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Are you Liverpool in disguise?

March 25, 2010

Expectation. Hope. Excitement… Disappointment. Reality check. Unrest. Am I talking about Manchester City, or Liverpool? Take your pick – They seem to be the same thing.

The cloud of expectation that looms over the City of Manchester Stadium is rather too quickly brewing into something resembling a storm-cloud, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution for it. Roberto Mancini arrived in the city boasting two of the world’s richest clubs with the task of guiding the blue side of Manchester into the top four as they seek to become Premier League champions within the space of 24 months. His mission was clear. No one said it would be easy, but it was clear. Now, he’s fast learning that being the manager of a club with Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and half of Robinho on its books is not as illustrious as it may seem.

Rafael Benitez has a much easier job on his hands. Or so it seemed. His mission? Keep the indispensible Fernando Torres at the club, continue to build a team that is capable of winning their first top flight title in over 20 years, and make sure fortress Anfield remains exactly that. 1 down, 2 to go. Liverpool’s demise has been as quick as City’s rise to the top of the money lists, and the fans on Merseyside are seeking change. Rafa has served Liverpool loyally and successfully over the course of 5 years, and he is a person and a manager who will be fondly remembered by all Liverpool fans. Forget his cautious approach and reluctance to kill a game off when we’re 1-0 up. Forget Albert Riera’s outburst that Rafa has no communication skills at all. And forget his often straight-batted comments under interview. He won the Champions League in his first year and brought Fernando Torres into our lives. That’s enough for me. For now.

This season has been nothing short of a disaster for Rafa, something that Mancini can sympathise with. Whilst his record as Manchester City manager is not in the slightest bit disastrous – 10 wins in 19 games – it’s not spectacular, and as far as Mr. Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is concerned, it’s not good enough. The highlight of his brief City career is undoubtedly a superb performance and result at the City of Manchester Stadium against the old enemy. Perhaps the forgiving, sympathetic portion of Blues fans will settle for that, but finishing in the Europa League spots is not what Mancini heard in his mission briefing. The same goes for Rafa. There’s one option, and one option only; Champions League football.

Not only are the two clubs similar in ambition, but they’re similar in strategy too. Those of you who watched the dour display of what was called football just over a month ago, you’ll have seen how both teams cancelled each other out and how a lack of ambition cost vital points for both parties. A lack of confidence, lack of morale, and general group disconnectivity led to one of the dullest 0-0 draws you’ll witness in the Premier League. It resembled more of a relegation scrap than a match between two sides boasting world-class players, fighting it out to play in Europe’s most prized competition. It is exactly this which looks like forcing Roberto Mancini and Rafael Benitez out of their respective clubs, sooner rather than later.

With the money in the pocket of the Arab owners, there is no margin for error for Manchester City. Neither is there time for the brave (or stupid) man that accepts the challenge of the City hotseat, and boy is it hot. It seems these days, it’s one slip up and you’re out. Mourinho, Hiddink, Ancelotti, even Guardiola. Those are names you’ve heard, and will hear in the future as to Mancini’s successor. They’re mission? Win the Premier League, and secure Champions League football for the next decade. Good luck.

With a lack of money at Anfield, there is more margin for error and a lot more time – especially when the clueless American owners can’t afford to sack the manager. For the next man to take on the Liverpool job, it will be a fantastic challenge to take Britain’s most successful club back to the top of the Premier League and winning trophies again. Mourinho, Klinsmann, Hiddink, and Martin O’Neill. The usual suspects. They’re mission? Fill that trophy cabinet and bring back the good days to Merseyside. Bring it on.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Tommy permalink
    March 25, 2010 9:46 pm

    Hiddink won’t come to Liverpool, as he have already accepted a job offer from the Ivory Coast national team and Guardiola is to good a manager to switch to a over-ambitious City-side, besides what manager with his head on the right place would swap Nou Camp for City of Manchester stadium???

    Mourinho is nothing special without a transfer budget of at least £100 mill. pr. year and Klinsmann… Don’t get me started on that one, not even an average manager in my eyes.

    The only realistic and good/great manager you have mentioned to take over after Benítez is Martin O’Neill. I believe that if Benítez don´t win the Premiership next season, or any trophies at all, he will be sacked, and Martin O’Neill would probably do it in 3-4 years, depending on how well he manages to adapt the players Benítez left behind, to his playing style.

    MON = The best manager in the Premiership.

  2. ColinBell permalink
    March 25, 2010 10:14 pm


    Where are you in the league?

    The gobby Blue Grievers won their Cup Final.

  3. Nawaf permalink
    March 26, 2010 12:07 am

    Wait, you mean you took the time to actually contemplate the facts instead of resulting to lazy journalism?! George imagine all the mental effort you could have saved by just saying that liverpool is a lost cause and the 118 year history of the club doesnt matter and is now a mid table team due to one seasons results. Oh yeah and dont forget to add how Rafa is a terrible coach who has done nothing, sack now please and forget!

    This was a refreshing article is a world of absolute BS, thanks and keep it up!

  4. Dave permalink
    March 26, 2010 2:08 am

    Martin O’Neill is the ‘last’ manage that LFC want! He’s done nothing!

  5. bob permalink
    March 26, 2010 2:23 am

    I’d expect just as much from a utd biased site! rome wasnt built in a day , but hey, a dig is a dig

  6. March 26, 2010 1:17 pm

    Martin O’Neill best manager in the league? I beg to differ!

  7. George permalink
    March 26, 2010 6:12 pm

    @Tommy – I wasn’t suggesting that the managers I named are in the running for the Liverpool job when Rafa goes. I was saying that those are names that have popped up in the past and have been mentioned as possible successors to Mr. Benitez.

    @Nawaf – Thank you for your feedback. I try to write articles that are well-thought out and factually correct, with a bit of room for people to enjoy and express their opinions. Thanks for reading!

    @the rest – Martin O’Neill is a superb manager. He’s taken Aston Villa from being an extremely mediocre side, and one of the most boring football clubs in England (I’d know as I used to regularly make the journey to Villa Park to watch them) to being exciting, and extremely tough to beat. Ashley Young, James Milner, Gabby Agbonlahor. All young, exciting talent who have big futures. They’re also competing in European football now and that’s a credit to O’Neill. I certainly wouldn’t turn him away if he wanted to Anfield job, but lets face it, he probably never will.

  8. March 27, 2010 6:15 am

    I think it’ll be sending a strong statement out if Liverpool do pick O’Neil or McLeish to all the big clubs that you don’t need a foreign manager to be successful, provided they succeed of course. There was once a trend to associate foreign manager with instant success and maybe now its the beginning of the reverse trend

  9. March 27, 2010 10:31 am

    Haha…The picture is really funny!!

  10. yaniv permalink
    March 27, 2010 2:54 pm

    @glamorousdiss- sry if i’m being ignorant, but i dint know that mon n mcleish were home grown managers.. I thought 4 sure d latter is scottish.. Eitherways, seems lyk this site is getting a lot of shit thrown at it.. I dont get d hatred.. Probably bcoz none of d articles r related 2 my team, but even then, i thought everyone loves d conspiracy theories.. Eitherways, i’ll still check on this site 4 d next blog.. N btw, i’m a gunner..

    • March 27, 2010 8:42 pm

      well sir alex ferguson is scottish and no one seems to classify him as a foreign manager so im nt gonna start the double standards..

  11. Hush permalink
    March 27, 2010 3:09 pm

    Next season will be very interesting to see who pushes on further up the table between City and Liverpool. In my opinion Liverpool’s poor season is purely down to the over cautious approach by Rafa. Premier League teams seem to have Liverpool’s number, similarly to how teams knew ‘how to beat’ Arsenal in recent years.

    Playing both Lucas and Mascherano (who I think is highly overated) puts shackles on the rest of the team. He asks Torres, Gerrard and Kuyt to go out and win their games for them.

    Personally, I think O’Neill would be an absolute dream appointment for Liverpool fans, especially if can bring the likes of Milner with him.

  12. April 1, 2010 4:37 am

    rafa need a hard work

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