No big changes needed – Clarke

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.”