• Premier League

Ayre denies Liverpool have shortlisted Martinez

ESPN staff
May 16, 2012

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has insisted the club are yet to draw up a shortlist of potential successors to Kenny Dalglish as the club's manager.

Dalglish was dismissed from his position on Wednesday, after a season that saw victory in the Carling Cup tempered by a disappointing eighth place finish in the Premier League.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has immediately been installed as the hot favourite for the Anfield post, but Ayre denied the Spaniard was already on the club's shortlist.

"Not at the moment, no," Ayre told Sky Sports, when asked if the club had already identified any candidates for the job. "We come back tomorrow and look for a new appointment, that's when we start on that."

Ayre revealed that league form was the primary reason why Reds owner John W Henry decided to remove Dalglish from his position, one the Scot took up - originally on a temporary basis - after Roy Hodgson was fired in the early weeks of 2011.

"Results, perhaps, were not where we wanted them to be and that drives the decision," Ayre noted. "We feel it's the right decision and one we have to move forward with, but there's lots of praise and admiration for him.

"We have a big long-term plan for this football club, we've always talked about progress and moving forward. We've made a lot of progress off the pitch, creating a lot of foundations to build the business on and improve revenues, and the next important thing to move forward is football."

Ayre was evasive when asked whether Dalglish could be set for a quick return to Anfield in an ambassadorial or boardroom role, saying "that's a discussion for the future", but was quick to reject reports that he is set to be the next high-profile figure to lose his job at the club.

"Absolutely not," he said. "No question from my point of view [that I will leave], and certainly no indication of that from upstairs."

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