So, who should be the new Liverpool manager?
Some reds fans need to get real. Those who are calling for Jose are in cloud cuckoo land. The ‘special one’ is not going to any club which is not in the Champions League and with pots of money to spend.
So let’s consider some of the more realistic options.
What does the club need just now? It depends on what the owners are looking for. If they are prepared to give a new manager time to establish a sound foundation and move things forward, then they should be looking at some of the promising younger managers around.
Names mentioned here have been Paul Lambert (Norwich), Brendan Rodgers (Swansea) and Roberto Martinez (Wigan). With any of these three, the owners would have to recognise that things will take time.
So, is this the time for any of these managers to move to Liverpool? FSG may be looking for a quicker fix, and it would be high risk for any of the above to take such a challenge on and not succeed.
Liverpool F.C. needs a manager who has a track record. One who has demonstrated an ability to take charge of a club with potential that was not succeeding and turn it round quickly. One who knows the Premier League well and also Europe.
There is one obvious candidate, and he lives locally. I refer, of course, to Rafa Benitez.
His track record first-time around was superb. Two Champions’ League Finals, with one win, and FA Cup success and in his second to last season Liverpool finished with a points total that would have won the title any season before that one.
He managed to achieve much of this when the club was going through its darkest days of Hicks and Gillett and there were virtually no funds available for players.
He was sacked because he was not prepared to roll-over and be Tom Hicks’ poodle. It was not because he did particularly badly. The club’s performance in his worst season was significantly better than the one just gone.
A local Liverpool newspaper survey showed a majority of Liverpool fans would welcome him back. The problem is a vocal minority who are anti-Rafa.
They argue he is negative and stick to this view despite actual events. I even saw fans being critical after a run of results that saw Liverpool beat Real Madrid 4-0, Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford and Aston Villa 5-0 in consecutive games.
The same fans jumped on the ‘zonal marking’ bandwagon, listening to the pundits. Rafa was being ‘stubborn’ and gifting goals. In the three seasons from 2008-9, when Rafa was being criticized, Liverpool were third for fewest goals conceded, with 28, 27 and 35 goals respectively.
Yet today I read a pundit defending Dalglish’s defensive record. Why? Because the club conceded the third fewest goals in the Premier League; with 40 goals – more than in any of the seasons Benitez’s Liverpool came third.
A suggestion for FSG - give the job to Rafa for one season. If, at the end of that time things look like they are turning round, then discuss extending it. Most Liverpool fans would be delighted because most did not want Rafa to go.
Is bringing a previous manager back is a mistake? It was in the case of Dalglish because it was for the wrong reason - sentiment.
If Rafa was brought back it’s because he has proved he can deliver.
Do you want Rafa Benitez back at Liverpool?
image: © k1ngk0ng