As you are probably aware, the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce reported that Liverpool sacked Rodolfo Borrell and Frank McParland from their roles as academy technical director and academy director, respectively. It has come as a huge surprise.
Partly, because it has taken place halfway through the season, and this is normally a decision that is taken at the beginning or end of a campaign, when the club can reflect on the work done.
It is surprising also because Kenny Dalglish had been very complimentary of the work that Borrell and McParland had been doing at the Academy. You can see very easily the progression in the work done since the arrival of Borrell and Pep Segura, chosen by Rafa Benitez to give direction to the lower ranks.
Those two in particular did an interesting job. When they first came in, Benitez asked them to put a method in place. By this I mean that all the teams were playing and training the same way with the same tactical ideas. Coaches and players were guided by them into the new era.
At that time, the preferred formation was 4-2-3-1, which was the way Rafa wanted to play. Then it became 4-3-3. The idea was that they would all play the same way, like Barcelona. It is basically the Barcelona way of doing things.
When the method was first put in place, many people within the academy were shocked: coaches, fathers and even kids. Pep and Rodo were basically swimming against the tide.
But in the second year, the academy went from having two to 50 internationals.
In the third year, it became strange for them to lose games against Manchester City or Everton, teams they had often lost to in the past. Winning became the norm, and with victories it is easy to convince people. Kirkby became full of people converted to the new "faith," the new way of doing things.
The performances were also good, and the ideals were drilled into the coaches and players.
Borrell was in his fifth season, and what he has left behind is that the coaches believe in the idea. With the coaches seeing that the players are progressing at an international level, with the arrival of lower-rank players to the first team, those coaches believe it brings benefits, so one expects the philosophy to survive.
Borrell is not a former player, so on his CV there will be 14 years at Barcelona (he was the first coach of Lionel Messi with the Blaugranas) and five at Liverpool, with exceptional results with both.
I will say I am fascinated to hear the reasons why Liverpool have made this decision.
I am certain he will be picked up by another Premier League team, and an ambitious one at that, as he is, in my eyes, the complete technical director.
The hope is that Liverpool still consider the philosophy already in place to be the way forward—nobody is or should be bigger than the club.