It's revolving door time for managers in the Premier League and in the wake of Roberto Mancini's untimely demise at Manchester City, the current front runner for his old position is Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean has spent the better part of a decade managing in La Liga, including overseeing Villareal during Pepe Reina's final season in Spain before moving to Merseyside.
Reina wrote about his experiences with Pellegrini in his 2011 autobiography but on a slow news day when connections to big stories are tenuous at best, Reina's thoughts are being added to the pile of accolades building up around Pellegrini. They paint a picture of an alternate reality Liverpool, where Rafa's departure did not mean the appointment of Roy Hodgson and everything that came with it.
"Pellegrini had just lost his job at Real Madrid despite doing a really good job there and giving Barcelona a run for the La Liga title," Reina recalled. "He was available and we needed a manager. For me, it made perfect sense. I said so, telling [ex-LFC managing director Christian] Purslow that Pellegrini was the right man.
"It wasn’t just because I knew him. It was more about the style of football that he plays, getting teams to attack all the time. Pellegrini has an attacking mentality and, when Purslow asked me about him, I said, 'He’s a great manager and a great man in the dressing room'. He would never sit deep and just accept being put under pressure by opponents."
Sexy Spanish attacking football of a sort is finally starting to take root at Liverpool three years later under Brendan Rodgers, but revisiting Reina's version of events puts a bit of a "what if" spin onto the past three seasons. This is hardly the only "what if" scenario to plague fan minds for the last few years, but with Pellegrini confirming to Reina that the club had contacted the manager "a couple of times" before eventually moving on to other options, it's hard not to think of almost any other choice being an improvement on the Hodgson era.
With the off-season approaching at breakneck speed, one could always spend the month of June running simulations in old versions of Football Manager to see where Liverpool might be now with Pellegrini at the helm and Paul Konchesky still at Craven Cottage in 2010. Of course, rather than wasting time on what could have been, one could also run simulations of how well the club will do with Suaridginho at the forefront of the attack next season. Things are looking up!