The return of Kenny Dalglish as manager of Liverpool Football Club has given everyone concerned a new lease of life and brought about a buzz of excitement and expectation that had been missing from the Red half of Mersey for a couple of years. There is no doubt that the Reds have done better, and that today, we find ourselves in a much better position than in the same stage of proceedings last year, but it does not stop there.
The ownership has made funds available even though when the computations are made, the money invested in transfers since their takeover has not exceeded Stg 50 million, which means that with players coming and going, the Reds have spent the same amount recovered from the sale of Fernando Torres. The remaining funds were all recovered from sale of players that have moved on. I’m not complaining, I am just saying that the bottom line is that investment in the squad has been diligent (that is the best definition I found on the spur of the moment).
It would be legitimate to argue that FSG will expect the Reds to win some silverware this season, with a spot in the top four positions seen possibly as a minimum requirement. Above anything else, it seems that a quick return to Champions League football is top priority. This hypothesis would be further strengthened should more funds be made available in January to fine-tune the squad in an effort to make this target achievable.
The question is: should the Reds fail to land Champions League football, and should they fail to land any silverware, will Kenny Dalglish & Co get the chop? Will the ambitions of John Henry & Co induce them to go for a change in management? Or will they be patient and give Kenny the time he deems necessary to make Liverpool a force to be reckoned with?
This eventuality will definitely cause outrage amongst the Liverpool faithful where King Kenny is an unquestioned idol, but we also know that football is a big money business and anything can happen. Kenny himself could consider stepping down if none of these targets are reached. This possible end-of-season scenario will automatically generate speculation on possible successors. Here are currently three options of managers that have the right pedigree and that are currently waiting for the right Club to call:
RAFA BENITEZ – during his 6 year reign at Anfield, Rafa Benitez managed to win a miraculous Champions League title, lost a repeat final to AC Milan, took home an FA Cup thanks to Steven Gerrard’s heroics, and lost a title the Reds had already practically won after entering a bout of mind games with SAF which eventually backfired against us. There was also a Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup added to the trophy room. It is no secret that the Spaniard still has a residence on Merseyside, and he has made no secret of his desire to manage the Reds again. Rafa guided the Reds in 350 competitive games, winning 194, drawing 77 and losing 79.
MARTIN O’NEILL – is one of the most respected managers in the Premier League. He quit Aston Villa on the eve that the season was due to start and took a sabbatical (after four seasons), as least that is what we thought as he remained away from the scene for a second season running. Four years at Villa Park saw him win 80, draw 60 and lose 50 out of 190 games, winning not titles or trophies but propelling the Villans amongst the top 6 teams on more than one occasion. The Irishman is still waiting for the right ‘occasion’ to come along and the top job at Anfield could offer the right ingredients to lure him back into management.
CARLO ANCELOTTI – the Italian tactician came to Chelsea after an eight year spell with Italian giants Ac Milan. In his first year of tenure at Stamford Bridge, the Italian guided the Blues to the Premier League and FA Cup double, and in his two seasons in charge won 67, drew 20 and lost 22 out of 109 games. He was relieved of his position after the last game of last season and has frequently been quoted as claiming to want to continue managing in the Premier League. Long time friend Leonardo is attempting to lure him to PSG but Ancelotti has so far resisted the temptation, having also refused the takeover AC Roma in the summer, apparently waiting for the right occasion to take charge one of England’s best.
We must also consider that another top Premier League club might have a similar vacancy come the end of the season. With Capello leaving his post after the Euro Championships, there is growing speculation that Harry Redknapp will take over, leaving the management seat at White Hart Lane vacant. In this case both Ancelotti and O’Neill could be contenders to take over, while Rafa will probably pass……!
My aspiration is for us to land a top four spot and with Kenny at the helm. Not because I think he is a brilliant tactician and not because he offers us the best technical alternatives, but because he is who he is. A living legend who has Liverpool Red in his DNA and who has put a smile on our face following a period of doom and gloom both on and off the pitch. Technical knowledge is essential in today’s game but so is motivation and belief….something our players seem to lack every now and then!