The Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has left Anfield after talks with the club’s American owners.
Dalglish had traveled to the US to meet with the Liverpool owners, where he presented his end-of-season review, outlined his plans for next season and answered questions from John Henry and Tom Werner about the missed targets this season.
The owners were left deeply unsatisfied with Liverpool’s eighth-place finish in the Premier League despite the Carling Cup win and FA Cup final appearances. Liverpool’s shocking home form and the inability of new (and expensive) signings to fire under Dalglish also added to the pressure.
With Liverpool’s owners signing significant sponsorship deals on the back of their takeover and investment into the playing squad, the minimum expectation was for Liverpool to return to the Champions League (which, while only offering 10 to 20 percent increase in revenues, has great knock-on effects in terms of other sponsorships).
Liverpool have already dismissed part of the club hierarchy they felt was responsible for Liverpool’s on field and off field troubles. Damien Comolli (director of football and responsible for negotiating transfers and contracts), Liverpool’s head of sports science, Dr Peter Brukner, and head of communications, Ian Cotton, have all been dismissed in recent months.
Liverpool end the season without a manager and with no transfer strategy in place, which will surely hinder the club’s progress as rival teams have already begun the process to sign targeted players. In addition there has been no decision on whether to rebuild Anfield or proceed with a new stadium on Stanley Park since FSG replaced Tom Hicks and George Gillett as owners in October 2010 – although the move also hinged on on-field success that Dalglish and Liverpool have failed to deliver.
Who will manage Liverpool next? Will Rafael Benitez make a return? Will Liverpool move for one of Rodgers, Lambert or Martinez (or even Di Matteo)? Whatever FSG decide, they need to make a decision quickly – Liverpool may not finish behind Everton and Newcastle again next season but even catching up to the top five would have represented a significant challenge for a stable management team.
Now, it seems unlikely.