Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli leaves club

Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has left the club by mutual consent, the Reds have announced.

Comolli was appointed by club co-owners John W. Henry and Tom Werner following their takeover of the club in September 2010.

He oversaw a major spending spree which included the signings of Andy Carroll for £35m and Luis Suarez for £22.7m.

Comolli said: "I am happy to move on from the club and go back to France for family reasons."

He added: "I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work at Liverpool. I wish the club all the best for the future."

The announcement was made as Liverpool prepare for their FA Cup semi-final against Everton at Wembley on Saturday.

LIVERPOOL'S 2011 BUYS

Stewart Downing & Andy Carroll
  • Luis Suarez (£22.8m)
  • Andy Carroll (£35m)
  • Jordan Henderson (£16m)
  • Charlie Adam (£8m)
  • Stewart Downing (£20m)
  • Doni (Free)
  • Jose Enrique (£5m)
  • Sebastian Coates (£6m)
  • Craig Bellamy (Free)
  • Total: £112.8m

Liverpool's head of sports science and medicine Peter Brukner has also left the club. The Australian, who has also worked with with the swimming, athletics and hockey national teams in his home country, arrived at Anfield in 2010 after a spell with the Socceroos at World Cup in South Africa.

Liverpool chairman Werner said: "The club needs to move forward and we now have a huge game on Saturday. It is important that everyone joins us in supporting the manager and gets behind Kenny [Dalglish] and the team and focuses on a strong finish to the season."

Principal owner Henry added: "We are grateful for all of Damien's efforts on behalf of Liverpool and wish him all the best for the future."

Comolli, 39, was appointed by Liverpool in November 2010 to work alongside former manager Roy Hodgson.

At the time of his appointment the Frenchman said Hodgson, who was replaced by Kenny Dalglish in January 2011, had the final say on all transfers.

He said his role was identifying targets and meant he was responsible for overseeing Dalglish's £112.8m spending spree last year.

As well as Carroll and Suarez, the Reds also paid a combined £36m for Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing and Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson.

Last September Comolli said he was not looking for new players as he believed Liverpool's squad was "complete".

Following Comolli's departure, Dalglish said: "He has been really helpful in every transfer target that we've gone for.

"Everyone who has come into the club since Damien has been here was of my choice.

"Once I made the choice who I wanted, Damien went away and did a fantastic job of bringing them in.

"It's sad to see anyone leave the football club and he goes with my best wishes."

Comolli's appointment marked a return to the Premier League for the Frenchman, who spent three years as Tottenham's director of football before he was sacked by the north London club in October 2008.

Analysis

"From the outside, Comolli was involved in all those deals involving Henderson, Downing, Carroll and Adam. I'm not really sure whether he has paid the price for Liverpool's poor form. Only the football club and Kenny Dalglish can answer that. But people like Downing, Henderson and Adam have been, at best, average for Liverpool this year. So, yes, it may well be the case."

Initially he worked alongside Martin Jol, who complained that Comolli recruited players without his consent following his own dismissal in October 2007.

Comolli returned to former club St Etienne, where he was technical director in 2004, before switching to Merseyside as he looked to rebuild his reputation in England.

After a modest playing career in Monaco's youth team, Comolli gained his French coaching licence and worked at the club under then manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger employed Comolli as his European scout when he took over at Arsenal in 1996 and Comolli received credit for the signings of Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy.