Have Liverpool hired a new manager yet? No? Right, moving on…
* Moneyball moneyball moneyball moneyball. Or maybe not. Over on the Anfield Wrap, Gareth Roberts drops a weighty article that moves beyond the oft-used term in an attempt to plot just where Fenway Sports Group may try to take Liverpool in the coming years, with a focus on Soccernomics, the recruitment of 20-22 year olds, success through the purchase of troubled talent, and Lyon:
So while they have had six managers since 2000—Jacques Santini, Paul Le Guen, Gerard Houllier, Alain Perrin, Claude Puel and current boss Remi Garde—the president and Bernard Lacombe—who has been technical manager, trainer, manager and now special advisor to the president—have remained.
Lacombe is renowned for his eye for a player and it is clear he will remain for as long as Aulas does.
Lyon believe in the ‘power of crowds’—the more minds analysing a situation the better the result…
At Lyon six or seven people are involved in making a decision on transfers. The manager (coach) is almost seen as a temporary role. When he leaves nothing really changes—it’s evolution, not revolution.
Despite sustained success, however, it is an approach at the French club that has led to supporter unrest, and though most understand that at the end of the day Football is a business, with absolutely any player on the squad considered saleable at any time there is a widespread belief that Lyon have taken things too far. As comforting as trophies may be, there are charges that the club has in the meantime lost its soul, and for many the mention of Lyon now leads to jokes about it being a club that would hapily sell Lionel Messi for the right price.
For some, then, talk of Lyon as a model FSG are consciously trying to copy at Liverpool will be comforting for its promise of trophies and league success. And for others it will only lead to further discomfort. In any case, it's an in depth look at Liverpool's likely future course—no matter the manager brought in in the end—that's well worth a read.
* Over the weekend, a certain former Liverpool manager made his debut with the English national team, and even excluding the injured Glen Johnson he managed to bring along five current Liverpool players to mark the occasion.
Steven Gerrard played a half, looking unusually inspired as he ran around the pitch full of blood and thunder but also even more fond than usual of high-risk Hollywood balls that mostly didn't come off, despite his exertions generally showing why he's not well suited to playing from deep in midfield as part of a central duo. Meanwhile, Johnson watched from the sidelines with a tweak suffered in training while Stewart Downing fired in one good cross at the beginning of the match before turning back into a pumpkin, and up front Andy Carroll held up play well but was left largely separated from the rest of the team by the massive gulf between England's lines. In the end, Martin Kelly and Jordan Henderson also managed to make late cameos as Roy Hodgson's Lions sat deep and soaked up pressure for a good thirty minutes as they defended a one goal lead against a country that won't be at this summer's Euros.
England did hold on for victory over Norway in the end, though, and Hodgson's first game in charge was a success thanks to a moment of individual brilliance by Ashley Young—though as with many moments of individual brilliance, it owed a lot to others, in this case Andy Carroll's hold up play and a supporting run from Steven Gerrard that drew a covering defender. Afterwards, Hodgson talked about how good the result was and how tough a side Norway is, making for the kind of uninspiring famous victory Liverpool fans will be well familiar with.
* Today, Roberto Martinez is on holiday in Barbados. Over the weekend, widespread rumours took hold that on Tuesday he would be holding a press conference at Wigan to announce his future plans, with many assuming this meant he'd been offered the job. Most then assumed it meant his press conference would be used to thank the fans and officially say goodbye. Of course, later those rumours shifted to suggesting Martinez wasn't going to head to Liverpool after all—either because he had soured on the idea of working with a Sporting Director or other senior football figures or because he wasn't the club's first choice after all—and that the press conference would be to reaffirm his commitment to his current club.
It's now being reported that Wigan had absolutely no idea they were supposed to be hosting a press conference with their manager tomorrow. And so there probably actually isn't going to be a press conference tomorrow one way or the other after all. Which pretty much only confirms once again that nobody has any clue what's actually going on. Unless Martinez actually does have the Liverpool job and Wigan owner and general loudmouth about town Dave Whelan has simply been too busy tipping off people in the press to mention it to anybody at the club itself.
We'll be back with any breaking news, but in the meantime, while you wait for a press conference that may never arrive…