How Different Would Liverpool Look Now Had Roberto Martinez Taken Charge in 2012

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How Different Would Liverpool Look Now Had Roberto Martinez Taken Charge in 2012
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When Roberto Martinez was photographed strolling around Miami with Liverpool owner John W. Henry, the Spaniard became the favourite to replace Kenny Dalglish at Anfield.

Martinez, then manager of Wigan Athletic, met with Henry in May 2012 shortly after Dalglish's sacking and was named alongside the likes of Andre Villas-Boas, Louis van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers on Liverpool's reported shortlist for the manager's job.

Of course, it was Rodgers who was later unveiled as Liverpool's new boss, merely a week after Martinez and Henry were spotted together.

The two bosses now line up as managers of the two Merseyside teams, and the similarities between the two are clear to see, but just how might things have worked out had Liverpool opted for Martinez over Rodgers?

 

Philosophy and Playing Style

Jon Super/Associated Press

This is an area where both Rodgers and Martinez share very similar ideas. Both prefer a possession-based, attacking game—evidenced not least by the 3-3 Merseyside derby earlier this season. Both prefer to play out from the back.

Martinez, unlike his predecessor at Goodison Park, sets his team out to win the game. That winning mentality is something the 40-year-old explained in an interview with Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail Online at the weekend.

Speaking about the possibility of Everton winning the title again he said, "We should all have that aspiration. If you don’t have that vision and direction you will never get there."

A stark contrast to his predecessor at Goodison Park, but that's another story.

That same interview features Martinez discussing Everton's history and how important it is for the club's players to know it—he holds quiz nights on away trips. That philosophy would have fit well at Anfield.

"There are certain things I won’t accept," explained Martinez. "A player must sleep for eight hours and if I can prove that he has not slept for eight hours he will get a fine." High standards are demanded by the Spaniard.

"You can bridge that financial gap in other ways. Young players, the loan market, playing a different way," said Martinez this month, via Ian Herbert of The Independent, a quote that could easily have been attributed to Rodgers.

Martinez is largely credited with starting Swansea's passing revolution before he left the Welsh side in 2009, and Rodgers continued that same style after Paulo Sousa left the club a year later. Swansea appointed managers with similar styles and philosophies to ensure continuity at the club.

 

Tactics

Jon Super/Associated Press

Rodgers' idealised 4-3-3 formation with a "double pivot" in midfield is very similar to Martinez's 4-2-3-1 shape he's using at Everton.

Martinez used a 3-4-3 shape in his final season at Wigan, and Rodgers too tried that shape during the early part of this season at Liverpool. So again, the two managers compare similarly.

 

Players

As is common with managers when they move clubs, they inevitably bring a player or two with them from their former club. Had Martinez arrived at Anfield, it's almost certain neither Joe Allen or Fabio Borini would have arrived.

Clint Hughes/Associated Press

James McCarthy became one of Martinez's first signings at Wigan, and perhaps he would have made a similar move to Anfield.

Gareth Barry would arguably have solved Liverpool's holding midfield issue, too.

Martinez also signed goalkeeper Joel Robles at Everton; perhaps he would have done similarly at Anfield and kept Pepe Reina to nurture the 23-year-old Spaniard.

 

Overall

Things may not have been too different at all had Martinez taken the Anfield hot seat. The playing style would have been similar, the philosophy and tactics used. Both are hands-on managers who are involved in the day-to-day training. Both are well liked by their former players and lauded for their man-management skills.

Martinez would have sought, like Rodgers has, to use the loan market and youngsters to get close to the top four again.

Perhaps the biggest knock-on effect would be that Everton wouldn't have got Martinez.

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