As the Fenway Sports Group axe continues to swing down on the staff of Liverpool Football Club, the most important and shocking decision yet was made today as Kenny Dalglish parted company.
This leaves Liverpool without a manager, a chief executive, director of football, head of sports science, head of communications or a new stadium – and rumours are abound that managing director Ian Ayre has been chopped too.
So who is worthy of filling the boots of Kenny Dalglish, arguably Liverpool’s most adored player of all time and manager on two occasions? We take a look at the top five candidates for the Anfield hot seat…
The Wigan boss has been heavily linked with the Reds over the last week, with many suggesting FSG have been impressed in the way he has got the Latics playing and his shrewd nose in the transfer market. Martinez showed his loyalty last year when he turned down an offer to join Aston Villa to stay at Wigan, who narrowly avoided relegation this season. 38-year-old Martinez, former manager of Swansea City, is the bookies favourite.
Former Scotland international, Paul Lambert has enjoyed relative success as manager of Norwich City, guiding them to promotion to the Premier League from League One in successive seasons. Having previously had experience in management spells at Livingston, Wycombe and Colchester, 42-year-old Lambert has been tipped to join a bigger Premier League club in recent years. On Norwich’s first season back in the top flight, they finished just five points behind Dalglish’s Liverpool. Lambert, who took his coaching badges in Germany, is favourite for the vacant Aston Villa job.
The Swansea boss, 39, has masterminded a resurgence in fortunes at the Liberty Stadium, got the Swans playing attractive football, and saw them promoted through the Championship play-offs to the Premier League last year. He previously has had spells at Watford and Reading, with a win ratio of 44% at Swansea. Swansea also finished the league season just five points behind the Reds.
The Borussia Dortmund boss boasts a remarkable 57% win record at the German side since joining in 2008. He has guided them to the Bundesliga title for two years running and was named German Manager of the Year last year. They completed the league and cup double this year, getting their hands on the DFB-Pokal. Previously to Dortmund, Klopp, 44, had managed Mainz and guided them to promotion to the Bundesliga from the second tier of German football.
A name that hasn’t left the minds of Liverpool fans since he was shown the door by former club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett in the summer of 2010. Many still feel Benitez wasn’t allowed to finish the job he set out to do, which was increasingly aggravated by financial problems caused by the Reds’ former owners. Now 52, Benitez is currently without a job and living on the Wirral.