Liverpool are at a hugely important moment in their history, writes Jake Farrell
I’m sure that for their fans the word disappointing does not come close to summarising their season. After mounting a title challenge the season before last the manner in which they slumped to 7th place in the most recent Premier League campaign was symptomatic of a team going backward, not forward. Now without the assuring presence of Rafa Benetiz at Anfield and turmoil in the boardroom Liverpool must stride in the right direction once again. Without Champions League football and possibly without their best players the venerable red half of Liverpool could enter a terminal decline akin to that of Leeds. They need a strong managerial choice to haul them back to the top table of the English game. Here are 3 choices that may not be the most inspiring but are the credible options for a struggling team.
Manuel Pellegrini – You could be forgiven for thinking that the erstwhile Real Madrid boss did a horrendous job at the Bernabeau. In reality, but for a late Lyon goal which knocked Madrid out of the Champions League, his tenure was anything but. Trophy-less it may have been but to have even made La Liga competitive against a peerless Barca is impressive. He can be adjudged to have commanded the respect of the dressing room as well and coaxed the best from Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 27 and 26 goals respectively in last years campaign. His Spanish influence may placate Fernando Torres and even attract some of his former players from Villareal. He may not inspire the fervour of the Kop but there are not many other managers of his experience and pedigree that would currently take on the Liverpool job.
Roy Hodgson – Hodgson did a superb job in getting Fulham to the Europa League final last season and seems to be universally well liked for his affable nature and astute footballing brain. He is highly thought of on the continent and his network of contacts could be useful for building a side on a paltry budget. Despite his superb relationship with his current employers and the adulation heaped upon him by a grateful Craven Cottage faithful the 62 year old may well be tempted by what would conceivably be his last tilt at a top job. Should he take the job and get Liverpool back to a position of success after the varied exploits of his career he knows, that in all likliehood, he would be considered one of the great modern British managers.
Martin O’Neill – Patience, inexplicably, seems to be wearing thin with O’Neill at Villa Park. Despite building an impressive team and pushing Villa to the forefront of British football once again, in what has to be one of the most competitive periods in modern history with Spurs, City and even Everton breaking the big four cartel, there have been rumours of unrest. If there is credence in the suggestion that relations with Chairman Randy Lerner have broken down then O’Neill may seek a hasty exit. As a man that invariably demands the loyalty of players through sheer force of passion he could be an exciting prospect for Liverpool fans. However suggestions that Villa have become one dimensional and over reliant on a big man up front will worry them to a similar degree.
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