club have been linked with the Barcelona and Spain star who has missed much of the current season through injury.

Villa broke his leg earlier in the season and is hoping to be able to return to action in time for Euro 2012 as he looks to add yet another honour to his already sizeable resume.

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser has reported that both Liverpool and title chasing Juventus have spoken to Barcelona about the availability of the striker to see if they would consider selling at the end of the season.

The report also suggested that Barcelona would demand as much as £30million for the 30-year-old who last season was instrumental in helping the club win the league title and the Champions League.

Villa scored 18 league goals last season and was also a major factor in Spain winning the European Championships in 2008, where he was the top scorer with four goals, and the World Cup in 2010.

Liverpool have struggled in front of goal this season and would certainly like to add such a prolific scorer to their squad, however, with no Champions League football it may be difficult to persuade Villa to leave Barcelona.

Cruyff Linked With Reds Role

Dutch icon Johan Cruyff is reported to be on Liverpool's wanted list to replace Damien Comolli as director of football at Anfield.

Comolli left Liverpool on Thursday in something of a surprise move by the club's American owners with his role in the Reds' recent transfer dealings coming in for criticism after a number of big signings failed to hit the heights.

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner confirmed that they decided to replace Comolli as they felt the Frenchman was "probably not the right person" for the job to lead the club's strategy for the future.

The Reds are understood to be keen to maintain the structure of director of football alongside the manager and they are drawing up a shortlist to succeed Comolli.

Widespread reports claim Cruyff, fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal and former Barcelona director of football Txiki Begiristain are the early contenders for the role.

Cruyff has previously enjoyed supervisory roles at former club Ajax and Mexican side Chivas and he is also credited with playing a huge part in helping Barcelona develop into the dominant force they are with his philosophy on the style of football.

Werner Explains Comolli Exit

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has revealed that exiting director of football Damien Comolli was "probably not the right person" for the job.

Comolli left the club on Thursday after overseeing the spending of nearly £125million in just three transfer windows.

The strategy was perceived to be part of the 'moneyball' theory favoured by the club's American owners and had been so successful at their other high-profile acquisition, the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

But the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have failed to ignite Liverpool's season and the club lies well adrift of the Champions League places.

And while Werner feels the strategy remains the right one, he claims Comolli was not the right man to implement it.

"We've had a strategy that we have agreed on. There was some disconnect on the implementation of that," Werner told

"That strategy is a strong one and it will continue.

"We need to build a strong system under the first team. We're hard at work identifying transfer targets and we will be better next year.

"Frankly, we make these decisions with a great deal of care because it's our track record in Boston to give people authority and we've had great success with our manager, who was there for eight years, and our general manager, so we prefer stability.

"But when it's time to act, we need to act. We're coming close to the end of the season and the transfer window for the summer, and we felt it was important to make this change expeditiously.

"We feel there is enough talent on the pitch to win and I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football.

"But we're also talking about the future - we have a strategy we need implemented and we felt Damien was probably not the right person to implement that strategy."

But Comolli's exit does not mean that the role of director of football has been abandoned.

"We're still confident the structure we've discussed is the right structure," added Werner.

"That doesn't mean we won't look at tweaking it, but we feel a collective group of people making football decisions is healthy.

"The debate is healthy. Part of the reason we made this decision now is because we want to start the process of finding an excellent replacement.

"We've been dissatisfied, as most supporters have been, with the results so far.

"We feel we are a club that needs to be perceived as the strongest club in football and we want to get there."

Peter Brukner To Leave Liverpool FC

Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool FC confirmed today that Head of Sports Medicine and Sports Science, Dr. Peter Brukner will leave the Club by the end of the season.

Managing Director Ian Ayre said: "We are grateful to Peter who has been the catalyst for the transformation of our Sports Medicine and Sports Science capability at the Club since he joined two years ago. He has been instrumental in re-defining our requirements and bringing first class people into the team, providing us with a great platform to move forward. We wish him all the best for the future."

First team Manager Kenny Dalglish added: "The framework Peter has established has allowed us to see some very real results in relation to our overall levels of fitness and a reduction in injury levels. Peter acted as the key advisor to the club in this regard, and we wish him well in the future."

Peter Brukner commented: "It has been an honour to work at Liverpool Football Club. I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past two years, as can be seen by the reduced injury rate and improved fitness levels. With a world class staff now in place, I feel I have accomplished what I was asked to do by LFC in 2010 and the Club is in good hands. I wish the Club every success in the future."