With some newspapers already reporting that Liverpool are a mere 48 hours away from appointing Roy Hodgson as the club’s new manager, it appears that one of the more interesting domestic football issues of the last month may soon be resolved. Despite his good work with Fulham over the last two and a half years, Hodgson isn’t the unanimous choice for the post amongst Liverpool fans. Perceived in some quarters as an unglamorous and unambitious manager, many Kopites are unenthused by the prospect of Hodgson’s arrival at Anfield.
Club ambassador Kenny Dalglish, the man said to have been refused a return to the Anfield hot-seat by the club’s board, is thought to have wanted the job due to the dearth of ‘better qualified and available candidates’. Does King Kenny have a point?
Given the stature of Liverpool Football Club upon the world and domestic stage, is it unsurprising that the club’s fans (myself included) have been somewhat underwhelmed by the names realistically linked with the vacant managerial post over the last month. Following the last managerial departure at Anfield in the summer of 2004, the club courted the likes of Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, who were two of Europe’s most coveted tacticians at the time (and still are today it seems). Today, the most likely candidate for the job is a man who recently lead to his side to a 12th-placed finish, a man who can list trophies won in Norway, Sweden and Denmark as some of the biggest managerial achievements of his career. With all due respect to Roy Hodgson, it is slightly disconcerting to see the lack of more distinguished coaches linked with the role.
Unfortunately, the pulling power of Liverpool’s immense global status has been somewhat diminished by the turmoil that currently engulfs the club. The club is suffering from well-documented boardroom and ownership issues, with the knock-on effects meaning that any potential new manager will have to deal with the prospect of star players leaving and paltry financial reserves to invest in new players. To some extent, the position of Liverpool manager at this current point in time may be somewhat of a poisoned chalice; any manager considering the role may be put off by the chance that it may damage their reputation. It is safe to say that this situation has contributed to the fact that more attractive managerial names (such as Guus Hiddink and Frank Rijkaard) have ruled themselves out of the running.
In addition to the fact that the current Anfield situation may be repelling candidates, there may also genuinely be a dearth of ‘qualified’ candidates out there at the moment. Personally I feel that the club were foolish to dismiss Rafael Benitez; the fact that he has been appointed manager of treble winners Inter Milan indicates Benitez’s world-class reputation, and Liverpool look highly unlikely to be able to secure the appointment of a manager with even a remotely similar calibre. Whilst a section of Reds fans were happy to see Benitez’ departure, many felt that despite his poor work last season, there were no better candidates to replace him.
Off the top of my head, there is single no outstanding (and available) manager who I would like to see at Anfield. Whilst I admire the work of Manuel Pellegrini during his time in Spain (and would prefer him to Roy Hodgson), I am still unconvinced by the lack of silverware that he has won during his managing in Europe (Benitez came to Liverpool having won La Liga twice and the UEFA Cup once within a period of three seasons) and whether or not he would be able to successfully adapt to English football.
The appointment of the club’s manager is the most important decision Liverpool will make in a long time, with the decision key to the long-term health and state of the club. Whilst I will get behind whoever is appointed Liverpool manager, I can’t help but feel that King Kenny has a point.
Do you think Roy Hodgson is the right man for the job? Who would you realistically like to see as the next Liverpool manager?
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