WE asked Anfield Wrap contributors what they would do this summer with clubs that weren’t their own; how they would resurrect Aston Villa, how Arsenal make the next step, that kind of thing.
Each got to advise, be Director Of Football or even take the reins at the club in question.
Here’s what we’ve published so far, and then it’s over to Dave.
- You Are The Boss #1 – Crystal Palace
- You Are The Boss #2 – Spurs
- You Are The Boss #3 – Swansea
- You Are The Boss #4 – Everton
Liverpool – Dave Downie
SO I’m in charge of the Reds then.
Who would have thought the fat kid from Bootle who played centre half would amount to this?
Of course, I had to draft in Carra as my number two given how he’s the king of the turncoats. His involvement was imperative from my first meeting with John and Tom which, contrary to reports, took place on the evening of the Capital One Cup final.
John and I go back a long way and he was concerned Jürgen Klopp lacked a winning mentality.
“Damn it, Dave, I was told Germans don’t lose on penalties and neither does this club!”
“What is this guy if he can’t win on penalties? My, erm, erm….investment in the FA ensures that we get at least 20 of the fuckers a season so it’s not like we don’t get the practice! I’m not so sure on this guy.”
And so began my involvement with the club in an advisory role. With John and Tom heading back over to Boston, my brief was to watch from afar and report back at weekly intervals.
Ian Ayre would now be the man who I dealt with. He’d help organise my attendance at games in the most discreet way possible.
My first meeting with him was somewhat peculiar though — all he seemed to talk about was starting up his own restaurant chain when his contract finished with the club.
“I want it to be classy, Dave,” he said. “I want it to smell of fresh leather and chicken off the bone – like that Hooters in the States.”
He didn’t go into much more detail, putting on his bike helmet, firing up the chopper and disappearing into the distance.
I was as shocked as anyone when John told me Klopp would be leaving until I discovered he’d been meeting with the German FA about taking over the national team after the Euros. He found Liverpool too mad. And who could blame him?
My reports back to Boston were generally very positive throughout the course of the season. This side was evolving slowly into what Klopp wanted from it. Yes, there were inconsistencies in performances and results but if you were to compare and contrast the difference in this side to what Brendan Rodgers had them doing then you’d be very harsh not to allow for a transitional period of sorts.
I remember repeatedly thinking of how I’d mould this side into my own if I ever got chance. Fact of the matter is it would be a continuation of Klopp’s ideologies with my own tweaks. Although I’m incredibly grateful to be given the job, as a football fan it saddens me that we never got to see this team with a good transfer window behind it with Klopp in charge. So I imagined what he would want to do and went from there.
Getting to the final of a European trophy without any of your own signings is some feat, so wholesale changes to our shape and general approach would be foolish – the big changes need to come in the way of personnel.
Being an Evertonian, naturally I’ve kept a keen eye on Liverpool down the years and regardless of any success Liverpool had, there has always been a surplus of deadwood that seems to linger. That’s my first objective here – to get rid of those I don’t see contributing to the squad.
It’s a with a heavy heart I say this but first out the door will be Christian Benteke. Contrary to what some might say, I don’t think he’s been a flop in his time here. I actually think he’s a very good striker who could easily score one in two at another club. Sadly, he doesn’t fit into the system I want next season so the objective will be to recoup as much of the money we spent on him, preferably finding him a club abroad. Failing that, there’s always West Ham. He’d closely be followed by Bogdan, Moreno, Ilori and Skrtel. Insert your own reasons why. There are others. You know who they are.
Before adding to our forward options, what we currently have in the squad actually excites me quite a lot. Our side with the current personnel will be playing 4-3-1-2 with the front three consisting of Firmino behind Sturridge and Origi. It won’t be as rigid as that, as with Coutinho being one of the three behind these, I’d like him and Firmino to have the freedom to interchange – particularly in away games.
We need to add more pace, especially in wide areas, replace Moreno and thankfully my predecessor has bequeathed me a goalkeeper in Karius, Grujic as an additional centre midfielder (though I would be keeping Allen and Lucas as well), and a centre back in Matip. I’d add one more centre back because Liverpool have been so shaky for so long. I like Simon Kjaer at Fenerbahce. Replaces Daniel Agger in having a quality Dane. The Mane link is a good one, and exactly what Liverpool need and I like Jose Luis Gaya, the Valencia left back. I know replacing one young Spanish left back with another and going to Southampton might seem like deja vu, but it will surely work eventually…
I also have a big role for Danny Ings, as he fits perfectly into our pressing game. I think he’ll be very useful, initially from the bench, in the last 30 minutes of games.
However, plan A this summer surely should be to go all out for Mario Gotze.
I don’t need to explain his world-class talent and what he’d bring to the squad. His signing would also complete the line up for an idea I’ve pitched to Ian about those Nivea ads. He is sceptical but my idea would be a modern take on the Spice Boys. Karius, Gotze, Can, Lallana and Hendo would be doing the some PG version of The Full Monty.
Anyway, I hope you’ve all enjoyed this light-hearted look at the Reds, sprinkled with a hint of seriousness.
Next year is definitely going to be our year!