How Liverpool Would Line Up If Jose Mourinho Was Their Manager

Max Munton@thisisanfieldLiverpool CorrespondentApril 26, 2014

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho looks at his team as they warm up before their Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match against Liverpool at the Anfield stadium, Liverpool, England, Tuesday May 1, 2007. (AP Photo/ Tom Hevezi)
Tom Hevezi

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers this week revealed, as per David Maddock of the Mirror, that Jose Mourinho was once close to taking the manager's hot-seat at Anfield:

There is no doubt that there was a period back in the early 2000s, that this club was a possibility for him.

Maybe resources were different and he had a better opportunity to go elsewhere but make no mistake, he knows the size and prestige of Liverpool.

There has been a history there, what with the rivalry and it was a great rivalry between the clubs, but beneath it all he knows the power of Liverpool for sure.

How different perhaps the Liverpool story of the last 10 years or so may have been with the Portuguese self-proclaimed "Special One" at the helm.

It's quite hard to imagine Mourinho with his pantomime show of off-the-pitch media theatrics and turbulent relationships with club owners. It just doesn't seem the Liverpool way.

Now Mourinho comes up against Rodgers—mentor vs. pupil. Once close allies at Chelsea, Rodgers claimed back in December 2013, as per Mike Whalley of ESPN, that he owes his rise as a manager to the Chelsea boss:

I probably wouldn’t be sitting here now if it wasn’t for him. When I speak about Jose, I think of him as a friend. When I first met him in September 2004 to discuss the possibility of me taking a job at Chelsea, we hit it off straight away.

He gave me the self-esteem and confidence to be a manager, and the one thing I really learned from him was the importance of the details. When he was manager at Chelsea the first time, I used to stand at the back of the room during press conferences. I wanted to see how he dealt with the media -- obviously much better than me.

However, since gaining some of his education and footballing philosophies, Rodgers has become his own man—adapted and fine-tuned his own style of running a football club.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has been a success story, playing the game in a characteristic manner associated only with himself. Impostors have tried to replicate—but it's not quite worked out the same for Andre Villas-Boas yet.

So based on the way Mourinho has set his team out to play this season, how would a Liverpool team shaped by the 51-year-old look?

This week more than ever Mourinho's Chelsea have been criticised for their negative football tactics which successfully carved them a goalless draw away at Atletico Madrid in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first leg.

It may be "parking the bus" or "anti-football"—but it worked. Imagine a straight back line at Liverpool of pure defensive-mindedness: Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard, of course, would be Mourinho's pride and joy. Having always wanted to manage the Liverpool skipper, he tried to detour him from Anfield when Mourinho was at Real Madrid back in 2010, as per Simon Bird of the Mirror:

I do not know why Gerrard has stayed so long at Liverpool. He is very loyal.

I watched him against Hungary. The best player on the pitch. I like him a lot. A leader. I admire him.

In this fantasy-driven situation, Liverpool's failed transfer bids of last summer and January would have gone through, with Mourinho signing Willian and Mohamed Salah to lead the Reds' attacks from midfield.

Bolstering the heart of Liverpool's midfield, Mourinho prefers a hard-working engine—a Frank Lampard. Substance over effectiveness. He may well put all his eggs in Lucas Leiva's basket.

Mourinho seems to like being limited in options up front, with Chelsea seemingly having been in desperate need of a top-class prolific goalscorer this season. Would Daniel Sturridge make the cut or would Mourinho leave his talents on the bench?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Luis Garcia of Liverpool scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on May 3, 2005 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty I
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

How would Mourinho have handled Luis Suarez in recent years? Would Fernando Torres still be at Liverpool? Would he have got over Luis Garcia's "ghost goal" yet?

To have Mourinho at the helm at Liverpool is an unfathomable and frankly quite scary thought.

In Rodgers, Liverpool have a man fixing a club from the bottom up. Ideological philosophies reminiscent of Bill Shankly, fitting with the club's ethos and the long-term visions of the owners.

I'll see your Mourinho and I'll raise you our Rodgers.


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