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Rodgers prepared for talks with Reds

LIVERPOOL are closing in on Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers as they seek to finalise the appointment of Kenny Dalglish's successor.

A second formal approach for the Northern Irishman is anticipated before the weekend.

The momentum has swung rapidly towards Rodgers in recent days as Fenway Sports Group continues its exhaustive recruitment process.

Rodgers held talks with his Liberty Stadium chairman Huw Jenkins yesterday, fully aware the interest from Anfield in his services had grown.

Although Swansea played down suggestions their manager's future was on the agenda, it is clear a decision will have to be taken on whether to allow Rodgers to meet FSG.

Swansea recognise Liverpool have never given up hope of discussing their managerial vacancy with Rodgers, and although he had initially rejected the interest from Merseyside, the circumstances have significantly changed since the first approach.

Rodgers maintained from the outset it was only the early stages of the recruitment process he had withdrawn from, leaving the door ajar for negotiations at a later date if he felt he was a genuine contender.

Now he is perceived as the front-runner rather than one of a dozen names on a long list.

Another significant factor is Liverpool's cooling interest in Dutchman Louis van Gaal, whose chances of an Anfield role have receded significantly as FSG have continued their structural review. It was swiftly established Roberto Martínez and Rodgers would refuse to work under Van Gaal if he was sporting director.

The Dutchman's dictatorial reputation and determination to impose his own imprint on how the club is run would make it impossible for a young manager to assert his influence.

Although Wigan's Martínez has been the most high-profile interviewee so far, Liverpool have never swayed from their determination to meet numerous candidates.

Martínez was never offered the job, despite his chairman Dave Whelan's willingness to push his claims. Whelan's suggestion Martínez was set to meet FSG again yesterday proved incorrect.

A delegation from FSG did arrive in Liverpool, partially to establish negotiations with Swansea, but also because chairman Tom Werner and principal owner John Henry have an appointment at the Premier League's annual meeting tomorrow.

Liverpool hope to be in a position to confirm their new manager at the end of the week, but while there has been a sense of hysteria from those demanding a swift appointment since Dalglish's dismissal, FSG are following the procedure they set out on day one.

There is a certain sense of bemusement within Anfield at the criticism of the American owners for the manner they have gone about replacing Dalglish.

The previous owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, were lambasted when they once coveted a rival manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, while Rafael Benítez was still in the job.

Liverpool's hierarchy feel they have handled the situation in a dignified manner, and yet they have been criticised for failing to have a manager sounded out prior to dismissing Dalglish, conduct which would have caused uproar among the Kop icon's fans.

Liverpool's owners will make no apology for taking time to recruit the right man and it now looks increasingly likely that will be Rodgers.