Guardiola on Liverpool's ambitious list
Liverpool have compiled a list of as many as eight potential managers, including Pep Guardiola and Fabio Capello, as the search for Kenny Dalglish's successor gathered pace at an extraordinary rate last night.
Another bewildering day at Anfield began with managing director Ian Ayre outlining the broad criteria for a new manager and ended with a who's who of candidates from the top of the European game to the lower positions of the Premier League.
A conference call including club principal John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and Ayre, formulated a staggering array of names including Guardiola, Capello, Jurgen Klopp, Frank de Boer, Andre Villas-Boas and Didier Deschamps.
The pursuit of Guardiola is staggeringly ambitious, but Liverpool are engaging in a reshuffle at Anfield which is expected to restore a Spanish influence.
Reserve manager Pep Segura has been earmarked for a technical role with the first team, and the club is also keen on finding a role for former Barcelona sports chief Txiki Begiristain. Liverpool are also preparing to meet managers at the start of their coaching career.
Wigan's Roberto Martinez and Swansea's Brendan Rodgers are among those Henry wants to meet as part of the process and official approaches were made to their clubs last night.
There is every likelihood the list will be extended before the new man takes charge. Martinez's chairman, Dave Whelan, confirmed an approach within minutes of the request being made by Liverpool. Rodgers, who has a £3m exit clause in his deal, will also be asked to discuss the job.
Liverpool last night emphasised there is no preferred candidate at this stage, and it is unclear how many of those pursued will be interested in a move to Anfield. The parameters for becoming the new Liverpool manager now appear to be unprecedented.
Earlier, Ayre suggested Liverpool's status as one of the world's elite clubs will be jeopardised if they fail to appoint the right successor to Dalglish. He refused to rule out the possibility of Martinez and Rodgers joining more illustrious names as part of the recruitment process. Within hours, the first moves had been made.
"It is about a whole cross section," Ayre said, explaining Liverpool's targets. "If you box yourselves into a corner, then you can only speak to three or four because they only fit a particular profile. You have got to have a more open mind about what you will consider and what you will look at. Then you assess everybody. Then you find the right person to fit the plan."
The new man faces an arduous task to restore former glories at Anfield.
Jamie Carragher has suggested that it could be another generation before Liverpool win the league title and stressed that the priority for the next manager should simply be getting the club back into the top four.
With Liverpool having now finished seventh, sixth and eighth in successive seasons, Carragher underlined that there must be realistic expectations.
"When growing up, Liverpool were so dominant," said Carragher. "Now we've almost got a whole generation of Liverpool fans who have not experienced being at the top.
"It's still so ingrained in the club that the championship is what you need to be fighting for. At times it does get more difficult when a Chelsea come along with Abramovich and then Mansour comes along with Man City. I've been in the team 15 years and we've only challenged for the title a couple of times, which is obviously not what we'd like and not good enough for us.
Asked if he feared that Liverpool might have to wait another generation to win the title, Carragher said: "You never know. I don't think we're the type of team that could just go out and spend £200m like City or Chelsea can, and you've virtually guaranteed yourself a good chance of winning the title. I think we have to build a little bit slower than that.
The next stage for us is to get into the Champions League, but that will happen. Football goes in cycles and we'll get back in there, and then have a challenge for the title. I've come close a couple of times, but hopefully in the future we can go one step further." (© Daily Telegraph, London)