Will it be….AVB?

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David Moyes would have been a great manager for Liverpool, but only if he had landed the job in 2002 before he went to Everton cutting short Gerrard Houllier’s reign. He probably would still be our manager in the Fergie and Wenger mode. Today the prospect is almost preposterous, but then in football you never know!

People have raised eyebrows at Liverpool being apparently snubbed by the likes of Brendan Rodgers (official), Frank De Boer (official), Didier Deschamps (generic) and Jurgen Klopp (generic). The ‘official’ refers to official approaches while the generic refer to the two managers being asked questions about their future and their reply was that they were not willing to move. But these four all have a job at present and are in the midst of a project of which they form an integral part.

We need to concentrate primarily on the jobless (now how humble does that sound?). AVB, Benitez, Capello, Van Gaal and Laudrup are not exactly queuing up for UB40 (do they still call it that?) but they are all waiting for the ‘right project’ to come along. Guardiola is taking a sabbatical, Mourinho would want a sugar-daddy ala Abramovich, Moratti, Perez or Mansour to finance all his desires whiles Roberto Martinez is hoping for all the candidates to pull out so that he may land the job of his dreams!

My gut is telling me that the probably Fenway will be swayed by the youth, enterprise and person-with-a-point-to-prove and go for Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas aka AVB! Why Villas-Boas? Because the 34 year old is not as bad as his experience with Chelsea seems to portray. In the 2010/2011 season he was in charge at Porto and won domestic league and cup, as well as the Europa League in his first and only season. Abramovich covered him in gold to get him to London but a dressing room revolt by Chelsea’s old guard forced the Russian to send him packing, and throw the money spent and the three year project that had been planned down the drain (not that it made any holes in Abra’s pocket).

His record at Porto was astonishing, playing a total of 51 games, winning 45, drawing 4 and losing only 2 giving him an 88.24% winning ratio. That record, taking the player’s mutiny in consideration, was not that shabby at Chelsea where in 40 games played, he won 19, drew 11 and lost 10! That is a 47.5% winning percentage (which incidentally did not improve when Di Matteo took over) and when you consider that the Reds had a 45% winning rate in the PL this season….!

AVB advocates an exciting game, based on a high defensive line, short passing and preferring a flexible 4-2-3-1 game plan. The problem at Chelsea was that the old guard saw the 4-3-3 setting more adapted to their style of play so there was definitely a technical dispute in the dressing room. People like Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda, Kalou and Essien were not co-operative and even thought Abramovich had initially sponsored the idea of rejuvenating his squad, the players won the duel and AVB was shown the door in earnest.

You might have noticed I mentioned that Villas-Boas had ‘agreed’ a three-year plan. The question is, if AVB is appointed manager would Fenway be supportive over a three-year period needed to hone the team, the individual players and the system to perfection? One may say this time was not afforded to Kenny but my take on his sacking was more focused on the failed player’s signings than purely on results, even though admittedly the Premier League finish was very poor.

Remember, AVB does have a point to prove, was mentored by the Special One, he is young and he knows today’s game and is progressive in the way he looks at it. Could be the man we are looking for!


  1. Agreed, AVB would be a perfect fit at Liverpool, I just hope FSG choose him over Martinez and also that fans at Anfield week in week out give him support and time and not chant “Rafa Benitez” every given moment!

  2. I personally would like AVB over all others mentioned. I think his tactics fit our players (with maybe one or two additions) and a look to the future is needed, with a long term “project” (hate the usage of this word in this footballing context) is what Liverpool should be striving for.

    I feel that Fenway were right to fire Kenny, but to do so without an instant replacement was maybe a mistake.

    Still, I would certainly be excited by AVB being installed as manager and given time and resources to make things happen.

  3. Give him (AVB) a chance I’m conferdent he wil do the job but he need the surport. Of the players,fans,coaches an the bosses so pls martines is a big shit hole liverpool thrue thick an thin

  4. Well said. AVB is an exceptionally good manager and he’ s got a point to prove. the chelsea job was wrong for him particularly because of a dressing room almost choking from an overdose of ego.He’ll do well in Liverpool and who knows, could even become an Anfield Great. YNWA!!!.

  5. I think AVB is our best choice. He is strong enough to lead and gain the players respect and probably have a decent chance of sorting things out.

  6. I think AVB or Roberto would be good, with probably AVB the better choice, wasn’t really given chance at Chelsea and couldn’t of been that bad if Roman paid all that money for him, Im happy to embark on another project as a fan but as long as the way we play football improves and think CL place is a must, that along with a good run in Europa cup would be a good progression next year

  7. Villas Boas is an excelent Manager who had been foolish by Abramovich like Mourinho a years before. Mourinho understands in that time that Abra’ have the desire to take total control of market, signings and win trophies instantally. Villas Boas have a vision of the game that is amazing, and if chelsea had had the vision and had let him do it having a little piece of patience (we know abramovich just want to win at all costs), they surely had find themselves fighting again for premier league and champions league consecutively.

    I`m sure that if he’s appointed and receives the support from the directors, the club, the players and the fans, we will see very soon the results we all want for LFC. Here’s and interview to Villas Boas after he reaches the europa league with porto:


    Circulation: the retention of possession by passing from player to player without taking risks.

    Vertical: Up and down the pitch, from goal to goal.

    Horizontal: Across the pitch, from touchline to touchline.

    Transition: When possession is regained, the opportunity to counter-attack.

    Low block: A team that defends with two deep banks of defenders and midfielders. Mourinho’s succinct term for it was “parking the bus”.


    AVB: There are more spaces in football than people think. Even if you play against a low block team, you immediately get half of the pitch.

    And after that, in attacking midfield, you can provoke the opponent with the ball, provoke him to move forward or sideways and open up a space. But many players can’t understand the game.

    They can’t think about or read the game. Things have become too easy for football players: high salaries, a good life, with a maximum of five hours work a day and so they can’t concentrate, can’t think about the game.

    Barcelona’s players are completely the opposite. Their players are permanently thinking about the game, about their movement, about how to provoke their opponent with the position of the ball.

    DS: Does a top team need to dominate possession to win a match?

    AVB: Not necessarily, for a simple reason. In Portugal we have this idea of match control based on ball circulation.

    That’s what we in Portugal want to achieve in our football: top teams that dominate by ball possession, that push the opponent back to their area.

    If you go find the top English teams pre-Arsene Wenger they tell you how to control a match in the opposite way without much ball possession, direct football, searching for the second ball.

    Maybe now, controlling possession is the reference point for a top team, but that happens because they have much more quality players than the other teams, so it would be wrong not to take advantage of those individual skills.

    DS: One thing Louis Van Gaal says is that you can control a match offensively and defensively but you must keep in control defensively you can also determine where your opponent will play on the pitch.

    AVB: Yes, I agree. In that sense, yes. But the idea we now have in Portugal of match control is about having more ball possession than the opponent.

    DS: Exactly, but match control has to result in scoring chances. That’s the only way it makes sense. There are teams that have like 60 per cent ball possession and that results in nothing at all.

    AVB: That’s it. Match control always has to have a purpose, a main goal.

    DS: And in that concept of match control, are there any sectors of the team more important than others?

    AVB: Well, that depends on the mechanisms you want to use defensively and offensively. Let me give you an example.

    Top teams nowadays don’t look to vertical penetration from their midfielders because the coach prefers them to stand in position (horizontally) and then use the movement of the wingers as the main source to create chances.

    So, you, as a coach, have to know exactly what kind of players you have and analyse the squad to decide how you want to organise your team offensively. And then, there are maybe some players more important than others.

    For instance, many teams play with defensive pivots, small defensive midfielders.

    And, except Andrea Pirlo and Xabi Alonso, and maybe Esteban Cambiasso and one or two more, they are players that are limited to the horizontal part of the game: they keep passing the ball from one side to another, left or right, without any kind of vertical penetration.

    Can’t you use your defensive midfielder to introduce a surprise factor in the match? Let’s say, first he passes horizontally and then, suddenly, vertical penetration?


    AVB: There has been an evolution in football language and football analysis since Mourinho started to coach. There’s a different way of looking at a match, a different way of doing technical analysis.

    People have started to look beyond the formation, and started talking about the dynamics within the team and how they’re more important than the team’s formation.


    DS: What’s the difference between playing with three or four midfielders?

    AVB: Rafa Benitez created a 4-4-2 much more dynamic than the usual English 4-4-2. Because he introduced speed in ball possession, he gave it variation between vertical and horizontal passes.

    The usual classic English 4-4-2 is more basic: a penetrating midfielder and another one that stays in position; a winger who moves inside and another one who stays wide; a full back who overlaps and another one who covers the defence.

    If you talk about a 4-4-2 diamond, that’s totally different. You play with two pivotal midfielders, one defensive and one offensive, so it creates many more problems for your opponent.

    Defensively, though, you take a great risk of ceding too much space because you are very central and you lack width. You have to create compensation mechanisms.

    Me, I’m a 4-3-3 fan, not 4-4-2. I don’t see how a classic 4-4-2 could work in the Spanish league, where every team plays 4-3-3 and the superiority of the midfield has become crucial.

    What Mourinho did with Chelsea with his 4-3-3 was something never seen before: a dynamic structure, aggressive, with aggressive transitions…and then there is Barca’s 4-3-3, which wouldn’t work in England, because of the higher risk of losing the ball.

    If you have midfielders like Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard you don’t want your forwards to come and play between lines, because Lampard and Gerrard have a large field of action and very often move in to those spaces.

    Lampard was often irritated with Didier Drogba because Drogba wanted to receive the ball there but then, amazingly, his first touch was poor, so he lost the ball and we were exposed to a transition from the opponent.

    So we had to limit Drogba from going there and ask him to play deeper.


    DS: Is good ball circulation essential in the attacking organisation of a top team?

    AVB: Well, it’s essential to every team. Every team want to score. That’s the purpose of the game. Barcelona play horizontally only after a vertical pass. See how the centre backs go out with ball, how they construct the play. They open up (moving wider), so that the right or left-back can join the midfield line.

    Guardiola has talked about it: the centre backs provoke the opponent, invite them forward then, if the opponent applies quick pressure the ball goes to the other central defender, and this one makes a vertical pass.

    Not to the midfielders, who have their back turned to the ball, but to those moving between lines, Andres Iniesta or Lionel Messi, or even directly to the striker.

    Then they play the second ball with short lay-offs, either to the wingers who have cut inside or the midfielders, who now have the game in front of them.

    They have an enormous capacity not to lose the ball, to do things with an unbelievable precision.

    Another thing about Barcelona, there is always a full-back who arrives earlier in the attack, the other stays in position initially but then progressively joins the attack, as the ball circulates on the other side of the pitch, so he can be a surprise element. When you least expect he arrives. He chooses the perfect timing for the overlap.

    DS: Louis Van Gaal says a vertical pass is not a risk, but a horizontal pass is because when you make a horizontal pass you are much more open, more exposed in case you lose the ball.

    AVB: Yes, that’s right. And there are differences between a horizontal pass and a slightly diagonal pass.

    Something that used to happen a lot in England, when teams played 4-4-2, was that the central midfielders exchanged the ball between them in parallel passes so what we did with Lampard, or Liverpool did with Gerrard, was to try to cut into that space between the two midfielders with fast movement from Lampard.

    If they got the ball there, there were already two opponents eliminated in the attacking transition.


    DS: How do you attack a team that plays with an ultra-low block?

    AVB: Let’s see. Juventus play with an ultra-low block, they don’t put any pressure on you high up the field. Nowadays most teams don’t. It can limit you because they control the space behind them with perfect offside timing.

    They limit your vertical passes as well because they are all grouped within 30 or 40 metres, completely closed in two lines of four plus the two forwards.

    So you start constructing “short”, begin the attacking process with your centre-backs of full-backs carrying the ball forward to the midfield area but then you want to pass the ball to the midfielders and you don’t know how to do it, because there is an ultra-limited space, everything is completely closed.

    DS: So what to do?

    AVB: You have to provoke them with the ball, which is something most teams can’t do. I cannot understand it. It’s an essential factor in the game.

    At this time of ultra-low defensive block teams, you will have to learn how to provoke them with the ball. It’s the ball they want, so you have to defy them using the ball as a carrot.

    Louis Van Gaal’s idea is one of continuous circulation, one side to the other, until the moment that, when you change direction, an space opens up inside and you go through it.

    So, he provokes the opponent with horizontal circulation of the ball, until the moment that the opponent will start to pressure out of despair. What I believe in is to challenge the rival by driving the ball into him.

    That’s something Pep Guardiola believes is decisive. And that’s something that Henk ten Cate also took to Avram Grant’s Chelsea. He took it with him form Frank Rijkaard’s Barcelona. We did it differently at Chelsea under Mourinho.

    Our attacking construction was different, with the ball going directly to the full-backs or midfielders. With Ten Cate, play was started with John Terry or Ricardo Carvalho, to invite the opponent’s pressure. Then you had one less opponent in the next step of construction

    1. my god ash! i lost the will to live after reading 400 lines of the post, your wee thumbs must be numb!
      AVB? YES!

  8. AVB would fit perfectly with the owners long term plans. It’s easy to see how the player power didn’t allow the forward thinking of an up an coming manager to flourish. Liverpool Fc would embrace AVB with enough structure to ensure stability and the ability to adapt playing styles. Sign him up now!

  9. NESV have taken control of numerous teams in several different sports “Baseball” “Basketball” “NASCAR” “ICE HOCKEY” run sporting websites and massive media empire. They have stripped the club of the management, good – it hasn’t worked in the last 20 years bringing us a title. They are positive with their actions making bold moves, but not without due diligence. If any of you think they have come into these sackings and management change lightly think again. They do nothing without a fully energised and thought out plan. Every sporting venture they are involved in has got to the top and much more successful than before. For one having read and understood the FSG background and mentality I have complete faith in the decisions and employment of new manager who ever it is….Yes that includes Martinez. They will get it right LFC supporters just need to have failth in their management and stop condeming there actions when lets face it, if we were that good, we would be billionaires and owning clubs ourselves….

  10. so many plastic fans on here,martinez will never do hes simply not good enough. in time maybey not now kenny made mistakes, everyone does but he should of been given a extra year to make good, which i think he would of done. avb is better than martinez, but chelsea sacked him? and his chelsea team was poor.i see most scousers and iam one think kenny should of got the extra year, were now scrapping barrel for managers who noone else wants. and what happens if the new guy does not get 4th? sacked then we start again the owners have done this to themselves, will they remove theresleves if there choice of manager fails? if martinez gets job we will be in botton 4 next season,and the owners will be running for cover, as out out rings in there ears.everyone wants rafa back well most do
    in all polls, yet they refuse to listen why? only they know why but whatever reason they have, it wont be good enough as fans sing RAFA RAFEL. when we are losing its not boston its LIVERPOOL prepare for a culture shock. ian ayre is a complete disgrace, he needs to put mouth in gear before he talks,what a noob he is
    knows nothink about football, hes a bussiness man with his head so far up his arse theres no light. like purslow before him the axe is near….

  11. Even more, maybe AVB could make that Radamel Falcao, Hulk or James Rodriguez (those three work with him in porto) land to anfield, i know that is almost impo$$sible compete with Manchester City and Chelsea finances but, you never know, this 3 playes have become adamants after been with AVB in Porto, so maybe he can make it possible.

  12. I’m not that keen on Boas would have liked to have seen van gaal though. Don’t know how true this is but I’ve been hearing that reports are starting to filter around the portugese media stating Boas has accepted, not seen it anywhere else yet.

  13. out of all the candidates that have been named, AVB is the only one with a) the experience and the cred to take LFC forward and b)who’s not hampered by past history with the club. i think it’s a good fit. if they manage to sign him i’ll be very happy.

  14. I hope the new manager is AVB,give him time he will prove cheski wrong,their lose r gain

  15. I’m not sure about AVB, honestly he haven’t prove nothing until this, in Portugal there’s no tactic, they just play the ball without tactic, or defensive plans even more that in Spain, and i don’t see also that great personality since the Chelsea players doesn’t already even remember him (someone remember when he was talking to Cashley Cole or Drogba?), plus the fact that he putted Drogba and Lampard on the bench most of the times, he totally lost the control of the situation there…meh, i’m not saying that he will fail for sure but that he’ll be a risky choice as Martinez

      1. Yeah, no tactics, top teams snub Europa League (and that’s why they’ll do only a larger Champion League in fwe years), have you ever see two games of the Portugal league? i guess not, have you ever see Chelsea defence under Villas boas with Daviz Luiz running wild? i guess not…than, have you ever see Drogba and Lampard (i repeat, Drogba and Lampard) on bench to leave a place in the starting eleven for Torres and Romeu? have you ever see Chelsea with Villas Boas being humiliated by Napoli and 10 days after under Di Matteo win 4-1 the return game? i guess not, have you ever see how the players were speaking with him? i guess not, have you ever smoke crack? i guess yes.

  16. Question who is making these footballing decisions, Henry, what does he know about football, who is left at LFC to be creating a football philosophy so that we can get the right people. This is the problem know one is mentioning, can someone enlighten me please. YNWA

  17. i think fsg should either choose avb or capello coz martinez uses a 4-2-3-1 formation which did not work for wigan and we dont have a lot of creative midfielders who can back a striker but capello and avb like to play a 4-3-3 formation which helps liverpool alot coz we have 4 gr8 defenders and 3 midfielders in gerrard, kuyt and adam. we are also linked with a huge no. of strikers like de jong, dempsey, soldado, ba, llorente and hoilett

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