Pool owners must change thinking or even Klopp can't save Reds
If Liverpool don't end moneyball farce, nothing will change
When an over-eager Brendan Rodgers arrived for his job interview in 2012, all bright-eyed and polished teeth, it was a match made in Moneyball heaven.
He arrived at Anfield not with a bulging trophy cabinet or an illustrious resume, but with a 180-page dossier.
Rodgers was a studious technocrat.
He was just what the American owners were looking for.
In stark contrast to Kenny Dalglish's archaic guff about "the Liverpool way", a quaint notion lost on the Bostonian businessmen, Rodgers had a head for figures.
He was a modern man of science, of numbers, of calculations and profit projections. He was everything the American owners needed to make their Moneyball philosophy succeed and nothing Liverpool wanted.
Rodgers is gone, but the philosophy remains. And the wooing of Juergen Klopp (above) softens the alarm bells, but does not silence them.
His remarkable track record at Borussia Dortmund obviously appeals to John W Henry and Tom Werner. He made youth development the cornerstone of his recruitment policy, partly because it was idealistic, but mostly out of necessity.
He raised them, nurtured them and sold a couple on for profit. Pragmatism forced him to champion the Moneyball approach.
He was effectively auditioning for the Liverpool job without knowing it.
But Klopp isn't a cure. He represents an obvious upgrade on Rodgers, who was a major architect of his own downfall (see S4) but the German's appointment would pander to the entrenched problem without fixing it.
After recently celebrating five years running their Anfield fiefdom, the Fenway Sports Group number crunchers still believe in the infallibility of math, rather than the unpredictable, incalculable beauty of sporting spontaneity.
Despite the rhetoric, they still see economic digits rather than footballers. Dalglish, for all his faults, recognised Luis Suarez for what he was, an impudent genius steeped in "the Liverpool way".
But the Uruguayan's paymasters always saw a profit margin, the very embodiment of Moneyball's principles. Get them early. Get them cheap. Enhance their talent. Maximise their financial return. Sell them off. Start again.
It worked for their Boston Red Sox. Applied mathematics ended Boston's 86-year wait for the World Series, killing off "the curse of the Bambino". How hard could it be to break the curse of the Premier League? Imagine what the accountants could do at Anfield.
And they would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for that pesky Steven Gerrard slipping against Chelsea last year.
But the title near-miss was a smokescreen, built not on Moneyball but a maverick signed by an outdated predecessor.
Suarez allowed Rodgers, the American owners and their incongruous baseball philosophy to bask in his temporary spotlight.
When the striker left, the house of cards swiftly tumbled and Rodgers' successor needs a free hand to put the flimsy structure back together again.
Nothing has really worked at Anfield. Nothing.
A deeply flawed transfer and selection policy from the beginning of the Fenway Sports Group's takeover has been mostly overshadowed.
Suarez's schizophrenic hero-and-villain routines, the tragicomic title collapse, the demise and departure of a local legend, a handful of pantomime performances and the inexhaustible supply of daft management-speak quotes from Rodgers drew attention away from an unworkable business model.
Liverpool are doomed to failure. The man in the dugout is window -dressing outside a crumbling house.
With more than a patronising whiff of intellectual snobbery, there was a sense that the owners, the transfer committee and Rodgers himself always believed they were the smartest men in any EPL room.
Never mind traditional existing transfer strategies, implemented by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and even Arsene Wenger - managers who'd actually won stuff - baseball was going to bring Liverpool into the 21st Century.
Cumulative benefits were seen as more important than an immediate impact.
Rather than sign an established brand such as Alexis Sanchez or Diego Costa, they bought the likes of Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi, with an eye on long-term development and economic potential.
Rather than target like-for-like replacements for Suarez, Fernando Torres and Raheem Sterling, they frittered away the cash on half-baked prospects from untapped markets. Hardly any paid off.
With the transfer committee, the democratic process ensured everyone got what nobody wanted. Rodgers had a veto, but no control. There were ideas, endless ideas, but no direction.
Every season under FSG has been one of rebuilding, transition and starting over.
Rodgers went along with the baseball model and played the fall guy for its inevitable failure.
And unless his successor is allowed to follow his own path, listening to his coaching staff rather than the American number crunchers, he inherits a poisoned chalice.
Moneyball works in the movies, but not on Merseyside.
Out of work following his dismissal by Real Madrid, Ancelotti is well-known to fans due to a two-year spell at Chelsea that yielded a double of Premier League and FA Cup trophies in 2010. The Italian, 56, also boasts an unrivalled pedigree in Europe, having lifted the Champions League trophy three times as a manager. But he does not chime as perfectly with the FSG philosophy as Juergen Klopp.
FRANK DE BOER
Formerly a classy centre back, de Boer led Ajax to four straight Eredivisie titles between 2010 and 2014 before finishing second behind PSV Eindhoven last season. While he lacks top-level experience, he has a proven track record in developing young players. In a BBC interview last week, he described Liverpool as a "fantastic club".
Since arriving at Southampton in 2014, Koeman has impressed by keeping the south-coast club punching above their weight despite the departures of several key players. But he is barely a year into a three-year contract and does not appear to possess the "X factor" that Liverpool are looking for in their next manager.
Mazzarri has been out of work since leaving Inter Milan in November. Mazzarri had an excellent spell in charge of Napoli between 2009 and 2013, building a team that played exciting, attacking football with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi. He also won the Italian Cup - his only trophy as a coach. - Wire Services.
Klopp for Kop, say ex-players
Former Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp is favourite to become the new Liverpool manager - a move welcomed by many ex-players.
Former Reds Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness came out in support minutes after Brendan Rodgers was sacked following Sunday's 1-1 draw in the 225th Merseyside Derby.
Klopp has long been seen as the ideal fit at Anfield - he is certainly the popular choice of fans - and even though three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti is available, the overwhelming support is for the German.
"Whoever it is will have to buy into the mindset of the American owners - they want success, but their model is to try to get that by signing younger players they can train up and, sometimes, sell on," former defender Mark Lawrenson wrote in his BBC Sport column.
"Juergen Klopp is the favourite to get the job and he would fit the bill.
"At Borussia Dortmund, he built a team that were in your face, with good players that he was making better, but he also knew he would have to sell one or even two every year."
Lawrenson added in the Liverpool Echo: "What he did at Borussia Dortmund was special and, if he can get Liverpool playing that way, the fans will absolutely love him.
"Now, though, Liverpool are as far away from nailing down a Champions League spot as ever they have been.
"Carlo Ancelotti is also in the running. But Klopp is a much better fit for the FSG model."
Former midfielder Danny Murphy, however, favours the experience of Ancelotti.
"Reading the CVs and what they have done and where they have done it and how many times they have done it, it is a no-brainer really," he told talkSPORT.
"You can't guarantee success with either guy because you are competing with Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
"Ancelotti has done it as a player, he has done it as a coach, and he has done it in different countries. He has done it here already with Chelsea.
"He has won the league here, he has won the (FA) Cup here, so he knows this league. That in itself gives him a head start on Klopp." - PA Sport.
A sign of things to come?
HOPEFUL: A video screengrab of Juergen Klopp touching the logo at the tunnel before a preseason friendly at Anfield last season. PHOTO: VINE.COM/STEVEN GERRARD
Was Juergen Klopp's touching of the famous "This is Anfield" sign in the tunnel a telling premonition?
Liverpool welcomed Dortmund and Klopp to Anfield in pre-season before the 2014/15 campaign, with the hosts winning 4-0.
Before the match, the 48-year-old looked longingly at the plaque before touching it.
The footage was carried on the Daily Express website yesterday, suggesting that Klopp has fancied himself at Liverpool for a while.
It may be pure coincidence but, with Liverpool set for talks with the German this week, he could be arriving on Merseyside the next time as manager.
The former Mainz man is certainly keen to try the Premier League, having left Dortmund for a sabbatical at the end of last season.
"He has the great ability to develop things," Klopp's agent Marc Kosicke revealed in June.
"If he goes into a stadium, feels the energy and thinks that he can make a difference here, this could be more attractive to him than going with the big deals and aim for the Treble.
"Juergen does not like to speak to player's agents or to carry out a transfer. So we have to see which is the most useful arrangement."
- Wire Services.
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