Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is set to discover on Friday how much cash he has to splash in the transfer window as owner John W Henry flies in for Sunday's Merseyside derby.
Dalglish happy to be back
Henry will meet Dalglish for the first time in his official capacity as manager for a second spell after taking over from Roy Hodgson less than a week ago. Dalglish said the meeting would help establish whether there is room to strengthen a squad poised delivately in the congested Premier League mid-table.
Reports in the UK press suggest the Liverpool manager could be handed up to £15 million to spend, with Ajax striker Luis Suarez top of the wanted list.
Dalglish said: "Whether there's going to be any players coming in or moving around I don't know. I can always make a request; it might not always be accepted. I've never breached the subject of money being available with the owners. If there is the possibility of bringing somebody in we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. At the moment I've not asked for anybody and I've not enquired for finances."
Director of football strategy Damien Comolli will be party to some discussions as he and the 59-year-old Scot try to plot a path forward after a disappointing six months. Comoli's role is seen by some as a potential annoyance to a manager but Dalglish insisted he is grateful for the help he will provide. Comolli should be a key component as he has been in the post since November working on transfer policy and a long-term blueprint.
"Forget transfers and talk about the position Damien has,'' said Dalglish. "There is so much demand on a manager's time that it is important to have someone actively organising people, going to see either teams for reports on matches or individual players. Having conversations daily with people in the game and seeing what the movement of players are and then reporting back to the manager so the two of them can make a decision. I think it is a fantastic help and I don't have a problem with Damien.''
A second successive defeat, at Blackpool in midweek, has made Dalglish's first home game on Sunday against Liverpool's near-neighbours Everton even more significant. There were few positives to take from the performance at Bloomfield Road but what is encouraging is the effect the manager appears to have already had on Fernando Torres.
The striker has struggled for goals this season but the way in which he took his third-minute strike against the Seasiders was like the Torres of old, racing onto Martin Kelly's through-ball to emphatically fire home from a tight angle. In that moment the Spain international arguably showed more confidence and intent than he has at any other time this campaign. That, and a second successive good display from Kelly and a decent performance from Christian Poulsen on his first league appearance for nearly two months, gave something for Dalglish to focus on.
"It was a great goal from Fernando and he was a real positive,'' said Dalglish. "As was Kelly at right-back and Daniel Agger at centre-back, who felt unwell before the game, but went right through it. And Christian Poulsen did well in the middle, passing and moving.''
Dalglish now has to get more of his players performing closer to their best as they host Everton on Sunday. The former Reds player knows the significance of the game, having quit as manager the first time around nearly 20 years ago following a 4-4 draw in the FA Cup at Goodison Park after the emotional strain of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster finally took its toll.
"The derby is always a great occasion,'' said Dalglish. "Every city which has a derby thinks they have the best one of the lot but ours takes some beating.''
Forward Ryan Babel has admitted a charge of improper conduct in relation to him posting remarks about, and a picture of, referee Howard Webb on Twitter. The Holland international has requested a personal hearing which will take place next Monday.