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The search for the new manager of the most successful club in English football history is on. The exit of Rafa Benitez has left Liverpool Football Club at a pivotal point in their history.
The Anfield club enters one of its most pressing and critical times in many a decade. In fact, pundits have liken this period in the club's history to the pre-Bill Shankly era.
And a similar rebuilding programme is required to reinstate Liverpool as a major force in domestic and European football again.
Here are the facts:
- Liverpool are not playing in next season's Champion's League.
- Liverpool do not have a significant budget to spend on strengthening their squad.
- Liverpool are in the process of selling the club; it is uncertain when this will happen.
- Liverpool need to rebuild and strengthen their squad with top quality players
- Liverpool need to retain the star players they have in the current squad.
Without doubt, a strengthening of the current squad is vital. But without Champion's League football and money to attract top-notch talent, there is only one other thing that players come to a club for and that is the coach/manager.
Top players will be attracted to a club by its coach. The draw will be to play for the best, learn from the best and develop as a player under a world class manager.
The following are the facts regarding the qualities required of the new Liverpool coach:
- Experience of winning a major domestic league title.
- Experience of winning a domestic cup competition within a top European league.
- Experience of winning a major European cup competition.
- Experience of coaching world class players and commanding their respect.
- A winning attitude.
- A world-class reputation that will attract top quality players.
The man with all of this and the desire to manage a top club again is, Ottmar Hitzfeld.
The current coach of Switzerland at the World Cup finals in South Africa had a dream to take the Swiss to the Finals and he has now achieved that.
Prior to Celtic appointing Neil Lennon as their new manager, Hitzfeld was strongly linked to become the Scottish giants' new coach.
He is believed to wish to return to the German Bundesliga after South Africa 2010.
However, the chance to re-establish one of the premier clubs in English and European football as a powerhouse in the game once more, may just be a challenge the German finds hard to turn down.
Prior to Rafa Benitez's appointment, there was some interest in Hitzfeld, but it soon faded as Liverpool honed in on the Spaniard.
A look at the achievements of Hitzfeld illustrates the calibre of the man:
- Two UEFA Champion's League titles (one each with Dortmund and Bayern Munich).
- Seven Bundesliga titles (two with Dortmund and five with Bayern Munich).
- Three German Cups (Dortmund).
- Two Intercontinental Cups (one each with Dortmund and Bayern Munich).
- Twice voted World Coach of the Year (1997 and 2001).
- Voted as Bayern Munich's greatest ever coach.
- Voted as the best Bundesliga coach of all time.
This is the coach that Liverpool Football Club really need.
The candidacy of the current Liverpool hierarchy's favorite, Roy Hodgson, pales into insignificance when viewed alongside Hitzfeld's.
Younger than Hodgson, by a year, the German speaks fluent English and so neither language or age should be an issue.
Christian Purslow and the appointing committee at Liverpool Football Club would do well to seriously consider Ottmar Hitzfeld as the man to lead the club through this difficult phase in its history.
Certainly there is no doubting the calibre of the man, it is just whether or not Liverpool have the vision to approach him.