This summer, just as last summer was, is very crucial to Liverpool Football Club and its credentials as a force in English football. Owner of the club, John Henry, decided last week that it was time for change and dispensed with the services of Kenny Dalglish.
The club's boardroom is now very lonely indeed with only Mr. Ian Ayre, Tom Werner and John Henry as the available personnel filling up the higher hierarchy. Not a cause for concern, but certainly an opportunity to get things right, finally.
The major decision that FSG and John Henry should get right has to be the appointment of a long term manager. The definition of long term itself is subjective to the one who wields it. Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? If you are to take Pep Guardiola's word for it, five years is a long time. Pep won 13 trophies at Barcelona in a mere four. So we will take five years as long term here in this article at least.
Further, Pep parted ways because he was exhausted in these four years. Yes, four years is a long time. So let us see plausible candidates that can manage Liverpool Football Club for these next four to five years. These names are successful and might just be being overlooked by FSG and John Henry as very shrewd choices.
Name: Luciano Spalletti
Experience: 15+ years
Notable Teams Managed: Udinese, Roma and Zenit St. Petersburg
Reasoning: If a manager has shown that he has the ability to keep his team motivated through an entire league season he checks at least one box for the managerial role at LFC. The goal for next season will be fourth, oh, I am sorry, Champions League qualification, because fourth doesn't get you Champions League at times in the present cruel world. Just ask Tottenham Hotspur. The main target though is winning the league. Consistency in league performances will automatically bed well for both goals.
Spalletti's honors are listed below. I will not talk about all of them. His work in Russia, his most recent one, is what I will look to convince everyone by. Two seasons managed and two league titles won. A mere six defeats through those two seasons.
This is by no means misleading. He inherited a team that came in 5th and 3rd in the previous two seasons. He has also increased the goal-scoring ratio to 1.97 per game in the league from 1.6 in 2009.
- Coppa Italia: 2
- 2007, 2008
- Supercoppa Italiana: 1
- Zenit St. Petersburg
- Russian Cup: 1
- Russian Premier League: 2
- 2010, 2011-12
- Russian Super Cup: 1
Name: Manuel Pelligrini
Experience: 20+ years
Reasoning: There is more to Pellegrini's CV than just showing consistency in the league and challenging for honors at times in his managerial career. He led Real Madrid to a tally of points never achieved before by the Galacticos. Sadly, it wasn't enough. The connection with the LFC job arises because he has led Malaga from 11th the previous season to an opportunity to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League in 2012-13. Further, he achieved a lot with Villareal; giving them a taste of Europe and even a Champions League semi-final tie that they lost to finalists Arsenal. To put it more into context, Villareal finds itself in the second division in Spain after Pellegrini left in 2009. Arguably all of Villareal's success was down to the manager and Villareal succumbed to the problems once Pellegrini left.
- Universidad Católica
- Copa Interamericana: 1994
- Copa Chile: 1995
- LDU Quito
- Serie A: 1999
- San Lorenzo
- Primera Division: 2001 Clausura
- Copa Mercosur: 2001
- River Plate
- Primera Division: 2003 Clausura
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2004
- Miguel Munoz Trophy for the Best Coach of the Year: 2008
Name: Joachim Low
Experience: 15+ years
Notable Teams Managed: Stuttgart, Fenerbahce and the German National team
Reasoning: Joachim Low might not have had huge success with a club in a top league but the brand of football that his Germany play is a treat to watch. It is not only good to watch, but effective as well with a lot of emphasis given on shooting from outside the area as well. This is one thing I would like LFC to get back to. Gerrard, Hamann, Alonso, Berger, Riise etc. were always a threat from range. Sadly, there were hardly any goals for Liverpool from outside the box in the season gone by. It becomes even easier for teams to consider parking the bus when the opponent's shooting from range isn't exactly something to worry about.
Andre Villas Boas tried to do a Barcelona by pressing high up the pitch with Chelsea in the Premier League and failed. I believe Joachim Low's style will suit LFC a lot better particularly in the League. For winning in Europe, Joachim Low has the international experience required.
- DFB-Pokal in 1997
- Finalist European Cup Winners' Cup in 1998
- FC Tirol Innsbruck:
- Austrian championship in 2002
- Germany national football team:
- 3rd place in 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup (as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann)
- 3rd place in 2006 FIFA World Cup (as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann)
- 2nd place in UEFA Euro 2008
- 3rd place in 2010 FIFA World Cup
Name: Oscar Tabarez
Experience: 30+ years
Notable Teams Managed: Boca Juniors, A.C. Milan and The Uruguay National team
Reasoning: Oscar Tabarez has immense experience. The state that LFC finds itself in at the present means the next manager needs to have experience to deliver for the result oriented and immediate success demanding owners. Sure they are looking long term and a 65-year-old may not fit the bill but that is why I highlighted my view of long term in the introductory slide. LFC may appoint a manager such as Oscar Tabarez for the next four to five years and then look for someone who may stay even longer. Having said that, nowadays that is very improbable and people are looking to jump ship with the number of clubs in their CV akin to the number of stamps on their passports.
Anyway, such an appointment will give LFC more chance of getting back into the Champions League immediately and stabilise the ship for the next young manager to take charge. Hiring a young manager now might just ruin both LFC and the career of the potential great.
- Copa Libertadores: 1987
- Boca Juniors:
- Primera Division: 1992 Apertura
- Supercopa Masters: 1992
- Pan American Games: 1983
- Copa America: 2011; Runner-up 1989
- South American Coach of the Year: 2010, 2011
Name: Rene Girard
Experience: 15+ years
Notable Teams Managed: Montpellier HSC
Reasoning: Rene Girard has just led Montpellier to its first league title ever in France. That takes a lot of doing when you have free spenders PSG competing against you. Roberto Mancini took three years to win the title at another free spender Manchester City. This when Mancini had experience of winning the league before. It is true that the French league is inferior to the English League, but Rene Girard's philosophy of bringing in young players helped them beat PSG to the title. For that I think credit should be given where duly its deserved.
What makes this more special is that this was Girard's most significant managerial achievement too.
I will take these last words to make a humble request. May whoever be appointed as the manager of LFC by FSG and Mr.John Henry, the supporters should get behind him, even if it is "Snoogy Doogy".
Thanks for reading.