Some of these tacticians are considered among the greatest of all time in the sport.
Liverpool FC are undoubtedly one of the most successful clubs in England and Europe. Right from the 1960s, during Bill Shankly’s era, The Reds have dominated English and European football and have had enigmatic managers at the helm. During the golden generation of the 1970s and 1980s, they were led by the great Bob Paisley.
The club from Merseyside then went somewhat downhill in terms of dominance but still they had capable managers like Joe Fagan, Kenny Dalglish who continued the legacy. However, in the last decade, the club has struggled for trophies until a fiery German manager joined the club and guided them to their sixth UEFA Champions League title and 19th English Championship in successive seasons.
Lets have a look at the top Liverpool FC managers of all time.
Joe Fagan joined the Merseysiders in 1958 as their reserve team coach. He was fully trusted by the Liverpool FC management and held his office till 1971 before moving to first-team coaching under the tutelage of Bill Shankly. Later he was also assistant to Bob Paisley and eventually lead the side in 1983 after Paisley’s departure.
Fagan was a local hero at the club mainly due to his long association and the Liverpool FC faithful believed in him to deliver results. The Englishman did not disappoint in that aspect. His time at the club allowed him to understand the dynamics of the whole team which he used to his advantage and dominated England and Europe.
His highest laurels were winning the English Championship and the European Cup in 1984. Fagan retired right before the infamous 1985 European Cup final where Juventus triumphed over the Reds but the match was known for the horrific Heysel disaster.
A true Liverpool FC legend, Kenny Dalglish’s contribution as a player and later as a manager goes unmatched. Dalglish played for the Reds for 13 years and formed a formidable partnership with Ian Rush. He was vested managerial responsibilities when Fagan retired in 1985 and became the club’s first player-manager.
In his first stint as a manager, he was very successful as Liverpool FC became a true superpower in England winning the league three times and ended up being runners up for two years. Dalglish was unfortunate that he couldn’t lead the side in Europe due to their ban after the Heysel disaster.
His second stint was not as successful as his first but he decided to step in during a rough phase when the management sacked Roy Hodgson. He steadied a sinking ship and also won the English League Cup in 2011-12 but the management was not convinced with him which led to his sacking at the end of that season.
The enigmatic German tactician who came to Anfield with the vision of achieving great heights. Jurgen Klopp joined Liverpool FC in 2015 after breaking the Bayern monopoly in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund. Although his last year at BVB was not great, the Liverpool FC faithful showed trust in him.
The Reds did not have a great Premier League outing in 2015-16 season but Klopp led the unit in their UEFA Europa League charge where they came back from a 1-3 deficit to beat Borussia Dortmund in the quarters. They won against Villareal in the semifinals but succumbed under pressure against Sevilla in the finals.
Klopp incorporated a philosophy of geggenpressing and also brought out the best of his resources that he had at hand. His team started doing wonders with players like Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold starting to make their mark, as Liverpool FC cruished their way to the first Champions League final ever since 2007.
Although they lost against Real Madrid, Klopp was determined to get his hands on the elusive trophy and in the next season, Liverpool redeemed themselves by winning the Champions League against Tottenham Hotspurs.
However the Champions League triumph later felt like a milestone in a long journey ahead as the German tactician inspired the Reds to their first league title in 30 years. Despite the uncertainties over the pandemic, Liverpool were simply unstoppable and with Klopp at the helm the fans can expect more fireworks in seasons to come.
One of the prime reasons for Liverpool’s dominance in the 70s and 80s. Paisley joined the club as a backroom staff in 1959. He had to wait till 1973 to take up Bill Shankly’s position at the club as his successor. The pressure on Paisley was huge as he had to carry the legacy of his predecessor and he did the job with aplomb.
He was at the helm for nine years and won silverware in eight of them, winning 20 trophies altogether during his tenure. He was also responsible for forming the great partnership between Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush and also brought legends like Graeme Souness and Ronnie Whelan at Anfield, making Liverpool a force to reckon with during that time.
The first three European Cups won by the Reds were under his reign and even after leaving his managerial position, he was involved with the management until he fell severely ill in 1992.
Bill Shankly is without a doubt Liverpool’s greatest ever manager and his accolades may not resonate the same but his impact at the club has laid the path for all the greatness they achieved later on. Shankly joined Liverpool in 1959 with The Reds in decline, as they were in the second division and had a very poor infrastructure in place.
He turned things around, released several players and made the right changes in every aspect. During the rebuild, he formed a group named ‘The Boot Room’ along with his peers Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rueben Bennett. The resurrection started when Liverpool won the second division in 1962 and were ready for top flight football. They won the FA Cup in 1965 and followed it up with a league title in the next season.
Things were finally starting to fall in place for Shankly as he brought in a set of talented players like Kevin Keegan, Ray Clemence etc. who started a new legacy at the club. Liverpool won the double of League and UEFA Cup in 1973. Shankly’s era was so historic that even in his last day at the office he guided them to the FA Cup title.
He is considered the greatest not solely for his achievements but also for his humility. He shared a great connection with the fans and always valued them above anything else. It is his philosophy that made Liverpool one of the most successful clubs in England and Europe.