Show me the money
Kenny Dalglish will ask Liverpool's principal owner John W Henry to provide the funds for as many as four January signings in a bid to rectify the club's desperately disappointing campaign when the pair meet in the next 48 hours.
Though the Scot has offered his current squad staunch support in public since he replaced Roy Hodgson at Anfield -- insisting after defeat at Blackpool that the players already at his disposal "look good enough" to move Liverpool away from the relegation zone -- he is convinced he must use the January transfer window to bolster his resources if he is to have any chance of salvaging the season.
Henry arrived on Merseyside yesterday to begin a 10-day visit and will doubtless seek talks with his caretaker manager as a matter of some urgency. The American can expect the 59-year-old to request that Fenway Sports Group, the club's parent company, make substantial funds available this month, despite the uncertainty over his position and Liverpool's repeated insistence that January is a "difficult" time to buy.
Dalglish -- together with the club's Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli -- is thought to harbour hopes that as many as four senior reinforcements can be drafted in, with a left-back, a wide player and a striker top of his agenda.
Luis Suarez, the Ajax striker, has emerged as the most likely target for the latter position, with the player's club agreeable to sell him providing they receive an offer of more than £18m. Sources in Holland have confirmed that a bid from Liverpool, who have watched the player intensely over the last few months, is anticipated.
Along with Suarez, Ajax left-back Urby Emanuelson is believed to be a target, while the Lille duo of Gervinho and Eden Hazard -- both capable of playing as a striker or in a wide position -- have both attracted Liverpool's attention. Moves for Yann M'Vila and Sylvain Marveaux, both of Rennes, are expected to wait until the summer.
Aston Villa's Ashley Young and Charles N'Zogbia, the Wigan winger, have also been discussed, though it is feared the former's asking price may prove prohibitive, while the DW Stadium club have received no offers for the latter. Hamburg's Eljero Elia and Anderlecht's Romelu Lukaku are also under consideration.
Dalglish's determination to sign a left-back to replace Paul Konchesky may also lead to a return to Anfield for Stephen Warnock, with the club believed to be considering a loan offer with a view to a permanent move in the summer.
What the Scot will seek to learn from Henry, though, is what level of funding is likely to be available, as he admitted yesterday.
"I can always make a request (for money), but it might not always be accepted," said Dalglish. "I have never broached the subject of money being available with the owners. If there is a possibility of someone coming in, then we will cross that bridge when we come to it. At the moment I have not asked for anyone and not enquired as to finances."
FSG have made it clear they will not set a hard and fast transfer budget, preferring instead to judge each case on its own merit, but with just 17 days of the window remaining, the club cannot afford to waste time.
It also remains uncertain to what extent Dalglish must trim his squad before he seeks additional recruits. FSG are unimpressed with Liverpool's already bloated wage bill and are unlikely to permit its exponential growth simply for short-term gain.
Saleable assets, though, are in short supply at Anfield. Konchesky cannot be sold without dispensation from FIFA as he has already played for two clubs this season, while the wages earned by the likes of Christian Poulsen, Ryan Babel and Milan Jovanovic will make them hard to move on.
Even more pressingly, Dalglish's side must overcome the small matter of a Merseyside derby. Though Everton would be forgiven for travelling to Anfield in confident mood, given their fierce rivals' travails, Tim Cahill admits "disharmony can bring you together."
The Australian, though, is one man Dalglish perhaps should not cite to Henry as he looks for funds. To Cahill, who is currently with his national side taking part in the Asian Cup, hard cash is not nearly as effective as heart, particularly in the heat of a derby.
"In games like this you have to make sure you give everything," said the midfielder, speaking to promote the Tim Cahill Everton Experience, a fundraising initiative to help the victims of the Queensland floods.
"It's down to your work ethic and spirit. I can't speak for what that's like anywhere else, but we all know what a great spirit we have at Everton. Over the last six or seven years, at the worst times, when it's not going your way, that spirit is what has brought us through." (© Daily Telegraph, London)