With Liverpool struggling to make progress year on year in the league and current managerial incumbent, Kenny Dalglish, getting progressively pilloried many now believe that it’s time for a change of coach. The game has obviously evolved much since Kenny was last in charge at Anfield and, when I watch Liverpool play these days, it strikes me how Dalglish seems so powerless to affect games from the touchline. Maybe this is just a bad spell for Liverpool, or maybe the modern nuances of the game have just escaped Kenny. There is no doubt that he wants his team to win as much as any Liverpool fan but we have yet to see the sort of tactical masterstroke, during a game, that Sir Alex Ferguson or Martin O’Neill seem to pull off on an almost weekly basis.
Ah yes, Martin O’Neill, OBE. The man with the rarest combination of football management skills. He’s not only a great tactician but also knows how to motivate his players. He’s like a second father to most of those that he coaches. And, crucially, O’Neill also has a superb track record where it comes to signing a player. He has never once left a club in a worse situation than he found it and surely, at some stage, he will want to try his hand at managing a team that has the capacity to challenge for the league and in Europe.
Obviously he has just taken over at Sunderland – and what a job he has so far done. If the league had started when O’Neill had arrived, his team would now be in the thick of a title hunt. So, far be it for us to start touting around his services. The Mackems are themselves a club with a huge infrastructure – a sleeping giant if you will. They have a massive stadium and fanbase and the board have rarely been shy when it comes to spending money. Maybe, in time, Sunderland can do the improbable and finish in the top four themselves. I’d put nothing past O’Neill. But in terms of kudos, there are few bigger clubs in world football than Liverpool. If O’Neill was to be offered the Liverpool job at some stage, he would surely find it difficult to reject. All we can state, with some certainty, is that it would be hard to envisage a better next manager for Liverpool than the Irishman.
So, should Liverpool pull out all the stops and try to lure Mr.O’Neill?