The search is on for a new Liverpool manager following the sacking of Kenny Dalglish on Wednesday.
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Some may say the decision to sack the Scot was a harsh one, given that he led his beloved Reds to the FA Cup final having already securing the Carling Cup, but ultimately results in the Premier League did not meet expectations and whoever comes in will have to hit the ground running next season.
There are plenty of names flying about already but Liverpool may choose to take their time in order to make the best-possible appointment and here are our thoughts on the three early favourites to take charge at Anfield.
Andre Villas-Boas – 2/1
The Portuguese tactician lasted just nine months at Chelsea and will be desperate for a speedy return to management. Villas-Boas, or AVB as he came to be known as in the press, was a target for Liverpool before he joined Chelsea but as a free agent he may appeal to the Anfield hierarchy perhaps keen to recruit on the cheap.
For: Villas-Boas is a free agent and as such the club won’t have to pay any compensation to secure him as manager. The 37-year-old managed Portuguese side Porto for just one year but led them to four trophies, including the Europa League and the league title – with Porto undefeated in the Portuguese league for the entirety of the campaign. Villas-Boas is the youngest manager ever to win a European competition and will have the hunger to succeed after his struggles at Stamford Bridge.
Against: There is no getting away from the fact Villas-Boas failed to impress at Chelsea. Rumours suggested he couldn’t control, or had lost control of, the dressing room and the fact that Roberto Di Matteo managed to turn things around at the Blues so quickly after his departure will certainly raise questions as to whether he has what it takes to manage big players with big egos and succeed in the Premier League.
Roberto Martinez – 4/1
The current Wigan boss worked miracles at the DW Stadium this season to drag the Latics away from the drop zone. The Spaniard also enjoyed a successful spell as manager of Swansea and Martinez is the second favourite to replace Dalglish.
For: Martinez led Wigan to safety against all odds this season, picking up improbable wins over Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool along the way, and the Latics played an attractive brand of football too. Martinez is a manager who likes to play a free-flowing passing game, something the owners will want while he also has a decent record in the transfer market, having signed the likes of Victor Moses, Mohammed Diame and Ali Al-Habsi during his time as Latics boss.
Against: Martinez may have led Wigan to safety but he was also the manager who led them into danger in the first place. The Latics struggled until the closing stages of the campaign and at one point many expected the Spaniard to be axed by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan. It is easier to close the gap at the bottom than it is at the top and a late surge up the table won’t be enough for the Liverpool faithful. Martinez also has no experience of European football as a manager but does have five years experience as a boss.
Brendan Rodgers – 5/1
The current Swansea boss comfortably led the Welsh side to safety in their debut Premier League campaign. When it seemed as if Harry Redknapp was set to take charge of England, Rodgers was immediately highlighted as a potential successor at Spurs. Swansea were never really involved in the relegation battle, despite being tipped by many to drop straight back down to the Championship, and were hailed for their attacking, attractive brand of football.
For: The former Watford and Reading boss has a great record in the transfer market as well as on the pitch, having picked up the likes of Scott Sinclair, Michel Vorm and Danny Graham for the Swans. Swansea had a formidable record at the Liberty Stadium and their home form was key to their survival, and with Liverpool’s form at Anfield considered a major factor in Dalglish’s exit, it comes as little surprise that Rodgers has been tipped to take charge at Anfield.
Against: A big stumbling block is his lack of experience. He has overseen just one campaign in the Premier League, with the rest of his managerial experience coming at Championship level. Rodgers has never managed in European competition and has been a manager for just four years, with spells at Watford and Reading before he joined Swansea.
Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez still lives on Merseyside, is currently without a club and is seeking a return to management. The Spaniard can be backed at 10/1 to be given another chance at Anfield and has made it clear in the past he would relish a return to take charge of the Reds.
Former Barcelona and current Saudi Arabia boss Frank Rijkaard is 8/1, as is former England boss Fabio Capello. Some outsiders include Fulham boss Martin Jol, priced at 50/1, while Pep Guardiola, who stepped down as manager of Barcelona at the end of the season, is an unlikely 33/1 to succeed Dalglish.