While it may come as unimaginable news for Manchester United fans, Jose Mourinho did very nearly became Liverpool manager many years before he took over the hot seat at Old Trafford.
In an appointment which would have drastically altered the history of the Premier League, former Liverpool player Danny Murphy has revealed just how close the Special One was to becoming manager of the storied Merseyside outfit, when speaking on Talksport.
“When Benitez was appointed at Liverpool, it was between him and Mourinho.
“I know that for a fact.
“Mourinho wanted the Liverpool job massively.”
In the twelve years since Mourinho was shunned by the Reds he’s gone on to win a plethora of trophies around Europe, however the club’s logic for opting for Benitez at the time was pretty sound and did lead to the Reds becoming European champions in 2005.
“But Liverpool basically went with Benitez, because he’d just won the Spanish league title and UEFA Cup with Valencia and they thought that was more solid an appointment than someone who had only done it, and that time, in Portugal,” Murphy added.
“I know Mourinho was massively disappointed.”
In the time since Liverpool made their ultimate decision a bitter rivalry has also played out between Mourinho and Benitez with jibes being thrown between the pair on a frequent basis over the years; perhaps initially ignited by the Liverpool board’s decision back in the mid-noughties.
Although at one point in his career Mourinho was on the brink of becoming a potential legend at Anfield, that day appears to have very much come and gone with his appointment at Manchester United surely ending any hopes of him ever stepping foot inside the home dugout on Merseyside.
Under pressure now to begin an altogether different legacy at United, Mourinho needs to get his side back on track in the Premier League beginning with a tough game at home to Leicester this weekend.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena