Kenny Dalglish has been less than two weeks removed from the Liverpool Manager position, and it seems each day there’s a new name that jumps and adds himself to the list of potential replacements after a disappointing 2011-2012 campaign, with only the Carling Cup trophy to show for anything indicative of minor success.
Louis Van Gaal is the latest name to be brought up on the table, but not as a manager necessarily. Perhaps as a football director or whatever name they want to give the position. This time, not out of a shortlist created by the people in charge at the club. Who is in charge of the club, actually, after it seems everyone involved with the disappointing season has been cast away?
Van Gaal actually offered himself to take over the position after a season without any work for the Dutch manager. His last position was as Bayern Munich head coach, leading them to the league title in 2010 and the Champions League final. In 2011 he finished a very disappointing third, and the known claims of his bad relationships with the players came up as another reason for the failure and eventually, the termination of his contract.
How should Liverpool fans feel about Van Gaal? There’s no doubt there are few managers in Europe with his credentials – titles with Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ in 2009 of all clubs, but he is a control freak and not exactly a player oriented manager, which might lead to dust ups and bust ups in the dressing room. He’s talking about having the fire in him for coaching a team, but is he the man for the long run?
Other names in the running have been around since the moment Dalglish was fired – Rafa Benitez has always been around as a possible replacement ever since he lost his Inter job. He’s got the fans backing, and generally was very successful with the team during his six seasons at Anfield. But there’s always that fear of taking a step backwards and going back to a head coach that might have maxed out on his potential to achieve something with the club.
There are three managers Liverpool seem most interested in – Andre Villas-Boas, although in the last 48 hours there’s been somewhat of a cooling off effect going in regarding his candidacy. Villas-Boas, despite what happened in Chelsea, is highly regarded for his tactical mind. Liverpool, with no Champions League football and possible an easier ownership atmosphere to work with, might be his place to thrive outside of Portugal.
Brendan Rogers was the first name out of the gate. His job with Swansea and the style the Welsh club showed during their fantastic debut season in the Premier League, finishing a shocking 11th. Maybe it was Swansea’s 1-0 win over Liverpool on the last day of the season that convinced the Liverpool head to go for the Northern Irish manager. Rodgers has turned down the initial offers, but it seems that there’s still a pursuit after him.
The third name is Roberto Martinez, who unlike Rodgers, had to stave off relegation for yet another season. So far, for three consecutive seasons, he’s managed to keep Wigan in the Premier League despite usually having to work with one of the weakest squads in the division. Wigan owner has given Martinez permission to speak with Liverpool, but is sending mixed signals by constantly warning his manager that it might not be the dream job he thinks it is.
Who will it be? Right now, Martinez seems like the favorite to win the race, but as new names come pouring in, it’s hard to make a safe gamble on who will be standing on the sidelines at Anfield in the 2012-2013 season. The shortlist of managers offers another view at the current situation of the British managers and English names specifically, with no English name offered to take the job.