Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has set the record straight about why the Anfield club chose Rafa Benitez over Jose Mourinho back in 2004, according to a report in the Mirror.
Both managers were in demand by clubs across Europe with Mourinho winning the Portuguese league and the Champions League with FC Porto while Benitez had just orchestrated his second La Liga title victory with Valencia in Spain.
However, when it came to choosing a manager to manage Liverpool, the club went with the Spaniard Benitez instead of Mourinho way back in 2004.
Recounting the process of appointing a new boss while he was still playing for Liverpool as cited in the Mirror, Carragher said:
“Gerard Houllier had lost his job, and (chief executive) Rick Parry had interviewed Rafa Benitez at some stage.”
“He was just keeping the senior players informed about where they were up to, and he did mention Jose Mourinho.
“I knew much more about Rafa Benitez because of the Spanish football and what he’d done, and it looked that (appointing him) was quite far down the road anyway.”
“But I think the feeling was that Jose Mourinho couldn’t be a Liverpool manager, possibly because of the way he conducted himself at times.”
“I think even that run down the line, even though it was great, at Old Trafford, the feeling was at the club and maybe from certain players that it wasn’t really the Liverpool way of doing things.”
“So I always thought we’d go for Rafa with him being a little bit more standoffish,” Carragher added.
Liverpool went on to lift the Champions League under Benitez in 2005 but couldn’t manage to win that elusive Premier League title they so desperately wanted to win.
In the end, Mourinho went to Chelsea and won back to back Premier League titles with the Blues in 04/05 and 05/06, the west London outfit broke records whilst doing so.
Would Liverpool have won the Premier League if Mourinho headed to Anfield instead of Benitez?