Dalglish: No January deals at Anfield
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has attempted to put an end to speculation about striker Andy Carroll's future after stressing there will be no transfer movement in or out of the club in the current window.
The Reds' £35million record signing has become the focal point of much speculation after enduring a difficult first year at Anfield following his move from Newcastle. Having been linked with a highly unlikely cut-price return to the Magpies, reports emerged at the weekend which claimed Manchester City had turned down an offer to swap Carroll for their wantaway striker Carlos Tevez.
Dalglish, a staunch defender of the England international, refused to comment on speculation but categorically stated there would be no activity at Anfield before tomorrow evening. "There is no-one going in or out the club before the transfer window [closes]," said the Reds boss.
"I don't read the papers so I don't know [about speculation] but we have covered what we have to say. We don't need to justify what people are speculating about, do we? There is nothing happening here apart from a young goalkeeper from Wrexham, and that is the academy. Here at Melwood there will be no-one moving in or out."
The goalkeeper in question is Wales U-19 international Danny Ward, whose move to the Kirkby academy is likely to net the Welsh club an initial £100,000. And while 12 months ago the club surprised everyone with their huge outlay to sign Carroll on the final day of January business, the situation has changed since then.
Carroll and Luis Suarez represented a major re-investment of the money banked from the £50 million sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and the £6.75 million from Ryan Babel's move to Hoffenheim. In the summer Dalglish made further improvements by bringing in Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Craig Bellamy, Jose Enrique, Sebastian Coates and Doni.
He is still working on knitting together all his new recruits into a more consistently cohesive unit and even though there has been criticism over Carroll, in particular, the manager is standing by his players. He thinks the last week, in which they reached their first final for five years with an aggregate victory over Manchester City in the Carling Cup and then knocked arch-rivals Manchester United out of the FA Cup, could be a significant marker.
"It is a bit of a work in progress. With seven players coming in during the summer, plus the two in January, it is a big ask," added Dalglish. "If you look at the team who finished the matches in both games there were a lot of them (new signings) playing and I don't suppose many of them have played in semi-finals before.
"Although we drew against United in October, playing them in a cup tie at Anfield is a totally different thing. It was a great education for the new lads to see what the club stands for and what it means and I think everyone will benefit from that."
The issue for Dalglish now is to coax the same level of performance out of his players for tomorrow's trip to Wolves. Molineux last January was where he recorded his first win after returning for a second spell as manager but there are other factors to consider.
While they may have beaten the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City this season, Liverpool have lost league games to Stoke, Fulham and Bolton and drawn against Norwich, Swansea, Blackburn, Wigan and Sunderland.
After publicly criticising his players in their last Premier League outing at Bolton the 60-year-old does not think he needs to read the riot act before Wolves. "I don't think we need any warnings. We have always gone in and played against any opposition and treated them with respect," he said.
"Everyone knows the Premier League is difficult and the quality of the teams there. There are no lesser teams for us. The only lesser teams are the ones we have just played; the next ones are the best ones because they are the ones coming up.
"That should be our attitude and philosophy as it has not served the club too badly in previous reigns so I don't see any reasons why we should change that. We would love to do better against teams that are below us in the league but we have to earn the right to take the points from those teams. If we don't play well enough or adapt well enough we won't get as many points as we would like."