With six defeats in seven games leaving Liverpool as close to the relegation zone as the Champions League places it appears likely that the Fenway Sports Group will look to relieve Kenny Dalglish of his duties at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
But as the club drifts from titles challengers to failing to earn Champions League football the options are limited in which suitable manager would be willing to take over at Anfield.
SportsNewsIreland takes a look at some of the potential candidates for the job.
Marcelo Bielsa – Athletic Bilbao
The Athletic Bilbao manager has earned high praise for his style and results since taking over at the Basque club last year and the Europa League triumph over Manchester United was a showcase earmarking him as one of the hottest managerial properties at present. Though he has struggled to juggle the extended European run with a coherent league campaign, Pep Guardiola’s description of him as ‘the best there is’ and his side’s tails-up performance in Old Trafford guarantee that a number of clubs will be enquiring about him over the summer.
Pros: Bielsa’s high-tempo attacking approach tempered with a taut defence look well suited to the English game. He has also shown in Europe this season, and by bringing Chile to the 2010 World Cup, that he has the nous to succeed in knock-out competitions.
Cons: The ‘Europa League upstart takes over struggling English powerhouse’ may appear a little too familiar to a certain London club’s recent experience for some people’s liking.
Brendan Rodgers – Swansea City
Swansea have caught the eye of many an admirer this season, with their refreshing take on first season survival and though Rodgers has deflected any suggestion that he will move onto a new challenge this summer, the opportunity to take on the Anfield role may prove too tempting to turn down.
Pros: Rodger’s robust, possession-based approach would suit many of Liverpool’s current squad, a fact that will not be overlooked by Fenway’s Moneyball following owners.
Cons: The absence of any real experience at the top level and in Europe may prove a sticking point as the Reds become ever more desperate to regain their place at the top table.
Harry Redknapp – Tottenham Hotspur
With Spurs on the verge of solidifying a place among England’s elite their chairman Daniel Levy may not be willing to allow the club to idle while Redknapp fulfils his civic duty in Poland and Ukraine. As he has shown again at his time with Tottenham, Redknapp’s greatest strength is his assuredness – he picks his best 11 and sticks with it where possible, something Liverpool could benefit greatly from.
Pros: His arm around the shoulder, ‘triffic lad’ take on player management may help get the best out of some of the ‘big personalities’ in the Anfield dressing room.
Cons: Redknapp is very much a quick-fix solution, if Liverpool are to challenge for championships a new manager will need time. Also despite his protestations otherwise, the wheeler-dealer persona still dogs him. He may not have read Moneyball.
Didier Deschamps – Olympique Marseille
After dragging Marseille to their first Ligue 1 title in 18 years, Deschamps entered ‘long-discussions’ with the Anfield top brass about taking over post-Benitez but decided that the time wasn’t right for his desired move to English management. Since then he has enjoyed a turbulent time at Les OM, taking them to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since they won the trophy in 1993 as well as enduring a seven match losing streak including being dumped out of the cup by a third-tier side. Deschamps looks likely to exit if opportunity knocks but it remains to be seen how much credit he has burned after an uneven season.
Pros: Always orthodox, the player Cantona derided as a ‘water-carrier’ has taken a long-term and dogmatic approach to management, something which would suit Liverpool after a couple of uneasy years.
Cons: Marseille’s slump this season is a series blot on his copybook and has undermined talk of him being a future heavyweight manager.
Rafael Benitez – None
Out of work since an acrimonious departure from Inter Milan, Benitez has been linked with a number of jobs in England but looks unlikely to take over at a club without Champions League football. But a sense of unfinished business at Liverpool lingers and though he was visibly disenfranchised by the support towards the end of his tenure, time may have healed some wounds and his return may look less like a step backwards than an act of pragmatism.
Pros: He is still an accomplished manager and would seem likely to have Liverpool challenging for Europe sooner rather than later without the need for a big pay out.
Cons: Not a man for turning, it remains that there was good reason to sack him in the first place and he has done nothing to show he is capable of his past success again.