Jamie Carragher believes Sam Allardyce would have Liverpool playing his own trademark style of football if he was in charge at Anfield.
Allardyce is back in the Premier League with Leeds United and has had tongues wagging all week. In his very first press conference in the new job, the 68-year-old claimed to be just as good a manager as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
Clearly, this has been met with the ridicule it deserves. And writing in The Telegraph today, Carragher shared his own thoughts on the comparison.
“With respect, if Allardyce was in charge of the current Manchester City or Liverpool squad, there isn’t a chance they would be playing the possession or ‘gegenpressing’ game that has brought their respective coaches every honour,” said the pundit. “They would still have the traits of every Allardyce team. Fair enough, too. I’m a massive believer that football is enhanced by different styles. It would be boring if every coach wanted to play like Guardiola or Klopp.
“What I object to is the suggestion that these great managers are not truly worthy of their place above their peers, as if their success is more a consequence of opportunity than talent. Guardiola and Klopp are genuine game-changers. The levels of coordination between all 11 players (including the goalkeeper) in Guardiola’s Barcelona and Manchester City team are of another level. Nobody was playing like this 20 years ago, let alone in the Seventies and Eighties. Why pretend or argue otherwise?”
Allardyce makes Premier League return
Thankfully, there is absolutely zero chance of Big Sam ever being given the chance to test Carra’s hypothesis. As much as he’d like to believe otherwise, he’s never ever getting the Liverpool gig.
If he did though, would he be able to – as he suggests – get as much out of this Reds squad as Klopp has? In short, no, no he would not.
Allardyce may paint himself as a victim of being an unfashionable manager, but he’s had his chances. He failed miserably to take Newcastle United to the next level and couldn’t keep out of trouble long enough to make an impression with England.
In-between he’s obviously had his successes. And it is true that he’s never taken on a truly big club. But there’s clearly a reason why that is.
The league is definitely a more colourful place with Allardyce in it, though. As Carragher points out, football would be woefully boring if every team played the same way.
It will be interesting to see whether the former Bolton manager can turn things around at Leeds. He’s got a tricky set of fixtures as he faces Guardiola, Eddie Howe, David Moyes as well as young upstart Ryan Mason. Luckily, we can watch on safe in the knowledge that Big Sam Ball is never coming to Anfield.