Liverpool name ex-Hammer Kevin Keen as first-team coach

Kevin Keen
Keen took charge of West Ham for their final game of last season

Liverpool have named former West Ham caretaker boss Kevin Keen as their new first-team coach on a three-year deal.

The Reds have acted quickly to bolster their coaching team after assistant manager Sammy Lee left last week.

Keen, 44, worked with Steve Clarke, who joined Liverpool as first-team coach in January, when the Scot was assistant to Gianfranco Zola at West Ham.

Liverpool have not yet said if Clarke will take Lee's role or remain as a first-team coach.

Keen will start his new job on Monday when Liverpool begin pre-season training.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish said Keen was "highly respected in the game and will be a great addition to our technical staff".

He was previously first-team coach at Upton Park and was the Hammers' caretaker manager on three occasions, the last of which came after Avram Grant's dismissal in May.

Keen subsequently declared his interest in taking the job on a permanent basis, but West Ham appointed Sam Allardyce as manager in June.

Keen also made more than 600 appearances in a playing career that included spells with West Ham, Wolves, Stoke City, Macclesfield and Wycombe.

Former West Ham defender Tony Gale, who played alongside Keen in the 1980s and then helped Dalglish win the Premier League title at Blackburn in 1995, insists that he will prove another shrewd appointment.

"You can't be there all the time as a manager or an assistant manager," Gale told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"Sometimes you have to rely on coaches to get your points over and set up sessions.

"The only way to gauge a coach is when you talk to players. What was he like? What are his ideas? How did he get them over? What was the tempo of the session like?

"Everything I've ever heard spoken about him has been good."

Keen has followed in Clarke's footsteps by moving to Merseyside to work alongside Dalglish. And Gale believes that the former Chelsea full-back played a major role in persuading Keen to head north too.

"Kevin worked with Steve Clarke and Gianfranco Zola at West Ham," added Gale. "There's no doubting he's a good coach. They were both impressed with what he did on the training pitch."