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LIVERPOOL (FSG) CRISIS: Why Ancelotti the big gamble - not Klopp

COMMENT: Liverpool are not Real Madrid. Nor are they PSG. So why all noise about Carlo Ancelotti and the Anfield job?

First the qualifier: Brendan Rodgers did not deserve that on Sunday. After a decent result at Everton, the timing of Mike Gordon's call was ludicrous. The FSG chief delivered Rodgers the news over the phone, safely tucked away in Boston. It wasn't John W Henry, so happy to court publicity with his celebrated trips across the pond, but Gordon. Just charmin'.

And we say ludicrous because over 48 hours later, Rodgers' successor is still to be named. If Liverpool ... no sorry, let's get this right. If FSG thought it so clever to sack their manager eight games into the season and after a brave, battling point away to an in-form Everton, you'd like to think the 'brains trust' in Boston would have his replacement ready to step in.

Yet, with the common consensus that it's a two-horse race between Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp, the Italian has already stated in the last 24 hours he's heard nothing from Liverpool. And while we have news of Klopp being tabled a contract, again, nothing has been settled thanks to FSG's reluctance to dismantle its 'transfer committee', despite their dismal track record.

Sources on the ground on Merseyside tell tribalfootball.com that Klopp is the priority for Liverpool. But those with close connections to Anfield, working for the big broadsheets and radio stations, insist it will be Ancelotti who will succeed Rodgers.

But it's just too difficult to see such a scenario become reality. Ancelotti doesn't do 'rebuilds'. He takes title challenging teams and transforms them into title winners. Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea and before his European jaunt, AC Milan and Juventus... all clubs with virtually infinite resources (before Serie A's financial collapse, of course) and squads that just needed that little tweak Ancelotti can provide to bring home the silverware. That isn't Liverpool. Maybe 18 months ago, yes. But certainly not now.

In June, Silvio Berlusconi, the AC Milan president, sent his No2, Adriano Galliani, to Madrid with the brief: bring back Carlo. Galliani spent a week with Ancelotti, virtually living in his pocket, badgering him hour after hour about rebuilding the Rossoneri. Everything was discussed. Signings and sales. Bee Taechaubol's incoming €485 million. Every detail.

But upon his return to Milan, the contract Galliani had taken to Madrid remained unsigned. "But I do have," he joked, "a great pasta recipe. Ancelotti is an excellent chef!"

Y'see, Galliani doesn't do 'rebuilds', not even for Milan and Berlusconi. Which, in contrast, is all we have to judge Klopp on. Taking a sleeping giant like Borussia Dortmund, working in the shadow of Bayern Munich, and transforming them, thanks to canny signings and good old coaching methods, into a title contender at home and in Europe. Remind you of anything, Reds fans?

Danny Murphy is Liverpool through-and-through. But listening to him yesterday on talkSPORT, he really missed the mark. Danny claimed after Rodgers, Klopp would represent "another gamble" with an inexperienced manager. In contrast, Ancelotti was the experienced, sure pair of hands Liverpool now needed.

Well, firstly, the Rodgers "gamble", as Danny put it, actually worked. When he had the tools, Rodgers took Liverpool closer to winning the title than any Reds manager in Premier League history. It wasn't Rodgers who failed, it was FSG.

And secondly, given Liverpool's status today, who between Klopp and Ancelotti is the genuine, steady hand? For all his success, what sort of experience does Ancelotti boast taking on (never mind actually succeeding at) a job like Liverpool? Klopp, however, not only rebuilt and won a Double with Borussia Dortmund, but before BVB, led Mainz to their first ever promotion to the Bundesliga.

It's not the stuff of Real Madrid and Chelsea, but these days, neither is Liverpool.


What's gone largely unnoticed this week is that, all of a sudden, the game's best, young British manager is on the open market. Every Premier League gaffer will now be looking over their shoulder. You reckon Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa, or Newcastle United's Steve McClaren, were feeling the heat on Sunday morning - how were they were traveling by the evening?!

Chairmen across the country - and many across Europe - will be doing their sums and contacting their favourite intermediaries just to mark Brendan Rodgers' card. Give him the right players and he'll make your team contenders. He'll work with your academy. He can turn the mediocre into good and the good into great. And what's more, you'll be getting a manager with something to prove.

It won't feel like it now, but his dismissal could be a blessing in disguise for Rodgers. Off the pitch, he's had a terrible couple of years. To get away from Merseyside and start afresh in another city could be just what is needed at this point in Brendan's life.


If Jurgen Klopp is the man for Liverpool, he'll be no quick fix. It doesn't matter who FSG install as Brendan Rodgers' successor, so long as they lack football experience in the front office, Liverpool will never wake from their slumber.

We often cite Juventus as a model for Premier League clubs to follow. Why? Because it's so bloody simple. Two good, solid football men run that club - Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici. They work the phones. They instruct the scouts. They lean on a combined 70 years-plus of football experience to build a winning team on a fraction of the budget FSG allows Liverpool.

There's no Moneyball software. There's no transfer committee. If Patrice Evra, at 33, can make a difference, they sign him. Pirlo, at 32, was signed by Marotta and went onto win four consecutive Scudetti. No chance of such of veteran getting through the Shankly Gates with FSG in control.

Some of football's best modern minds are connected to Liverpool. The potential of a network including Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp, Sami Hyypia, Markus Babbel, etc. is incredible. But can you really see any of them tipping off Dave Fallows or Michael Edwards (members of the transfer committee) about a young lad they've seen running around in Croatia? Would such a call even be welcome?

The academics are running the show at Anfield - and they're failing. The spirit of the Boot Room is dead - and will remain so until they throw the pc's out the window and begin finding good football men to fill the club's football positions.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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