It may seem unfair for a manager’s future to hinge on a game away at Old Trafford and the result of this match alone hasn’t dictated Rafa’s future, but results this weekend including our defeat have now given us a slim chance at best of reaching the Champions League next season.
Even if you’re a fan of Rafa’s and still believe he’s the man to take Liverpool forward, I would get used to the fact that he won’t be here next season whoever is in charge in the boardroom. Hicks and Gillett, already having considered replacing him once, are unlikely to need much arm-twisting to remove him now as long as they can afford to do so. With the club seemingly going backwards and Rafa’s support waning, it wouldn’t be the hugely unpopular decision it would have been 2 years ago.
If new investors are found they will want a return on their investment and there is a fair chance that Rafa will not be trusted with substantial transfer funds in order to achieve this. Tactically sound he may have proven at times during the last 6 years but few could argue he is a magician in the transfer market.
The best outcome for all maybe is for Rafa to be finally given the chance to manage Real Madrid. This may mean he is offered a lucrative contract before being sacked and therefore doesn’t cost us a fortune in compensation. Whatever the order of events, a new manager after the World Cup but before the new season starts is becoming inevitable. Who that will be however is a much harder call. The current contenders are considered below:
Jose Mourinho (Current odds 9/4)
Certainly wouldn’t be welcomed by all after his numerous outbursts whilst at Stamford Bridge but you can’t question his ability nor his own confidence in this ability. Jose has previously expressed an interest in returning to England after Inter Milan and there probably wouldn’t be too many jobs he would consider apart from perhaps Anfield and the Theatre of Silence. However, with such a high reputation it’s hard to see him agreeing to such a move unless he was given reasonable funds to improve the squad and make a genuine challenge for the Premiership and Champions League.
Probability – Those odds seem way too short to me
Kenny Dalglish (Current odds 3/1)
I can only imagine he’s currently 2nd favourite on the basis that we might need a temporary manager if Benitez were to go before the end of the season. With the season drawing to a close and little to play for, this surely seems less of a likely option now. As my boyhood hero, I will always worship King Kenny but having not managed a team for over a decade he would be a very strange choice to turn round our fortunes in the long-term.
Probability – Odds should lengthen over the next few weeks
Alex Mcleish (Current odds 5/1)
Don’t fall of your chair, yes really Alex Mcleish is 3rd favourite to take over as our next manager. Okay so he did very well as manager of Rangers and has done a decent job at Birmingham but he’s hardly got the pedigree of a world class manager that we’d want. However, if there are no major boardroom changes and we’re still running the club on a shoestring this is probably the level of manager we’d go for. Cheaper to get than all the bigger names but hardly the inspiration that Torres and Gerrard might want to stay with us
Probability – Seems a very short price but that’s what worries me
Martin O’ Neill (Current odds 10/1)
Probably most people’s current choice if we went for a British manager. His experience in England is considerable and he has certainly been one of those who has often over-achieved in terms of results and league positions. However, with an American owner who appears to be more supportive and with a good largely English squad he has built, would he really want to walk away from that to a club that may well finish lower in the league this season. A big transfer kitty and the chance of restoring a huge club to former glories may convince him but it’s a long shot. If we get some new funds and can’t get Mourinho then perhaps he’s a decent alternative
Probability – The odds seem about right
Laurent Blanc (Current odds 10/1)
Surprisingly short price for a relatively inexperienced manager. However, he has done very well in France with Bordeaux to overthrow the all-dominating Lyon side of the last few years, but as I’m sure you’re already saying –that’s the French league. Personally I think he’d be an odd choice but as a World Cup winning captain with a decent managerial record so far, he’d probably attract more top class players than Mcleish
Probability – Unlikely
Mark Hughes (Current odds 12/1)
Built up a decent side at Blackburn with modest transfer funds available but hardly set the world alight with the millions available at Man City. In any event he was a Manc for 13 years over 2 separate periods and would hardly be a popular choice.
Probability – Surely not
Jurgen Klinsmann (Current odds 12/1)
Surely only so far up the list because of the initial approach a couple of years ago. He had a shocker at Bayern Munich, lasting only 9 months before being sacked. Though a talented player he has no club management pedigree at all. Let’s hope for our club’s sake that the owners have now dismissed him as a replacement for Rafa.
Probability – Remote, I pray
Gus Hiddink (Current odds 16/1)
Great experience with proven track record but having just agreed to become new manager of Turkey in August, it appears unlikely that he will go back on that agreement. Perhaps at aged 64 he is more suited to a less demanding day to day role of a Premier League Manager and therefore sadly we may have missed our chance with Gus.
Probability – Very unlikely, sadly
Roy Hodgson (Current odds 16/1)
We’d hardly be dancing outside the Shankly Gates if this was the choice but you can’t question how well he has done at Fulham. He’d be relatively cheap considering the level of experience he’s had but I can just imagine the conversation between Torres and his agent –
“It’s alright Fernando, you’ll be okay at Liverpool now. Roy Hodgson is going to be the new manager”
Probability – Did I say how much a liked Alex Mcleish?
Bernd Schuster (Current odds 20/1)
Uninspiring and having been discussing management of Xerez of which he is/was part-owner then hopefully it’s a non-starter
Probability – Bernd who?
Frank Rijkaard (Current odds 25/1)
After proving himself to be a truly vile player for spitting twice at Rudi Voller in the World Cup, he went on to be a well respected and attack-minded manager at Barcelona. He’s also got the name to attract big players but hasn’t obviously had the experience in England. Currently at Galatasaray, surely he deserves better than that.
Probability – Yes okay we’ll take him
The rest of the ‘ahem’ contenders
Marcello Lippi (25-1) – Possible after the World Cup, not a bad choice but expensive presumably
Phil Scolari (25-1) – No, you’re okay thanks
Marco Van Basten (25-1) – No nonsense manager, currently available. I could be persuaded
Bruce Arena (33-1) – Yes, seriously he’s on the list
Steve Mclaren (33-1) – Now this is getting silly
The long shots
Kevin Keegan (40-1) – That’s all we need, a manager for 3 games
Greame Souness (50-1) – Now where did I park that Delorean?
Roy Keane (100-1) – No comment. There might be children reading
David Beckham (500-1) – Well let’s see now. Would we have any tactics do you think?
Not on the list
Jamie Carragher – Maybe 5 years too early, one day though hopefully
Odds courtesy of Skybet