Andre Villas-Boas - 9/2 At thirty-four years of age, the Portuguese manager has many years to offer and already has great experience. His first job as a manager was with the British Virgin Islands in 1998 but he resigned a year later looking for a managerial position more worthwile. He spent the next ten years as a part of Mourinho's team of coaches. At the start of 2009-10, AVB took the post as manager of Portuguese Primeira Liga side Academica where he saved them from relegation and reached the Portuguese League Cup semi-final. He hade a huge instant impact and in the summer of 2010 was offered the job at rivals FC Porto which he accepted. He won the Portuguese Super Cup, the Premeire Liga, the Potuguese Cup and the Europa League all in the one season. This attracted the attention of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich who hired AVB for the 2011/2012 season. However, AVB struggled to lead the Chelsea squad and was sacked in March 2012 he was sacked for poor results.
Roberto Martinez - 5/4 The thirty-eight year old Spannish manager has made quite a name for himself in England. He started his managerial career with Swansea City in late 2006/2007 and went the last 11 games with just one defeat, securing a play-off spot in the League One. Next season he won the League One, securing promotion to the Championship. He had a solid 2008/2009 season, finishing mid-table in the Championship before signing for Premier League side Wigan Athletic. 2009/2010 finished with Wigan avoiding relegation but only just. The next two seasons ended with bottom-half finishes.
Rafael Benitez - 7/2 The former Liverpool manager would be a favoured choice by the fans but may not be by the board. The Spaniard became a youth coach for Real Madrid in 1986. He had success and took jobs at Real Valladolid (1995) and Osasuna (1996) but failed to make an impact and was sacked from both jobs. He did, however, make an impact with Tenerife in 2000/2001, where he got them promoted to the Spannish top flight. He made a name for himself with Valencia, whom he joined the following season. It was here that he won La Liga twice and won the UEFA Cup (now Europa League). This attracted the attention of Liverpool who hired him in the summer of '04. He finished fifth in the league that season which was disappointing but he won the Champions League that year after "that game". He won the F.A. Cup in 2006 after another dramatic penalty shoot-out. The next season he reached the Champions League final again but was beaten by A.C. Milan this time. His next big triumph was the signing was Fernando Torres who scored 33 goals in a season where Liverpool reached another Champions League semi-final, where Chelsea were the victors. The 2008-2009 season saw Liverpool play their best football in years and finished second, just four points off of Man Utd in first. The next season was poor, however, as Liverpool finished just seventh and were knocked out of the Champions League Group Stages. He was sacked but was hired by Internazionale that summer. He struggled to find form and was sacked later that season. Ever since, Rafa has stated his desire to manage Liverpool once again.
Michael Laudrup - 11/2 Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Laudrup's first try at managing professionally was with Danish side Brondby in 2002. In a four year spell where Laudrup developed his own style of short-passing football, Brondby won the cup twice and the league once, while finishing runners-up on several occassions. In 2006, he could not agree terms with the Brondby board and left. He joined Getafe in 2007 where he reached the Spannish cup final and UEFA Cup quarter-final. He handed in his resignation at the end of the season and joined Spartak Moscow but was sacked just seven months in after some disappointing perfomrances. He joined Mallorca in 2010 and saved them from relegation but resigned due to conflict with the Director of Football at the club.
Brendan Rodgers - 6-1 Another manager who has made a great name for himself in England. The Northern-Irish man dived in to his managerial career with Watford in 2008/2009 in the Championship . He managed to guide Watford to thirteenth. He joined old club Reading the following season but resigned mid-way through the 2009/2010 season after a string of poor results. He joined Swansea City in June 2010 and the following season saw Swansea gain promotion to the Premier League. Rodger's debut season in the Premier League saw him guide Swansea to a very respectable eleventh position.
Liverpool FC 1-2 Arsenal FC (H) BPL, 03/03/12 Robin Van Persie 90' (2nd) 1-2 "Van Persie's timed his run to perfection! And what a finish! That is a beauty from Robin Van Persie!"
Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool FC (A) BPL, 11/02/12 Wayne Rooney 50' (2nd) 2-0 "Spearing under pressure, loses out to Valencia, Rooney in for a second and he's got it! First five minutes of the second half and Wayne Rooney runs riot against Liverpool"
Chelsea FC 2-1 Liverpool FC (N) FA Cup Final, 03/05/12 Didier Drogba 52' 2-0 "Lampard turns Spearing and passes to Drogba who makes space for himself and scores with a clinical finish! There was only ever going to be one man to score the decider in a cup final for Chelsea and that man is Didier Drogba! This goal really epitomises the difference in class today!"
"The memories of the season gone by are flashing through my head. How could a team that I played for during the Golden Years perform this poorly? This season was like quicksand, we kept sinking. We won the Carling Cup but that doesn't change the fact that we were brutal. I can feel this large ache in my chest and the weight of Sammy Lee on my shoulders. I know that there is something I can do but what is it? Liverpool is a disaster! The board have already decided to loan Carroll out for a season and bring in three relatively unknown players. Kenny has been sacked and all hope seems to be gone."
It was 11 a.m. when I decided to get out of bed. It was time to face the real world. I had a long shower which failed to cheer me, I was that down. When I had dried off, I went down-stairs to the kitchen where my wife Elaine was baking. She looked at me and smiled but she knew that there wasn't anything that could cheer me up.
Elaine: "You got a call today."
Me: "Who was it from?"
Elaine: "Ian Ayre. He wants you to be at Anfield on Friday to discuss manager candidates. Are you ok with that?"
Me: "I guess. There is a lot of things I would change about the club and I want my voice to be heard."
It was then that I started jotting things down in the notebook that I always carry inside my head.
8.58 a.m. I was driving up Anfield Road towards Anfield. I could see the historic stadium looming over the run-down houses around it. Just seeing it brought back memories of my playing days. The goals I scored, set-up or otherwise contributed to. The atmosphere generated by the fans and the passion of the players made Anfield the Home of European Football.
As I approached the stadium, a security gaurd opened the Shankly Gates for me to drive through. I approached the car park and there were four very expensive cars parked there along with one, slightly less expensive, car. I apprehensively parked my Wolkswagen Passat at the end of the row. I turned off the engine and took a deep breath. "Time for action," I thought. I got out of the car and made my way towards the Boot Room Sports Cafe, where I knew the directors would be.
I entered the Sports Cafe and there was five people around a long table, with one seat free. At either end of the table was Thomas Werner and John W. Henry. The other three were Ian Ayre, Steve Clarke and Steven Gerrard. There was a serious look upon their faces. In front of each person and the empty seat was a pile of sheets which seemed to hold pictures of managers on top. I could see Andres Villas Boas' face staring back at me.
They each shook my hand as I reached the table. We all sat down and looked up at John Henry.
John Henry: "So now that we are all here, let us get started with this meeting. We are here to discuss who the next manager of this football club could be. Myself and Ian have assembled a shortlist of five managers who we think would be an appropriate choice to lead this club. The candidates are: Andres Villas-Boas, Roberto Martinez, Michael Laudrup, Brendan Rodgers and Rafael Benitez. Does everybody agree with these choices?"
Steve Clarke: "May I have a say in this?"
John Henry: "You were invited Steve, what do you have to say?"
Steve Clarke: "I think that I should be the next manager, I have been here with Kenny for over a year now. I know our strengths and our weaknesses. I know where we must improve and who to sell. Dramatic change is needed and I should be the one to lead this."
Me: "That is a very arrogant statement Steve. And if I'm to be honest, the club does not need a structural change but a mental change. We are still looking at the footballing world from the top of the tower but we have failed to look at it from the ground."
Steve Clarke: "Who are you to quetion me? Where have you been for the last twenty years? Judging us from your little pundit table in Ireland alongside the idiots Dunphy, Brady and Giles! Why should I not be the manager of this club?"
Me: "If you are the right person for the job, you would have opened your mouth about the lack of progress made. You would have tried to fix things but you didn't! You free-rided off of Kenny's hard work over the year. Ok, he didn't do so well but he worked hard which is something that is needed for this club to progress!"
Thomas Werner: "Enough! Steve, you have been very arrogant so I would like you to leave this meeting and report for work on Monday!"
Steve Clarke: "No, I quit! I've had enough of this shite!"
Steve Clarke exits in a huff. Everybody begins to look at me.
Me: "I apolgise. If you want me to leave, I will leave."
Ian Ayre: "No. You have spoken our minds and I could not agree more that we need a change of perspective."
Steven Gerrard: "I could not agree more with you and Ian. We have pretended that we are in a bad dream but this is reality. We need to stop and look at ourselves. No more patience, no more lies. It is time for action."
John Henry: "Yes, we need action so this is why I invited you (looking at me) to this meeting. I have listened to some of your match commentary and punditry and was very impressed by your knowledge and your passion."
Me: "Thank you but I think it is time we re-focus ourselves towards the purpose of this meeting."
Thomas Werner: "Yes, let us return to the shortlist of managers.
18.57 p.m. John Henry: Ok guys, I think that now is a good time to finish this meeting. We have decided that the five managers are flawed and would not be the right choice. Thomas and Ian, can you guys stay back for a minute after?
Thomas Werner: "Yeah, no problem John."
Me and Steven Gerrard exit.
John Henry: "I think we found our next manager. The way he dealt with Steve Clarke earlier and the way he described our need of change of perspective was quite inspiring. He knows what we need and I'm sure that he would do well."
Thomas Werner: "Yes, I agree. We should hire him."
Ian Ayre: "Let us discuss this further tomorrow after the end-of-season press-conference."
John Henry: "I know that all may seem lost but the fans should not worry. This club is strong and we will only get stronger. But we need the support of the fans, the players need the support of the fans. Kenny Dalglish may be gone but his legacy will always remain here, buried in the roots of the club and here, in our hearts. You may wonder why you should suppport a club during their hard times but the reason is simple: it takes both glory and pain to be able to truely fall in love with a club.
This is a club that will fight for every point, for every inch on the field. We know who our next manager will be and we will go in to talks with him soon. He is determined and has great knowledge of the game. We do not only need a new manager but we also need passion. The fans were terrific last season and we hope that they will be terrific again this season. Will you answer are plea? Will you be there to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone"? Yes, you will because we are Liverpool Football Club!"