Kenny Dalglish has today been sacked as manager of Liverpool football club. For me, this was the wrong decision (as I have previously explained in detail here), and he should have remained in charge for 2012/13 at the very least.
Despite winning more trophies in the last three months than Harry Redknapp has won in the previous four years, or Arsene Wenger has in the last seven, Dalglish’s contract was terminated. If a sentence ever demonstrated how finishing in the top four has become the be-all-and-end-all in football, that might well be it.
The Reds will be starting the new campaign with a different manager for the fourth season in a row, following Fenway Sports Group’s decision to dethrone the King of Anfield. But who will be coming in to replace Dalglish?
Two names very much in the frame at present are Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers. Both have performed well at smaller clubs, and they like their teams to play entertaining football. But I’m not convinced they’re ready for the step-up to a club of Liverpool’s size just yet.
I have to preface the following facts with an acknowledgement that the squads of the various teams, plus the expectations of the clubs, are wildly different. But consider this:
Martinez has won 34 of his 127 games in three seasons in charge of Wigan, whilst Rogers has 43 victories from 96 matches in two years at the helm at Swansea (with over half of these wins coming in the Championship too).
In Liverpool’s supposed worst season since the dawn of time (and I’m talking pre-1992 here folks), Kenny Dalglish won 24 games. In total, the Scot won 35 matches in all competitions (plus a shoot-out win following a draw in the Carling Cup final) in his second Anfield tenure, which lasted just sixteen months.
I’m not comparing the above win figures in order to suggest that these guys are nowhere near as good as Dalglish, it’s to illustrate the difference in expectation to what they are accustomed to.
Considering that the Reds have Europa League football next season, if Martinez (for instance) takes over then he will be expected to win about as many games in one season as he has in three seasons at Wigan.
I think both Rodgers and Martinez are decent managers, with great long-term potential, but they will not have known anything remotely like the expectation and scrutiny of being the Liverpool boss. They would have to improve their win rates by approximately two or three times in order to simply match Dalglish’s record, and he is perceived to have failed. That’s an enormous amount to take on, and it would be a huge risk to make either of them the new Liverpool manager in my opinion.
3 league titles
2 FA Cups
1 League Cup
549 points from 280 league games (1.96 per game)
Dalglish will always be the King at Anfield; which prince will take on the challenge of replacing him, and more importantly, bettering his recent record?
Whoever it is had better bear this in mind: one trophy, another final, a genuine top four challenge until March and some of the best football seen in recent seasons is apparently not good enough to keep the job. I for one do not envy whoever turns out to be the 20th Liverpool manager. The nineteenth will be one hell of an act to follow.
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.