King Kenny dethroned at Liverpool, long live the next King?

The season only ended Sunday. It already feels like mid-July, seeing as we've packed in so much action, drama, and rumoured happenings in these four days.

Steve Kean's in hot water with Big Sam. Yaya's off. Fergie had a chat with Kagawa earlier this week. McLeish's decision to cross the city backfired. Scholesy is hanging up his boots at the end of the season. Rio's been left out the England squad. Gary Nev's joined Roy's Revolution. And now, King Kenny himself has even dethroned at Liverpool.

I'd feel sorry for him if he hadn't have made some monumental mistakes - both on and off the field. His choices and decisions over the whole Suarez affair left a lot to be desired. His choice of tactics week in, week out didn't work, but he persevered. And they still didn't work.

He also turned a Liverpool team - one I've admired for a while (that's hard to say as a United fan, but it's true...) - ugly. Gone are the days of slick, streamlined football, where passing was speedy, balls were played up the field with finesse, and there was always an element of skill in every goal scored. Now, there's a rather expensive Geordie fella with a ponytail, having balls punted seventy yards towards his head in the hope he may justify his price tag. I've got no qualms with that - but that's not the way Liverpool play.

Dalglish has done a lot of good for the club in his latest stint - stabilising a team in turmoil, reuniting the dressing room and getting the train back on the tracks. A lack of concentration on the league meant results slipped, but decent cup runs seemed to pacify the fans, whilst the club remains in a transitionary period.

But is a historical figure in the club's past the right choice to continue to lead the club? He may know the core ethos of the football club he adores, but does that make him the stand-out candidate to take the club to new heights? I'm not so sure.

I was always sceptical upon his appointment - it seemed like this was the way John W. Henry, and Fenway Sports Group were attempting to win the fans back onto their side after a poor choice in Roy Hodgson and a bad start to the season. They thought the way to their hearts was to bring a memorable figure into the dugout - and who better to pick than King Kenny himself? They must've thought this job was easy.

You know the rest of the story. Plenty of signings, and a League Cup victory wasn't enough to keep the new owners happy, and the King was removed from his post yesterday. But what now?

There's a few options Liverpool could take. Roberto Martinez has emerged as a strong favourite for the role - a young manager with a great tactical knowledge and very efficient in the transfer market. He can hold and motivate a dressing room, whilst getting the most out his players. But he's managed Swansea, and Wigan - without any disrespect to the clubs, hardly as illustrious as Liverpool.

Paul Lambert is another name being linked. The Norwich boss has masterminded back-to-back promotions, and followed it up with a solid 12th placed finish in the Premier League this season. His next-to-nothing budget didn't matter - he used his technical skills to get the most out his players. Again, a smaller club - and he'd need direction from someone more experienced. A Director of Football would be needed alongside Lambert - and Fenway Sports Group have just binned him, too.

Some other names based in the English leagues have been mentioned - Alan Pardew, Brendan Rodgers and Owen Coyle to name but a few. All, excuse the bluntness, small clubs. Each manager would have to prove himself on a much bigger, more ambitious scale for their tenure to work out. But FSG may be tempted to bring a marque name into the role.

Jürgen Klinsmann. Jöachim Low. Avram Grant. Fabio Capello. Andre Villas-Boas.

Rafa Benitez.

When I read fans wanted Rafa back, I nearly choked. Rafa - for real?! He brought success, yes, but he's had a torrid time since leaving - plus he'd inherit a squad nowhere near as good as the one he left.

And what if FSG did choose to go back - again? Have they not learned from the Kenny debacle that ploughing into the club's past won't necessarily guarantee future success?

For me, it would be a wise choice to put the Rafa rumour to bed, and look forward. The squad needs an overhaul this summer, and it would be best to bring in a manager capable of building a dynasty, rather than someone to fill a gap. The likes of Reina, Carragher, and Gerrard aren't going to be around forever - and the club need to be ready if and when they leave. Out-of-contract players, like Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Skrtel won't want to sign on if they don't think the club has ambition. It's a risky process.

Fans can be rest assured - the club is in good hands. A new stadium on the way, plenty of money available and the chance to rebuild. But that chance won't be around forever - it needs grasping with both hands. Now.

A young manager needs to be brought in, and given time, money, and plenty of opportunities and chances to make it work. If, after eighteen months it's obvious the club are heading in the wrong direction, review, but don't make abrupt, rushed decisions to appease fans.

I'd like to see Martinez given a chance - I think he's the man to bring back the glory days. But he needs to be cut some slack if he's to make a success of it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Losing Kenny is the right decision - no matter how painful it is to fans. This is an opportunity to reignite rivalries, bring in world beaters and become the team of years gone by. It's time to start a new, fresh chapter in the club's history.

You can come and say hello on Twitter - I'm @AdamMillsUK. You can also let me know your thoughts via the comments box below!

Tags: AVB, Benitez, Dalglish, Liverpool, Martinez

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Liverpool will be an interesting, but difficult, project for whoever takes over this summer. Their squad has lost immense quality over the last few years, looking at some of the players they had, particularly in midfield that have never been replaced: Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard in his pomp playing off a fit & firing Fernando Torres. They are a long way off Champions League Qualification IMO and finishing 5th or 6th has to be their aim this coming season.

If they do achieve 4th place then fair play to them but as a neutral I personally can't see them reaching it just yet. They definitely need to start phasing out/stop relying on the likes of Carragher & Gerrard to bail them out and try and do what Newcastle have done, with a proper scouting network and pick up quality for more modest prices from abroad; Kenny's policy of buying "Best of British" backfired and was part of the reason for his removal.

Another thing that is concerning me with regards to Liverpool is the medias seeming insistence to compare Liverpool's finishing position & points with those of the Manchester Clubs, as if Liverpool SHOULD have been competing for the title. That kind of blind optimism creates more pressure for the manager, whoever they are, and I think expectations need to be tempered amongst both FSG and the fans if Liverpool are to achieve stability & continued success within the next 5 or so seasons. 

All in all, it's obviously going to be quite an exciting off-season for many clubs, not least Liverpool, and my own club, Aston Villa. Can't wait for it all to get started!

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