Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughOh my god, they killed Kenny - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Oh my god, they killed Kenny - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Oh my god, they killed Kenny

If there was one piece of breaking news to take the attention away from Roy Hodgson’s England squad selection, then the story that Kenny Dalglish has been sacked by Liverpool is that one piece. When it was announced that the Scot had been given his marching orders by the Reds, social networks went crazier than a Sergio Aguero goal to hand Manchester City the title.

When the team for the European Championships emerged at around one o’clock Wednesday afternoon, despite the best efforts of many to sabotage the announcement, Twitter went into somewhat of a meltdown, with much of the debate regarding the inclusion of Stewart Downing and the lack of Micah Richards and Michael Carrick.

Yet, if anyone was to trounce Hodgson’s first big breaking news story, it was to be the man who replaced him at Anfield; King Kenny. The football season may have come to a dramatic conclusion last weekend, but that hasn’t stopped the football conveyer belt of controversy from belting out some much needed talking points between now and Euro 2012.

So, with not a flourish but a whimper, Dalglish’s second spell in charge of Liverpool came to an abrupt end. Having coming in 18 months to steady a sinking ship that Hodgson himself had inherited, many of the fans were praising his arrival and felt it had come around six months too late. A number of the Liverpool faithful wanted him to come in at the same time as Hodgson, despite the previous owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillet, plumping for the now-England coach.

Dalglish was labelled the saviour of the club when he took charge of the first-team last January as they club went on an impressive run that saw them end the season in sixth, including a run of just one loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur between the time he took over and the final game of the campaign.

A big summer ensued, with the likes of Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam just three of the players that arrived at the club. Expectations, for a club of Liverpool’s stature, were understandably high with the fans confident that Kenny was the manager to achieve the success they craved.

However, the previous nine months have done little but convince the board that Dalglish was the right man to take them forward. A Carling Cup win did little to pave over the poor Premier League form, which saw them achieve a win ratio of just 33%. The owners, Fenway Sports Group and to be specific, chairman Tom Werner, conceded on the day of his sacking that they would trade in the domestic success in order achieve a higher finish in the Premiership, evidently conceding that the fan favourite wasn’t the man to take the club forward.

Many felt he deserved one final crack at bringing success back to Anfield, but in my opinion, his final chance arrived in the form of the FA Cup, which they ultimately lost to Chelsea 2-1. Many have been linked with the now vacant Liverpool hot-seat, including Roberto Martinez, Andre Villas-Boas, Jupp Heynckes, a possible return of Rafa Benitez and even, controversially, David Moyes.

Naturally, the last name on the list is very much unlikely to swap the blue of Merseyside for red, but the other names mooted are all viable options. Villas-Boas is the current favourite with Benitez a close second, and if they are looking to return to a previous favourite, the Spaniard is the man the club should look to bring in.

Rafa the gaffer: MK: II

Benitez was sacked in 2010, despite a second place just the season before his dismissal. However, a seventh place finish in his last campaign ultimately led to his demise. Yet, if he had received the required backing of the previous owners, it may have cost Benitez his job. Many saw what he achieved and the potential that was there to further the success of the team, yet without the backing of Hicks and Gillet, he failed to strengthen adequately to take them to the next level.

Now, with the Reds under new owners and, quite evidently, prepared to spend big, I believe Benitez could be the man to re-take over the reins at Anfield. The board have already demonstrated their willingness to hire a former manager to take charge so why not give Rafa another go at the role? He still has the experience and knowledge of the game and with the right backing, could be another success with the club.

Furthermore, with Benitez currently out of work, the club wouldn’t have to spend monumental amounts on compensation to any club to secure the new manager. Either way, I believe that a return of Rafa could well be on the cards and judging from a number of fans on Sky Sports News, I am not the only one.

Who Liverpool will actually go for

It was confirmed during the Liverpool press conference to confirm Dalglish’s sacking that the club will be looking to appoint a manager under 45 in order to allow them the necessary time to instil his plans and vision for the club. This, therefore, all but rules out a number of the aforementioned candidates, bar Martinez and favourite Villas-Boas. With the age limit set, it also includes Swansea City’s Brendan Rodgers and Norwich City manager Paul Lambert, both of whom have enjoyed success in their first stints in the Premier League.

The former Chelsea manager would be an astute appointment, provided he has the backing of the board unlike his time spent at Stamford Bridge. However, many are still confident that they will go for Martinez after his impressive ability to again keep Wigan Athletic in the Premiership with very limited funding must have surely appeased FSG.

Naturally, the Reds owners must be hoping his style of attacking football can be incorporated with the current players Dalglish had at their disposal without spending as much as they have over the last 18 months. The only worry is; is Martinez ready for the step-up to a big club? Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has, to his credit, already stated he won’t stand in the way should the Reds come calling, much as he did last summer when Aston Villa came calling.

But, the chance for the Spaniard to crash and burn is a very, very big one to take. Like Hodgson, the pressure will be on him from the beginning and the Liverpool fans, every expectant for success, will be ready to criticise him should he falter during the first five or so games of his tenure. At just 38-years-old, he may have already accumulated five years managerial experience, three of which in the Premiership, but is he mature and skilled enough to handle the senior players of the Reds dressing room and, perhaps more importantly, the fans? Highly unlikely.

If the opportunity presents itself, a move for an older manager may be the best case scenario for the club. Heynckes would be the first choice, should they pry him away from Bayern Munich, before, perhaps, promoting him to a director of football role with a younger head coming in i.e. Martinez. Either way now is a very clinical time for Liverpool. They need to make the right appointment and the sooner it is done, the better for the stability of the club off the pitch and success on it.

Ben McAleer