No big changes needed – Clarke
Liverpool coach Steve Clarke believes suggestions the squad
needs a major overhaul in the summer are wide of the mark.
Some reports have claimed the post-season clear-out could
stretch into double figures, with a similar number coming in, but
Clarke does not reckon it will require as much surgery as that.
Clarke has been a key figure in the team’s turnaround of their
performances since arriving in January with manager Kenny
His influence on the training ground has not gone unnoticed and
the improvement on the field has indicated that things are not as
bad as was implied in Roy Hodgson’s disappointing six-month
“We have a decent squad here, a lot of good players who have
shown that for us,” said the Scot.
“If we can find two or three players that can add to the squad
then that is what we should do.
“If we can’t find the right players to improve us at the right
time then I think we have enough to keep us moving forward.
“We’ve also got the young players coming through – that has been
a big plus for everyone at the club this season.
“If we can continue with the nucleus of the established players
we have and keep adding one or two kids and then maybe improve one
or two in the summer.”
Only defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos is out of contract this summer
but Dalglish has bigger decisions to make in terms of a number of
high-earning fringe first-team players and several currently out on
Owners Fenway Sports Group appear set to back the manager in the
transfer market, having given him a three-year contract last week,
but the more money the Reds boss can generate from sales the
greater his options will be.
Dalglish’s priorities are at least one winger, a left-back and a
centre-back but arrivals for other positions are still a
Clarke is confident Liverpool will be able to mount a challenge
for Champions League qualification next season after witnessing the
progress at Anfield in the last five months.
“In the short time we have been here I think we have shown a
good working relationship,” Clarke said of the job he Dalglish and
assistant manager Sammy Lee have done in lifting the club from 12th
“The club feels it is on an upward curve at the moment and that
is good for everyone.
“If we can build on what we can achieve in the short spell
things will be brighter in the future.
“I would have been happy (to be in Europa League contention) but
when I came here I saw how achievable it was to get into the top
“In my head I had a points total I thought was achievable and
although we haven’t got that yet it is still possible and if we get
to that it will be a pleasing job we will have done in the second
half of the season.”
Clarke added on LFCTV: “But I don’t think it is right to set too
many big targets or goals.
“We are guaranteed a top-six finish and if results go our way we
can get fifth. If not, top six is good from where we were in
“Next year we have to look at it but you have to consider the
strength of the league. There are a lot of good teams up there.
“Breaking into the top four will always be difficult but if
people want to set that as an objective I’m happy to take that on