Belfast Telegraph

Hiddink should be top pick for Liverpool

By Steven Beacom

The news that Kenny Dalglish has thrown his hat in the ring to become the next Liverpool manager has stirred debate amongst Kopites in Northern Ireland and beyond.

While Rafael Benitez has not let the grass grow under his feet since leaving Anfield last week by becoming Inter Milan’s new boss, Liverpool fans are still waiting and wondering who will guide them through this difficult period in their history.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom assesses all the candidates for one of the biggest jobs in world football.

GUUS HIDDINK: He would be the ideal man for Liverpool. Respected by players and always keen to play attractive football, the Dutchman has enjoyed great success down the years and would not be fazed by a club of Liverpool’s size. The problem is he has a contract with Turkey and he’s not known for breaking them.

ROY HODGSON: Solid and steady. Has worked wonders for Fulham but Liverpool would be a whole new ball game. His appointment would leave Kopites feeling under-whelmed.

MARTIN O’NEILL: It would be great for the Ulsterman to manage a club of Liverpool’s stature but would it be good for Liverpool? Not so sure. O’Neill’s a good motivator but his sides aren’t renowned for playing stylish football and after last season under Benitez, the fans are crying out for more attack minded tactics.

HARRY REDKNAPP: Harry has said he is happy at Spurs, but if the offer came from Liverpool he’d walk to Anfield to sign the deal, Champions League or no Champions League. I rate him but he still has that Cockney geezer, wheeler dealer reputation which certainly wouldn’t go down well with the old school Kopites.

SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON: If the Swede gets the job he says he dreams about, Liverpool may as well shut up shop. Oh, and the mothers and fathers of Merseyside should lock up their daughters. Sven as boss would be utter madness.

MARK HUGHES: Sven has more chance! Hughes is a decent manager and was treated shabbily by Manchester City, but his Manchester United connections rule him out.

MARCO VAN BASTEN: Breathtaking footballer in his day but his managerial abilities are still unproven. Didn’t deliver as Holland boss, and although a massive name, not what Liverpool need right now.

LOUIS VAN GAAL: Experience, knowhow and an ability to win trophies, but can be a wildcard ready to fight anyone. Remind you of anyone? Liverpool don’t need another like that for quite some time.

KENNY DALGLISH: When Benitez left the Liverpool legend was tasked with finding the new boss. He should have been asked to get new owners while he was at it? Now, though he wants the board to consider him. If Liverpool can’t get Hiddink, Dalglish should become manager. After all, he’s won four more English titles than the other British candidates put together (they have a grand total of none).

He left the post first time around due to pressure which goes against him because there is bound to be plenty of that this time while others will say he has been away too long.

That is a fair point but his appointment would create a desperately needed feel good factor at Anfield and provide a buzz around the club.

And he might be the only man capable of persuading Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres to stay.

For that alone, it would be worth appointing the Scot for a second spell in charge at Anfield.

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