Ranking Liverpool managers in the Premier League era from worst to best

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Jurgen Klopp celebrates after Liverpool Champions League victory against AC Milan.

Liverpool are in safe hands with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, but that hasn’t always necessarily been the case at Anfield during the Premier League era.

Since Division 1 was given a facelift, the Reds have had eight managers in total, with Greame Souness being the first of a mixed bunch.

We decided to see how each manager fared during their time in the Liverpool hotseat and rank them from worst to best.

8. Roy Hodgson

Hodgson is fondly remembered by most of the clubs he’s managed over a lengthy career, but there’s no chance of that at Liverpool.

The legacy of his summer signings Raul Meireles, Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, Paul Konchesky, Brad Jones, Danny Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey and Milan Jovanovic says all you need to know about Hodgson’s stay at Anfield, which only lasted half a season.

READ: Where are they now? Roy Hodgson’s eight signings as Liverpool manager

7. Graeme Souness

The Scotsman was some player, but he entered the Premier League era – or the Premiership as it was known then – with massive names including Ian Rush and John Barnes as well as exciting youngsters Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler but still failed to finish above sixth in two seasons.

We’ll be kind and give him credit for winning the FA Cup in 1991-92, even though that falls just outside of the Premier League era. It was actually in that very competition that Souness lost his last straw, resigning in January 1994 after suffering a shock defeat to Bristol City.

6. Kenny Dalglish

Dalglish started out as caretaker manager after Hodgson’s dismissal in January 2011, but having overseen a rise in form in the back end of the campaign, as Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll were brought in to replace Chelsea-bound Fernando Torres, he was given a three-year contract.

He would only see out one more season, though, after finishing eighth in the league, but there was a League Cup victory to enjoy as well as an FA Cup final.

Ranking Kenny Dalglish’s 11 signings back at Liverpool from worst to best

5. Roy Evans

Evans took on a side that was devoid of confidence after Souness’ departure, making some astute signings and nurturing the club’s young talent to help them take a step up the table – finishing either third or fourth in all of his complete campaigns.

Despite bringing in Stan Collymore and Patrik Berger, helping Michael Owen come through and building squads that looked capable of being winners, the former Liverpool player could never quite take the Reds up that next level.

He tasted victory in the League Cup, but ‘The Spice Boys’ were beaten by bitter rivals Manchester United the following campaign. Gerard Houllier was originally meant to come in as Evans’ partner, but that didn’t work out and the Englishman left in 1998.

READ: Roy Evans: We should have won title, maybe we were too attack-minded

4. Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers was so close to the eternal glory of winning Liverpool’s first Premier League trophy in 2013-14, only for it to be snatched away in the final games before leaving the club empty-handed less than two years later.

He has to be Liverpool’s most prominent nearly man in recent years, having also reached two semi-finals in one season, just to be beaten by Aston Villa in the FA Cup and Chelsea in the League Cup. Thinking about it, Rodgers’ time at Anfield was pretty brutal.

3. Rafael Benitez

After succeeding Houllier, Benitez won one less trophy than the Frenchman but won the competition everybody had wanted during his first campaign with the club: Liverpool’s first Champions League in 21 years.

The early success continued with a dramatic FA Cup win against West Ham United in 2005-06. Things weren’t always easy for the Spaniard, as he didn’t win a trophy after the 2006 Community Shield, coming runner-up in the Champions League and Premier League.

He eventually left Anfield in the summer of 2010 after finishing seventh – with the eighth-placed finish of 1993-94 being their only worse Premier League placing.

READ: Where are they now? The final Liverpool XI of the Rafa Benitez era

2. Gerard Houllier

Going it alone after Evans’ departure, Houllier didn’t have the easiest of starts to life at Anfield, but earned the respect of many and five trophies – the cup treble of 2000-01 undoubtedly ranks as his biggest achievement in the Liverpool dugout.

He got rid of ‘The Spice Boys’ and promoted a far more disciplined club culture, while also giving greater prominence to the likes of Jamie Carragher, Owen and Steven Gerrard, eventually being the man to make the latter captain.

In 2001-02, Houllier took the Reds to second place, something they hadn’t done before in the Premier League, but agreed to leave in 2004 after failing to mount a title challenge in two seasons while losing the fans and playing negative football.

However, he had vitally earned Champions League qualification, allowing Benitez to go on and get that historic victory.

1. Jurgen Klopp

There was never any doubt that the German would be crowned Liverpool’s best manager of the Premier League era – there are some who would probably argue he’s up there with the best of the lot.

Not only did he deliver Liverpool’s long-awaited Premier League trophy, but won another Champions League 14 years after Benitez had managed it.

Klopp has also managed to win the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup while delivering a swashbuckling style of football and there will surely be more trophies to come during his tenure.


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