Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have begun their search for a new boss after sacking Kenny Dalglish on Wednesday following Liverpool’s worst league campaign for 18 years.
Although Liverpool won a trophy for the first time in six years, thanks to a League Cup final triumph against Cardiff, and also reached the FA Cup final, where they were beaten by Chelsea, it was Dalglish’s failure to mount a serious bid for Champions League qualification that ended his 16-month reign.
Dalglish’s side finished eighth, 17 points behind fourth placed Tottenham, and Ayre admits that, while the new man will be given time to make an impact, it is important to see improvements in both performances and results in the league.
“The important thing will be to see progress and that means different things,” Ayre said.
“Everyone will want to see that we believe we are going in the right direction and are moving up the table, achieving more, playing the right sort of football.
“As long as you believe week-to-week, month-to-month, season-to-season you are building on something then people will be given time.
“There is a difference between that and feeling you are not moving forward.
“The manager coming in has an interesting time because he has a new structure, a good foundation, a good squad of players and an opportunity to build on that with the support of owners, which is quite important.
“This ownership group has consistently supported, invested and stood behind the team.”
Liverpool’s principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner appear to be casting their net far and wide as they search for a replacement for Dalglish.
The Reds have already received permission to speak to Wigan’s highly-rated Spanish boss Roberto Martinez, while reports in England suggest former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and ex-England chief Fabio Capello are also high on their wanted list.
Norwich’s Paul Lambert could be a more realistic targets and Ayre admits he started receiving calls from interested managers just hours after Dalglish’s departure was announced.
Ayre insists no one is being ruled out at this stage but he will not put a timescale on the recruitment process, although he admitted there were external pressures which meant there could not be too long a delay.
“Of course we will have a short-list very quickly. There are lots of names being bandied around and lots of people showing interest,” he added.
“We will define what we are looking for and you shouldn’t include or dismiss anyone on that basis.
“It will be as short or as long as it takes but it is impossible to say how long that will be.
“But we are going into a busy summer transfer window period and players will come back for pre-season so you want it in place to service that.”