Werner: Kenny’s job is safe

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner insists manager Kenny Dalglish enjoys 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 of league form which has seen them lose five of the last six matches.

Director of football Damien Comolli left the club yesterday but Werner said Dalglish’s position was safe.

“We’ve got great confidence in Kenny,” he said.

“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 criticised 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 yesterday — 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.

“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.”

Comolli’s departure is significant in that FSG took the positive decision to make a change after seemingly losing faith in the Frenchman’s ability to deliver their vision.

The Americans were keen to implement the moneyball theory to transfers which had been so successful at their other high-profile acquisition, the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

That essentially meant finding players who were potentially under-achieving or slipping under the radar at other clubs, but who could be signed relatively cheaply, made into a success and therefore have a much higher re-sale value.

However, in the three transfer windows Dalglish has overseen, the owners have forked out the best part of £125million, with a net spend of about £70million — which seemed totally at odds with moneyball principles.

The likes of Andy Carroll (£35m), Stewart Downing (£20m) and Jordan Henderson (£16m) have failed to live up to expectations and the best deals have been for Craig Bellamy, who came in on a free but has no re-sale value because of his age, Jose Enrique (£6m) and Luis Suarez (£22.8m).

“We’ve had a strategy that we have agreed on. There was some disconnect on the implementation of that,” said Werner, who confirmed they had made the decision to remove Comolli. “That strategy is a strong one and it will continue.

“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.”

Principal owner John Henry’s target at the start of the season was to make it back into the top four but their recent run of results scuppered those chances.

“We’ve been dissatisfied, as most supporters have been, with the results so far,” said Werner, of Liverpool’s eighth-place league position.

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

Dalglish, meanwhile, has insisted he has been the man calling the shots over transfers after Comolli’s departure.

Comolli has been criticised for his role in Liverpool’s transfer policy but the Reds boss stressed he had the final word on signings.

“Everyone who has come into the club since Damien has been here was of my choice,” said Dalglish.

“Once I made the choice who I wanted, Damien went away and did a fantastic job of bringing them in. He has been really helpful in every transfer target we’ve gone for. It is sad to see anyone leave the football club and he goes with my best wishes and hopefully it is not long before we meet again.’’

Dalglish, however, is confident Comolli’s exit will not distract his team ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final against Everton, a game where they will be without Alexander Doni after the club failed with their appeal against the red card issued to the goalkeeper in Tuesday’s victory at Blackburn.

“The preparation for the game will go ahead as planned,” he said.

“We will just concentrate on the game and go ahead with it, that is what we are here for.’’

Comolli thanked the club for his opportunity.

“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work at Liverpool and am happy to move on from the club and back to France for family reasons. I wish the club all the best.”

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