Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group demands explanation from Kenny Dalglish

April 3rd, 20126:07 am @


FSG recognises the situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
There is no immediate threat to Dalglish’s position, but the imminent FA Cup
semi-final with Everton,
their league form and his response in the season review could decide whether
the Anfield icon retains the trust of his board.

It is not the fact Liverpool have failed to qualify for the top four that is
causing the greatest concern, but the perceived underperformance —
particularly given the investment in the side last summer.

Privately, there is acknowledgement in Boston that aiming for the top four in
Dalglish’s first season might have been too ambitious – there was a gulf
between Liverpool and the Champions League clubs.

Liverpool’s home defeat by Arsenal a week after winning the Carling Cup was
seen as the moment that top-four hopes vanished. But the disappointment was
countered by consolation in knowing that the team was at least pushing hard
to regain their top-four spot and were playing a better brand of football.

That optimism and tolerance has since evaporated owing to terrible results and
erratic performances. The manner of the defeat against Newcastle, when the
players appeared to give up the fight after going a goal behind, has been
noted as much as the result itself.

FSG considers explanations such as bad luck and tiredness to be invalid.

Dalglish was appointed on a wave of popularity in Jan 2011. The club then said
the decision to give him a three-year deal last May was a “no brainer” after
he had transformed the form of the team and the mood at the training ground.

However, it was telling when the club’s principal owner, John W Henry,
admitted that Dalglish was not FSG’s first choice. Combined with him having
to wait for a permanent deal revealed concerns about giving him the job full

This season seemed to be going to plan following the Carling Cup win, even
though there was ground to make up to the top four. Broadly speaking, there
was satisfaction because the team had improved on last year.

Recent results and performances have dented that faith, but the damage is
still considered reparable, especially with another trip to Wembley imminent.

FSG finds itself having to re-evaluate all aspects of the Merseyside branch of
their operation. Comolli has spoken about putting in place foundations,
creating a new scouting network and reviving the club’s academy, but such
changes will take time before they yield results. Until then, there is no
evidence that the acclaimed work behind the scenes is making any difference.

What can be judged is the impact of last summer’s signings and investment in
the team, which has so far led to a worse league position. That is the most
serious threat to Dalglish’s restoration plans.

For his part, Dalglish will want more investment in the squad to assist a
fresh assault on the top four next season and is promising his signings will
improve in their second year.

Unless he can reverse the terrible sequence of results, he will need to be at
his most persuasive to convince the club’s owner that his confidence is not
misplaced and he deserves more time.

Meanwhile, Liverpool do not intend to appeal Pepe Reina’s red card against
Newcastle, which means he will miss the FA Cup semi-final with Everton.

Andy Carroll is not expected to face any internal disciplinary action for
reacting angrily to his substitution against his former club.

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