Football News

“There was a feeling Jose Mourinho could never be a Liverpool manager” – Jamie Carragher

By Chris Smith

Published: 19:40, 29 March 2020

Jamie Carragher has explained why Liverpool chose Rafael Benitez over Jose Mourinho to become their new manager back in 2004.

The Reds were in need of a new head coach after parting ways with Gerard Houllier and eventually settled on Benitez, who was fresh from leading Valencia to two La Liga titles in three seasons.

Why did Liverpool choose Rafa over Jose? Five things to know…

  • Benitez led Valencia to two La Liga titles and a Uefa Cup in three seasons between 2002 and 2004.
  • His exploits there persuaded Liverpool to appoint him as Houllier’s successor in 2004.
  • The Spaniard won the 2005 Champions League and 2006 FA Cup with the Reds.
  • But ex-defender Carragher has revealed Liverpool were also considering a move for Mourinho.
  • The Portuguese was disregarded due to his touchline conduct.

However, Mourinho — who led FC Porto to Uefa Cup and Champions League titles — was also mentioned in-line with the Liverpool job, although he eventually joined Chelsea instead, where the Blues would subsequently end a 50-year championship wait in 2004/05.

And Carragher has revealed how Mourinho’s antics — including when he sprinted down the touchline at Old Trafford — meant that he “couldn’t be a Liverpool manager”.

“Gerard Houllier had lost his job, and (chief executive) Rick Parry had interviewed Rafa Benitez at some stage,” Carragher told Sky Sports.

“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.

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“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.

He continued: “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 reveals why he avoided management

Despite captaining Liverpool on a number of occasions and displaying great leadership qualities throughout his playing career, Carragher surprised many by avoiding going into management, instead choosing a life of punditry.

The 42-year-old revealed the “act” managers are forced to put on — whether that be at press conferences, dealing with agents or keeping out-of-favour players onside — isn’t in his playbook, with Carragher insisting he isn’t “cut out” for life in the dugout.

“There are a lot of things we don’t see when it comes to management,” he said.

“Managers have to act, and rightly so: press conferences, speaking to players and I don’t think they’re themselves that often.

“They’ve got to play the actor all the time, and that must be difficult; speaking to players and trying to get them onside, possibly even those you don’t rate or don’t like, trying to get an agent onside to sign a player – there’s constant need to put on this act.

“I don’t really like people acting to me or being like that myself.

“I’m very straight with people, but I feel managers must be like that, telling players sometimes what they want to hear rather than the truth.

“I’m just not sure I’d have been cut out for that.”