Roy Hodgson was said to be brought in to steady the ship. With that ship being close to hitting the rocks, can Liverpool risk this plight any longer to save their season? With a new regime at Anfield, maybe NESV want a fresh start to kick-start their era. Now The Kop has turned on Roy, with the walls closing in on Mr Hodgson, here is an overview of five of his possible successors.
Former European Cup and La Liga Winner, free for negotiation
Frank Rijkaard – As of October, on the market and up for grabs. No compensation fee, no permission from a chairman or CEO, single and ready to mingle. However, there is one poignant reason for this. Upon his departure, Galatasaray sat in 9th place in the table, twelve points behind leaders Bursaspor. A manager leaving a team in mid table mediocrity to replace a manager who also has had a treacherous start to the season isn’t a remedy that would receive recommendation from any Pharmacy on the red half of Merseyside. However, Mr Rijkaard does boast a record of a Champions League coup and two La Liga titles, (remind you of a certain former Liverpool manager still lauded by fans?) along with two super cups in a five year stint at Camp Nou. However, with the talent at his disposal at the time, the glister was arguably already in proportion for success, regardless of who was at the helm.
Why he would benefit Liverpool?
The last three managers Liverpool have had, have been very defensive minded. It has been a while since Liverpool have allured to the 70’s/80’s mantra of “Pass and move the Liverpool groove”. Rijkaard is renowned for being an attack minded manager in the Dutch style of also creating a football artistic masterpiece simultaneously. He would implement a style of play that would give Gerrard, Cole and Meireles licenses to attack, something that has been unapparent under the Hodgson regime. This would finally give us the chance to witness an attacking Liverpool side that hasn’t been apparent for the past three managerial regimes. This change in philosophy could be just the tonic for Liverpool for being able to put teams away when in front, and stamp their authority on games that they should win on paper with the talent at their disposal. This could also be the ignition of the ever enigmatic Ryan Babel. His Dutch affiliation with Frank Rijkaard could be the spark that alight the Ryan Babel that steamrolled the 2007 UEFA European Under - 21 Championships, as he may be the man to get the best out of Babel by expert utilisation.
He is available, and may be interested at trying his hand in the world renowned Premier League. Several promising youth players have been sold since Hodgson arrived on the scene, which hasn’t given confidence to the youth system that Rodolfo Borrell described when he arrived “unacceptable”. Rijkaard has played an integral part in the inception of youth players such as Messi, Iniesta and Valdes, which would be deemed promising in the eyes of NESV as part of their youth initiative. His style of not praising players, but overshadowing it by praising them within the praise of a team, mirrors Rafael Benitez. Steven Gerrard wasn’t a suitor of this, and would not be too content with this. Especially in a squad that needs morale boosting, could Christian Purslow’s impending replacement really consider this. Liverpool would need to look towards an upstanding motivator to rally the disenchanted troops.
Is he ready to part with his free time in Sutton, to take on the momentous job of rebuilding Liverpool?
Martin O’Neill - His departure at the start of the season led to former reds manager Gerard Houllier taking the helm at the Midlands side. One could wonder if it was done at the back end of last season, rather than days before the Premier League was going to hit our screens again, would we have seen Mr O’ Neill a more likely contender for the Liverpool job when Mr Benitez had departed. He has won various trophies in a successful era at Celtic, including run to the UEFA Cup final in 2003, beating Liverpool in the process. He learned from one of the best in Brian Clough and won the European Cup in his playing days in Nottingham Forest's heyday. He also Managed to turn Aston Villa from a mid table side into a top six side, flirting with a top four finish only last season. However the majority of his success has been in the SPL, which may question his ability to adapt to Liverpool’s lofty ambitions.
Why he would benefit Liverpool?
He has a passion for the game, that would be able to invoke some much needed morale into a beleaguered dressing room. In a period where Liverpool are rebuilding, his success at moulding Aston Villa into a top six side, as well as operating on a small budget at Celtic, would be just the foundation to help build a Liverpool squad that lacks depth.
He is a free agent, which would speed up the recruitment process. One of the things that O’Neill has been renowned for during his career, is his constant linking with the Liverpool job. Could this finally be the time where the individuals that keep flirting finally get together, after nearly a decade? He has been very quiet in the media since his departure, which may indicate he may want a long break from the game, and be very enchanted to life in Sutton Coldfield. There are also other avenues such as the England managerial vacancy pending after Euro 2012 (If England make it) or Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor.
Can Mr Hiddink be the first Liverpool manager to balance a Premier League on their head?
Guus Hiddink - Experience in various continents, Guus Hiddink has mingled with the best globally. His recent Premier League experience, shows that he is able to take the risqué heights of the English game to task. The fact he was the best paid international coach in 2009 shows just how highly he is regarded.
Why would he benefit Liverpool?
His experience of leading underdog teams to prosperity, may just swing hopes in his direction given Liverpool’s current plight. His various successes such as the European Cup and Dutch League titles show that he no doubt has the capability of succeeding at an ailing Liverpool side. His man management could also ignite an enchantment within players, who have been plagued by off field troubles. His experience in the Premier League, proves he already knows the English game.
In all likelihood, he would like to honour his contract at Turkey, which would be hard for Liverpool to sway him away. At 63 years old, this may be his last chance saloon to manage at a top Premier League team, therefore he may be obliged to take it.
A return of the prodigal son?
Rafael Benitez - Does he really need an introduction? Despite his minor detractors, Rafael Benitez is still lauded by the Kop faithful, who are already calling for his return, even deeming it a belated Christmas present. Ever since his dismissal in June this year, Kopites have long antagonized about how he was unjustly dismantled away from his managerial office. The fans believe he is still the world class manager he has proved to be in the past, but could not spearhead the Anfield outfit to success, due to his hands being tied by the wretched due of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. And rightfully so, Rafael Benitez won two trophies in his first two seasons on Merseyside, but since the intervention of Hicks and Gillett, the Anfield trophy room has had no form of modification whatsoever. This was also a man who come the closest to winning the Premier League (or the Holy Grail, as its now dubbed in the red half of Merseyside) by becoming within four points of reaching number 19 in 2009. Some detractors may be swift to canter and meekly state his defensive style of play as the key frailty, but the fact that Liverpool scored more goals than any other Premier League team that season, dispelled that point of view. Contributing factors such as Benitez needing his kidney stones taken out at the midpoint stage of the campaign, as well as Steven Gerrard’s court case proved hindering factors to Liverpool’s title cause. Supplemented by the fact Rafael Benitez was not given the funds to replace Robbie Keane or buy Gareth Barry, Rafael Benitez had his title charge dented by Hicks and Gillett, as they proved to be a cancer of the club. He is adored by Liverpool fans and helped restore the club among the elite of European football, and fans are clamouring for him to finish the job he started before Hicks and Gillett’s intervention.
Why would he benefit Liverpool?
He has been gone less than a year, so he knows the clubs operations well. Although the hierarchy has had a dramatic overhaul, the squad is one devised by himself and already has some promising prodigies in the academy that he brought to the club. Unlike the current manager ,he knows what it means to manage a club of Liverpool’s grandeur, therefore he knows the conception of the Liverpool way, with gestures such as a portion of his compensation package being donated to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, showing just how much he understands the Liverpool way, therefore he will maintain the mantra of Liverpool Football Club. He would also be able to rediscover the form of Fernando Torres. There have been rumours of a personal rift between Torres and Hodgson, and if Torres is once again under the guidance of the man who nurtured him and bought him to the world stage, we may see the Torres of old. Rafael Benitez has proved he can win trophies under stable ownership, by winning a trophy each season under David Moores, now the club is stable, maybe Rafa may be the man to steer Liverpool to success, after all, he has been to more Champions League finals than any of the other candidates.
At Liverpool if the Kop want you, then you already have a foot in the door. The fans would welcome Rafael Benitez back to give him a fair chance, now there is stable ownership. He is already settled on The Wirral on Merseyside, with his children already enrolled into Liverpool schools. Therefore Benitez has already made his bed and would swiftly be able to lie in it. However, NESV would already be aware of his political power struggles, that are ever present wherever he inhabits himself. Therefore, they may not welcome someone who would qualm their decisions. Benitez is someone who likes total control, therefore would he really welcome Damien Commolli’s assistance, or could Damien take the same path as Rick Parry? One thing for sure, is that if John W Henry looks in the direction of this Madrista to once again trail-blaze his quest for success across the pond, he would not have to compete with anyone else for the former European cup winners services, as Rafa would duly accept a return to what some sectors of the Kop feel, is his rightful home.
The last man to bring the title to Anfield
Kenny Dalglish - The man who won Liverpool’s last league title does not need any introduction to Liverpool fans. King Kenny would be viewed as a stop gap for a new manager at the end of the season. Dalglish knows the club inside out, and would know exactly how to revive this fallen giant. The “Dalglish” chants near the conclusion of Liverpool’s loss to Blackpool, and during their loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers that coincided with "Hodgson for England" chants, showed that the fans are ready to welcome him back to the dugout. However, The fact he has been out of the game for so long, may take its toll on him though.
Why would he benefit Liverpool?
Dalglish knows the club inside out, and would know exactly how to revive this fallen giant. He has the same passion every Liverpool fan possess, and would relish to engineer it back to the golden days he was a part of. He has already won a Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, so he already has the experience. He is respected by key figures such as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, who would be inspired to do well for their childhood hero, and boost their morale in the process.
He is already at the club, which would make him easy to recruit. He expressed his desire for the job in the summer; therefore he already has a desire to take on this uphill task. The fans have already voiced their hope of his appointment, and deemed it welcome.
Is the end near?
Do you agree with these candidates? Or are there still other individual’s hats you want to throw into the ring? So who are they? Are they better than these five? If Hodgson leaves, are these five the people to turn to? Or is it too early to cast aspersions? Inform me on what you think.Whatever you think, NESV needs to come to a conclusion very soon.