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

Dalglish.

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

reign.

“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

loan.

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

possibility.

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

to sixth.

“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

six.

“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

January.

“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

board.”