Ex-Liverpool player could lead his team to major final this week amid Anfield managerial vacancy

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Nearly two decades on from Liverpool’s unforgettable European Cup triumph in Istanbul, several members of Rafael Benitez’s team have since gone into management.

Xabi Alonso is the standout in that regard, guiding Bayer Leverkusen to a first-ever Bundesliga title this month as well as the last four of the Europa League, and he mightn’t be the only Reds hero of 2005 with a major continental final in the diary this year.

Harry Kewell’s involvement against AC Milan 19 years ago was cut short through injury, but he’s enjoying much better fortune in charge of Japanese giants Yokohama F Marinos, who could reach the decider of the Asian Champions League this week.

They’ll need to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit in their semi-final against Ulsan Hyundai, but the 45-year-old has urged his side to draw inspiration from Liverpool’s Istanbul heroics when they host the South Korean club on Wednesday.

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As per The Japan Times, the Australian said: “I was part of a special team that night that was able to come back from a scenario where a lot of people thought it was dead and buried. 

“It just goes to show that a game is never finished, especially when you’ve got a hunger and a desire in a team. I see that hunger and desire in this team to go out there and do something magical.”

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Kewll only took over at Yokohama in January but he’s enjoyed a fine start to life in Japan, winning seven of his first 13 games and taking his team to the cusp of a major continental final.

It’s proving to be redemptive for the 45-year-old, whose four managerial jobs in England (Crawley, Notts County, Oldham, Barnet) lasted 18 months or less. In fact, he accumulated just 22 games in charge of the second and fourth of those clubs combined (Transfermarkt).

Liverpool are currently on the lookout for a new manager, but the Australian’s far from stellar record in League Two and the National League obviously rules him out as even a remotely viable contender to take over from Jurgen Klopp.

Nonetheless, Kewell could put himself in the shop window for a return to Europe if he were to win the Asian Champions League with Yokohama, just like one of his predecessors at the Japanese club – Ange Postecoglou lifted a league title there in 2019 prior to managing Celtic and now Tottenham.

We’d love to see the former Reds attacker taste continental glory in his current post and go on to have a prosperous career in management, especially after his inauspicious spells in England previously.

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