SPORT
17/05/2012 18:17 BST

Liverpool Granted Permission To Speak To Roberto Martinez By Wigan Athletic

Liverpool have been granted permission by Wigan Athletic to speak with Roberto Martínez over the vacant managerial position at the club.

The Latics chairman, Dave Whelan, confirmed the Spaniard is due to talk to the Reds' owners Fenway Sports Group after they sacked Kenny Dalglish on Wednesday.

Whelan told Sky Sports News: "When Liverpool sacked Kenny I have to say I thought Liverpool would be knocking on the door, and sure enough they are.

"I did promise Roberto when a big club comes he will have permission to talk to them and they don't come any bigger than Liverpool. I gave permission and he will be talking to them soon."

Last year Martinez rejected the Aston Villa job to ink a three-year contract at the DW Stadium, and Whelan said at the time he expected the 38-year-old to join one of Europe's "top clubs" in the future.

However, the 75-year-old retains some hope his manager will remain at Wigan, even going as far as to describe Liverpool as a club "without a heart".

"For Wigan Athletic I would love to keep him, for Roberto he has the opportunity to go and manage a massive club in Liverpool. The choice I think will be entirely Roberto's," he added.

"Liverpool have undergone some massive changes over the last two years. I think they still have to settle down as a club and the management have to settle certain things.

"We played there about two months ago, there's no heart at the club. It's a bit disturbing when you think a club like Liverpool is functioning without a heart. I mentioned that to Roberto and I think there's no heart beating at Liverpool. I think the sooner they get a heart the better.

"I don't know Roberto's feelings about Liverpool, I think he's going there with an open mind. I would love to keep Roberto, he's a great manager."

Dalglish was sacked after a disappointing season in which Liverpool finished eighth in the Premier League, losing 14 games and winning just six at home.

The Scot did bring the club its first piece of silverware in six years with a League Cup win, yet they were beaten 2-1 in the FA Cup final by Chelsea.

Ex-Chelsea coach André Villas-Boas and the former Reds boss Rafael Benítez are two other names who have been mentioned with succeeding Dalglish.

Martinez has been in charge of Wigan for three seasons since he succeeded Steve Bruce at the club in 2009.