As Liverpool’s Premier League plunge gathers pace, the pressure on Brendan Rodgers intensifies, prompting books to open across the lands as to who the Northern Irishman’s successor will be.
With just four points separating the Reds from fourth place at present, their current occupancy of the top-tier’s 11th-spot isn’t quite as desperate as the illusion their 3/1 to finish inside the Champions League qualification bracket creates.
But should their fortunes fail to improve once the international break resumes, it’s not inconceivable to see the club swinging the axe.
Were the Ulsterman dispensed with, whom might Liverpool turn to as a replacement?
Napoli boss and Anfield favourite Rafa Benitez is at the head of the betting to replace Rodgers at 7/1, but the prospect of the Reds swiping another Southampton star is the most tantalising.
It’s 9/1 that John ‘Dubya’ Henry convinces Saints supremo Ronald Koeman to desert St Mary’s for Merseyside, just as he did with Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren in the summer.
Despite widespread speculation that the huge exodus of stars would spell disaster for the Saints, the Dutchman’s extraordinary crisis aversion skills have enabled the south coast club to climb to second in the Premier League, as well as reach the Capital One Cup quarter-final.
Detractors will justly observe that 11 top-tier games is not sufficient enough a sample size for Koeman to have aired his credentials to manage at the very highest level.
Yet, in his short Southampton tenure he’s already proven himself superior to Rodgers in one key area – the ability to replace star players.
His ineptitude in the transfer market has resulted in the Reds squandering the bulk of the £75m they made on Luis Suarez, the only prize asset they lost this summer.
In addition to the aforementioned trio, Koeman had to find an alternative to Luke Shaw too, as well as cope without last term’s top scorer Jay Rodriguez.
The consummate ease with which the former Feyenoord boss has done this deserves the utmost credit and will have undoubtedly rendered Southampton the envy of several individuals associated with Liverpool.