Who will want to join Liverpool in their present state?
A nightmare season for Liverpool was capped off by the eventual departure of manager Rafa Benitez last week.
Opinion remains divided on the success of the Spaniard’s tenure at Anfield. With many critics pointing to his mistakes in the transfer market and strange tactical decisions as key reasons for Liverpool’s demise this season.
While it is true Rafa made some errors, particularly in the past 12 months, they were far outweighed by his earlier achievements – most notably his Champions League win in 2005 – as well as the failures at board-room level where owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have dealt in broken promises, burdening the club with debt and crushing the morale of a large and loyal fan base.
For that reason Rafa will always be an Anfield hero and the fans’ anger at his departure instead turned to Hicks and Gillett, with the burning of an American flag a symbolic, if controversial, gesture of the fans’ displeasure at the club’s current owners.
The one encouraging note to this story for Red fans will have been the news that Kenny Dalglish will oversee the search for a new boss. The experienced Scot knows what it is like to manage Liverpool and so will know what to look for in perspective candidates.
However, the question is who will want to join a club that appears in a constant state of turmoil? Hicks and Gillett have already said the sale of the club could take years not months, meanwhile the club somehow have to stump up the cash to cover interest payments of their huge debt without the financial booster of Champions League football next season.
Meanwhile, the future of three of the clubs world class stars, Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano, remains uncertain. All three will be looking to help justify their respective nations’ World Cup odds in South Africa this summer, and could attract attention from potential suitors. With funds limited, will one or more of them be sacrificed to help build the team elsewhere?
It is hard to see the likes of Martin O’Neill and Roy Hodgson leaving their secure jobs to join the current Anfield circus, not least with the risk that new owners could demand their own man at the helm as soon as they take over.
What is more likely is a temporary manager will take the reins in order to steady the ship before a new man is appointed by the new owners, Dalglish himself is among the favourites in the online odds to take charge.
But sadly for Liverpool fans, the wait for new owners to oust Hicks and Gillett could drag on for some time yet.