Jose Mourinho as Liverpool Manager: First 90 Days
Tomorrow, Liverpool’s new owners Gillette and Hicks will meet with Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry in New York City to discuss the building of the new Anfield stadium. At the same time, the conversation will likely delve into Rafa Benitez and his future as manager of Liverpool FC.
While Mourinho is supposedly keen on taking Benitez’s job, the New York meeting will be a good test of the patience and intent for Gillette and Hicks. Whether they’re willing to make a rash decision is unclear, but Benitez’s days are undoubtedly numbered and the pressure has been building for a few months.
But if Mourinho did take charge at Liverpool, whether that be now or in the summer, let’s imagine what his first 90 days would look like and what changes he would make to make the club more successful than what Benitez has achieved:
- Bring in his own team of right hand men. While Benitez has been reluctant to find an adequate replacement for his assistant Paco Ayesteran, Mourinho has a team of qualified assistants that are awaiting Mourinho’s call to follow him to his next club.
- Remove the dead wood. In quick succession, Mourinho would sell several of Liverpool’s players that are bringing the team down and are not qualified to be a part of what’s needed for a team that’s serious about winning the Premier League trophy. That means goodbye to Dirk Kuyt, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Sami Hyypia and Momo Sissoko.
- Make tough decisions on the rest of the Liverpool squad. During Benitez’s tenure as manager, the Spaniard has brought in several promising younger players who are stuck in the reserve squad and don’t seem like they have much chance of playing first team football. Mourinho needs to decide what to do with these players and whether there are some hidden pearls there that deserve more playing time. The players include Lucas Leiva, Sebastian Leto, Emiliano Insua as well as 22 players out on loan at other clubs.
- Make tactical changes. Whether it’s key matches against the likes of Arsenal and Man United or against lesser opposition such as Wigan, Derby or Reading, Rafa Benitez’s squad has been outplayed and/or outwitted on too many occasions recently. Mourinho will bring a new lease of life to the Liverpool squad with fresh tactical ideas.
- New players. Rather than being too reliant on players from Spain, Mourinho will bring a whole new cast of winners to Liverpool from different corners of the globe. Benitez’s record thus far of signing decent players has been below par. Mourinho would change that in short order. The first order of business would be to bring in a quality striker to partner Torres up front. Other positions that need to be filled include a new right winger and better coverage for a centre back.
- A winning attitude. Watching Liverpool play of late, it’s easy to see that the players don’t have the confidence that they had at the beginning of the season. While they don’t admit it publicly, they’re playing like they know they’ve lost the chance of winning the Premier League trophy. Mourinho would infuse Liverpool players with a new self belief and winning attitude.
While a lot of Liverpool fans will disagree, I can see Mourinho thriving as Liverpool manager. He’d be able to forge stronger ties with Gillette and Hicks by starting off with a clean slate and, at the end of the day, it’s results that matter. Liverpool fans deserve better and Jose Mourinho could be the man to turn them into Premier League champions.