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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
It's 6pm on Sunday evening in Merseyside. The last supporter trudges out of the Anfield turnstiles, his head hung low. Red scarves are left strewn amongst the litter in the aisles of the Kop. Somewhere outside you can hear the gleeful chorus of 'Glory, Glory Man United'. Liverpool have been beaten heavily on their own turf and it's all over for Rafa Benitez. Despite his earlier vote of confidence, George Gillett swings the axe and the club search for only their eighth manager since Bill Shankly. So who's on the shortlist?

The Dream Choice - Jose Mourinho might have upset the Liverpool fans with his arrogant posturing, but they know a winner when they see one. A champion with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, he could galvanise the squad, cut out the silly errors and transform them from perennial also-rans to genuine contenders. But would he want to? Granted, he isn't a popular man in Italy and expectations are so high that only the Champions League will do, but would he really leave for this? A few years ago maybe, but with all the debts, in-fighting and chaos at Anfield he's more likely to just sit tight and wait for that vacancy at Old Trafford.


The Sentimental Choice - Kenny Dalglish was the last man to win a title at Anfield, all the way back in 1990. He's well respected in the game, and so he should be. He also won the league with Blackburn in 1995 and was halfway through rebuilding Newcastle United when he was prematurely sacked by Freddy Shepherd. In a managerial sense, he's been out of the game a long time, but he has returned to the club in an ambassadorial role, so he's not entirely out of the loop. That said, in a global game that has evolved swiftly in the last ten years, is a blast from the past really the best way forward?


The Glamour Choice - Jurgen Klinsmann was courted by Liverpool back in 2007 when the Americans were sounding out a possible replacement for Benitez. In the end, the talks came to nothing, but it was clear that the new owners rather admired the former German international and his modern views on the game. Unfortunately, those modern views would damn him at his eventual destination, Bayern Munich. A redesigned, feng-shui influenced training ground, complete with Buddhist statuetes, did little to aid his team as they struggled through the Bundesliga season and Klinsmann was sacked after less than a year. Still, at least he's available...


The Inside Choice - Jamie Carragher is the real heart of Liverpool FC. He lives and breathes football, is a keen tactical student of the game and has been a willing disciple of Benitez's teachings. He'll go into management at some point, so why not now? After all, the club hired Dalglish when he was still playing in the first team and the idea of promoting from within has always been popular at the club. This could be a return to the Boot Room days! He could have Dalglish or Roy Evans as his General Manager and usher in a new dawn of red dominance. Or, you know, maybe not....


The Cheap Choice - He's a former Champions League and La Liga winner with a long track record of success at smaller clubs. A tactical mastermind, he is well respected within the game and has an excellent record in Europe. There may be question marks about his ability in the transfer market, but he's brought in enough hits to make up for the misses. He's a popular figure with the fans and he knows the club inside out. He's Rafa Benitez and he's got four and half years left to run on his contract. To sack him would cost almost GBP20m. Of all the possible outcomes on Sunday night, by far the most likely is that Liverpool will keep faith with the Spaniard. Not because they want to, you understand, but because they can't afford not to.