Liverpool “gave serious consideration” to hiring Eddie Howe when searching for Brendan Rodgers’ replacement, naming him on the three-man shortlist alongside Jurgen Klopp.
The year was 2015 and Liverpool had dwindled down the candidates to three in their search for Rodgers’ successor after the Northern Irishman failed to right the ship at Anfield.
Klopp had just ended his highly successful seven-year spell at Borussia Dortmund whilst fellow shortlisted manager Carlo Ancelotti had been relieved of his duties at Real Madrid.
And while those two names were regularly thrown around the press amid the discussion for the top job, one went under the radar.
Howe was named alongside Klopp and Ancelotti as the front-runners to lead the Reds, with the technical director, now sporting director, Michael Edwards tasked with determining who “had the outstanding credentials” to land the job.
The Cherries boss fit the brief of a manager who had a desire to develop young players and play attractive football, which fell in line with the club’s transfer approach of recruiting players aged 26 or under.
But unlike the other two names on the list, experience, he was 37 at the time, was not on his side with his career having only just moved into the topflight.
Ancellotti, meanwhile, passed all criteria for his record in the Champions League and for his success with the likes of AC Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid, but it was his transfer record which saw a question mark emerge, as he often opted for older signings.
But Klopp was the man to tick every box, for his proven track record on the field, transfer businesses and playing style – not to mention having the character and charisma to match.
The links to Howe are interesting to note as he was of similar ilk to Rodgers in the sense that he had youth on his side, had worked his way through the ranks of English football, and would be another take at a ‘fresh approach’.
And whilst his approach would have fit in line with the club’s desire to ensure players possessed a re-sale value when they joined, like Rodgers, he was not the manager to lure star players his way.
Whether he would use Steven Gerrard like Rodgers did is questionable, but he would not have had the pulling power required to drag the Reds out of the hole they were starting to dig for themselves.
An example of a relative fit on paper, but in reality is one which would likely have struggled to take flight – and Edwards’ detailed recommendation for Klopp is one which would prove decisive in steering Liverpool Football Club back to their perch.
As nearly five years later, the German has added four major honours to the trophy cabinet and transformed the club so that it is all but unreconisable from the one he inherited.