Dalglish gets no assurances on his long-term future
Published 21:32 13/04/12 By David Maddock
Kenny Dalglish was offered NO assurances over his long-term future in crisis talks with Liverpool's owners this week.
And that means the Reds' manager goes into Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Everton knowing defeat would leave him more vulnerable to the same fate as axed director of football Damien Comolli.
Chairman Tom Werner explained this week that Comolli's departure did not immediately impact on the manager's position, and reiterated his confidence in Dalglish's ability to turn around the results which he agreed ultimately hastened the Frenchman's dismissal.
Crucially however, in discussions about the future when he and principal owner John Henry met with the Reds boss earlier in the week, the Americans made clear their desire to see a swift improvement in the club's fortunes.
The pair believe they have invested sufficient money to make Liverpool a competitive top-four club again, with massive spending on wages and a £120million transfer outlay over the past year.
Dalglish will be charged with delivering that 'minimum requirement', and is under no illusions about the nature of the task and exactly what the consequences of failure will be, which Werner explained when he said:
"I would say we certainly have the resources to compete with anybody in football.
"We feel we are a club that needs to be perceived as the strongest club in football and we want to get there."
With Comolli out of the picture, Dalglish will now take sole responsibility for the team's performance.
Winning the FA Cup would ensure he is given a chance to select the players he feels he needs in the summer transfer market to mould a winning team.
By the same token, defeat by a club with a fraction of the financial muscle of Liverpool would be viewed dimly by owners, who are hugely disappointed with the dismal failure to get near to the Premier League top four.
Sources close to the Americans suggest they will continue to back Dalglish in the short term but that his longer term future will be decided without sentiment purely on results... and that makes today's game an important opening gambit.
The owners know Dalglish retains the faith of the supporters and his players, which is why he avoided the fate of Comolli this week, despite the "dissatisfaction with results" Werner spoke of.
The odds are still on the manager being in place at the start of the next season, but Dalglish is aware the buck now stops firmly with him and that he must deliver on the pitch... starting this weekend.
The manager though, was offered support on the eve of the semi-final showdown by a player he could well relegate to the substitutes' bench at Wembley.
Veteran Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, whose place in the side is under threat because of the return of Daniel Agger from a rib injury, insisted Dalglish deserves backing for the job he has done so far at Anfield.
"We have to remember where we were when he came in: we hadn't won a trophy for six years, and we were in disarray," he said.
"Now we have won a trophy [the Carling Cup in February], we are in a semi-final. Okay, we're not in the top four, where we would all like to be, but it is not easy getting in the top four now.
"Without results, criticism is the price on the ticket and we all accept that, to a certain extent, but I think some of the criticism towards the manager has crossed the line.
"For me, he is the most iconic figure in British football.
"You have great players and great managers and he is in both camps. Stein, Busby, Ferguson, Paisley, Shankly, Clough, Dalglish; all these great managers and he is in there.
"And he is in with all the great players as well. None of those people you mention are in both camps.
"I'm not saying that should absolve him of any criticism, but some of it has crossed the line."