The storm before the calm?

After all those months of speculation and wondering what was going to happen, the pot has well and truly begun to be stirred. Rafael Benitez has left Liverpool by mutual consent after much bickering and backing-and-forthing. And just as I was planning to pen an article on what I expect from Liverpool over the summer!

Well, at least this takes one uncertainty out of the equation though I’m still unable to make up my mind whether it is for the better or worse. But here are some reasons why I think it will, in the long term, perhaps work out well:

  1. There were rumours about a breakdown of the Rafa-Nando (who I believe is far more integral to our future success than Gerrard) relationship. Hopefully, Rafa’s leaving increases the chances of Nando staying back, and perhaps also somebody like Mascherano.
  2. If Gerrard stays, well and good. But I wouldn’t be averse to cashing in on him if we get anything over 25 mill pounds for him.
  3. With no managerial legacy left over, hopefully the much bigger and more important problem of the club – finding buyers – will gather some pace now, and will get done well before the end of the year as threatened by Hicks.
  4. I’m glad it will be Purslow and King Kenny who’ll be leading the search for the next Liverpool manager, since one seems a good manager and the other probably knows more about Liverpool FC and its culture than any man alive.

As for who I would like replacing Rafa, my choices would be one of Guus Hiddink, Manuel Pellegrini or somebody like Frank Rijkaard. For the moment, we won’t look at the question of why they would want to come to Liverpool – we’ll just assume that the wonderful history of the club coupled with, ahem, the great weather and culinary delights of the north-west of England will have them queuing up.

Hiddink needs no introduction and has done it all at various levels. But it’s unlikely he’ll say no to Turkey now after he’s already said yes to them and rejected Inter Milan (ironically, Rafa’s most likely destination).

Pellegrini’s appointment would, of course, complete a neat triangle of managerial movements between Europe’s super-star club (Inter Milan), the club that did-so-well-but-won-nothing (Real Madrid) and our dear disappointing club of last year. More than what Pellegrini achieved at Madrid, his achievements at Villareal are what make him so attractive to Liverpool, considering he’s likely to have equally small budgets for the near future. And what’s more, he comes free being currently unemployed!

Rijkaard’s currently with Galatasaray, and so it will cost money to prise him away. But he also has a decent managerial record guiding the Dutch to the European nations cup semi-finals, winning domestic and European titles with Barcelona etc. But he didn’t seem to come out on top in his duels with egos such as Ronaldinho and Eto’o at Barca. So, he’s clearly not first choice but I won’t be very sad if he becomes the next manager.

All these three men are also likely to favour attractive, flowing football which would be a welcome change at Anfield after a decade of Houllier and Benitez. While Martin O’Neill and Roy Hodgson are good managers, I don’t think they will help take Liverpool back to where they belong. Instead, what we need – apart from a quick sale of the club to owners willing to invest in the club – is a world class manager, lots of stability and a medium to long term plan (which includes elements such as building the new stadium etc.) to return to the very top of the game. Unless, of course, we get another sugar-daddy like Man City or Chelsea, who will help us take the elevator rather than the stairs.

Whatever happens, these are interesting times to be a Liverpool fan. Mind you, interesting doesn’t remotely mean the same as hopeful.


One Response

  1. […] previous post (“Storm before the calm“) was almost prophetic with its title. After the storm of Rafa’s departure, news and […]

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