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FA Cup semifinal gives Dalglish opportunity to repay owners' faith

updated 2:31 PM EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish manager has received the full backing of owners Tom Werner and John W Henry
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish manager has received the full backing of owners Tom Werner and John W Henry
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish gets vote of confidence ahead of FA Cup semifinal
  • US owners Fenway Sports give "full support" to Dalglish, while director Damien Comolli exits
  • Moneyball theory fails after club forks out nearly $200 million on players
  • Chairman Tim Werner sticks with moneyball plan which delivered Red Sox success

(CNN) -- Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will be under pressure to deliver an FA Cup semifinal win Saturday after receiving the "full support" of his bosses.

U.S owners Fenway Sports have whole-heartedly backed Dalglish, while at the same time showing director Damien Comolli the door.

Club chairman Tom Werner insisted Dalglish, who has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after a woeful run in the league, was the man for the job.

"We've got great confidence in Kenny," he told Liverpoolfc.tv.

"We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and he enjoys our full support."

The comments come as director of football Comolli left the club by "mutual consent", heading back to his native France for family reasons.

Peter Brukner, head of sports science and medicine, also exited the club, which has lost five of its last six matches.

We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and Kenny enjoys our full support
Tim Werner, Liverpool club chairman

Dalglish's job appears to be safe in the senior management shake-up, though he'll be under increased pressure to justify the board's confidence in the semifinal at Wembley.

Liverpool will go head-to-head with local rivals Everton as they bid to win a second trophy this season after claiming the League Cup in February.

But following the penalty shoot-out win in the final over second-flight Cardiff, Liverpool's league form has slipped alarmingly and they have missed out on qualification for next season's Champions League.

Comolli, who was appointed by club co-owners John W Henry and Werner following their takeover of the club in September 2010, leaves the club after failing to deliver their controversial vision for transfers.

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

The theory, made popular in the 2011 Brad Pitt movie of the same name, involves signing cheap players slipping under the radar at other clubs, transforming them into a success, and giving them a much higher re-sale value.

However the plan appears to have failed miserably at Liverpool, the owners forking out the best part of £125million ($198 million).

Comolli oversaw the major spending spree which included the signings of Andy Carroll for £35million ($55.5m) and Luis Suarez for £22.7million ($36m), while the Reds also paid a combined £36million ($57m) for Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing and Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson.

"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.

"Frankly, we make these decisions with a great deal of care because it's our track record in Boston to give people authority and we've had great success with our manager, who was there for eight years, and our general manager, so we prefer stability.

"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."

Tottenham Hotspur play London rivals Chelsea in the other FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Sunday.

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