Nobody likes rejection. Be it a first date, a job interview or in this case, a couple of relatively inexperienced football managers saying no to your club. However, in Liverpool’s case, it isn’t quite all pain and wallowing in self-pity. To have Brendan Rodgers say no, but potentially former European Cup winning boss Fabio Capello say yes, is a bit like being rejected by Fizz from Coronation Street and comforted by Kelly Brook. Ignore the England-centric boo-boys- Capello is the perfect fit for Liverpool Football Club.
Totalitarian, stubborn and uninspired- a few of the words used to describe Capello during his England tenure and to a certain degree, it was fair criticism. No one will ever argue that the national team played anything more than mildly efficient under Capello, as the Italian favored a more pragmatic approach to setting up his England teams. But the England job is not what either Liverpool fans or the owners, Fenway Sports Group should be considering.
Capello was bound by the constraints of nationality for his job. And when that job is in this country, those constraints are pretty blindingly difficult. Bang on about your Gerrard’s or your Rooney’s all you like, the players that he had at his disposal were simply never good enough to reach a World Cup semi-final. He could of played whatever formation he liked against Germany in the last-16, but it’s difficult to envisage the outcome being much different. Yes he had faults, but to label someone who has won a hatful of Serie A and La Liga titles as tactically naïve is absurd and missing the point completely.
In fact, to call him tactically astute is something of an understatement. As Milan boss, Capello guided his team to an unprecedented 58-game unbeaten run, picking up three Scudetti in a row- four in total. His defense were amongst one of the most well-drilled and organized on the continent; Brendan Rodgers might of beat Liverpool 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium, but Fabio Capello downed Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona ‘Dream Team’ 4-0 in a European Cup final.
His pedigree isn’t just consigned to the nostalgia of the nineties either. He won La Liga twice with Real Madrid in two spells, the most recent of which coming in 2007, proving he can cut it in a league outside of his native country. Throw in another three Serie A titles as manager with Roma and Juventus (two of which were stripped after the Calciopoli scandal) and Capello has had success wherever he has gone. The pragmatism of his teams demands as much respect as his C.V. does. The Italian would not tolerate the flakiness of Dalglish’s Liverpool set-up.; work from the back, establish a solid foundation, maintain a highly disciplined and professional environment. These are the traits that are proven to of won titles.
He can spot a bargain aswell. Kenny Dalglish brought in Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson amongst his near on £100million spending spree. Capello picked up the relatively unheard of Clarence Seedorf and Roberto Carlos during his first spell at Madrid boss. Safe to say he’s got an eye for some talent then.
It just seems like the ideal fit. It would be a fantastic success story to see a Brendan Rodgers or a Roberto Martinez- young, bright, managers who endorse the right sort of football- land a job as big as the one up in Anfield. But Liverpool just can’t afford to take a punt on them. They need stability and pragmatism. Finishing 17 points off Champions League football again next season would be disastrous and it would be hard to see the likes of Luis Suarez hanging around if that’s the case. The further away from the promised the land of European football they fall, the harder it is going to become to attract top players and build towards the sort of success that Liverpool fans crave.
You can’t have it all your own way; sometimes you have to pick a solution to fit your needs. West Ham fans weren’t particularly enamored with Sam Allardyce’s appointment, but he fit the bill and got them promoted. Capello wouldn’t bring an overtly exciting, free-flowing brand of football to Anfield either. Real Madrid didn’t like his style in 2007 and got rid of him as a result. But they hardly bathed in success after his departure. The Italian will get results and the success of his fellow countrymen such as Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini, shoot down the ridiculous notion that the Italian way can’t succeed on these shores.
We live in a footballing landscape that has been dug up by the success of Spain and Barcelona. Everybody rightly drools over the possession-based game that has brought both the above mentioned such success, in such unprecedented style. And to see someone like Brendan Rodgers try to implement a similar style at Swansea City, is both as heart-warming as it is as easy on the eye.
But the moment this begins to skew owners into overlooking a man who has won as many league titles as Fabio Capello, a very harsh reality check is needed. Almost as harsh as the one which reads no league title since 1990. Fabio Capello might not necessarily change that, but he is without doubt a step in the right direction.
Think Capello would be a good choice at Liverpool? Or do you think the club should plump for a young manager such as Brendan Rodgers? Tell me and Tweet me: follow @samuel_antrobus