Do Reds Need a New Project - or Pragmatism? KRISTIAN WALSH LOOKS AT WHETHER LIVERPOOL WOULD BE BEST WITH A LONG-TERM VISION OR SHORT-TERM DESIRE

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), October 8, 2015 | Go to article overview

Do Reds Need a New Project - or Pragmatism? KRISTIAN WALSH LOOKS AT WHETHER LIVERPOOL WOULD BE BEST WITH A LONG-TERM VISION OR SHORT-TERM DESIRE


Byline: KRISTIAN WALSH ECHO Reporter kristian.walsh@liverpool.com Kristian_Walsh @

IFE can be binary. Good or evil, right or wrong, Eastenders or Coronation Street.

LNo surprise this is reflected in football, then. Pass or shoot, keep or sell, stay or go.

But there is one dilemma most clubs with designs of success must deal with.

Pragmatism or project. Two buzzwords in the modern game, admittedly. Sometimes, they don't actually mean anything, and are simply spurted out by men in suits to feign intelligence and knowledge.

But for this Liverpool, the Liverpool of 2015, it is a very real choice that has to be made.

Pragmatism would entail the club's owners, FSG, deciding to achieve their goals at any cost. Appoint a manager who deals in the short-term and can get as much from the squad in the shortest way possible. Get the results now, and think of the potential consequences later. Jose Mourinho, or even Carlo Ancelotti, could be considered pragmatic choices.

A project, however, would be just that. It was what Brendan Rodgers took on in 2012. It is about transition, potential. It is a process, a continuous edging towards the eventual goal, and doing it with both eyes fixated on the future. It is, very much, the overriding manner in which Rodgers and Liverpool operated over the past three years.

Liverpool are confident of appointing a manager who doesn't really fit into either, somehow.

Jurgen Klopp comes with the experience of managing - and succeeding - with the project of rebuilding Borussia Dortmund from scratch, turning prospects into world-beaters. He also comes with the pragmatism, however, of being a proven winner, with a number of trophies, and a coach who has the potential to yield instant results. It will be fascinating to see if the German is expected to juggle both. If he is to be handed a three-year deal, as expected, then it points to a little bit of both, given his capabilities. Rodgers, of course, was handed a similar contract, with his remit much more focused on the project.

Which fork in the road should Liverpool take under Klopp? An ideal scenario sees both immediate results and also moves towards the long-term vision. But, to quote the previous incumbent, it would be like building an aircraft while in flight.

Here are the positives and negatives to focusing on either pragmatism or the project.

Pragmatism pros A quick solution: For Liverpool, there seems to be no better time for moving back into the top four - or even challenging for the title. Chelsea's start has been so awful, Jose Mourinho is close to resorting to hand-puppets to distract us from just how bad it has been.

Elsewhere, Manchester United were simply the best of a bad bunch when beating the Reds at Old Trafford in September, Arsenal can be fragile and even Manchester City were stumbling before Newcastle.

Extracting the best out of the players right here, right now, could set up a stronger foundation for the future.

More attractive to players: It is wrong to correlate pragmatism with success. Appointing Sam Allardyce and launching balls into the air would not equate to many trophies. However, if a team is playing well and showing obvious signs of immediate progress, it would make the club more attractive to potential signings.

It is a lot harder to sell the idea of something that might happen, rather than something that is already happening. Players, established ones at that, will see it as an opportunity to be a part of a successful team.

Give supporters what they want: The Kop can be an understandable bunch, granted. But game after game of OK performances, with two steps forward and two steps back, can rightly frustrate. When paying big money for tickets, it's hard to see the bigger picture.

An attempt at instant success, however, would lift the crowd.

Pragmatism cons Disregards the future: Several clubs over the past decade demonstrate what happens if the future is not contemplated. …

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