Villas-Boas backed for Liverpool job

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Andre Villas-Boas may have seen his odds to become Liverpool's next manager drop with bookmakers on Thursday, but the Portuguese has emerged as the favoured choice of Reds supporters.

The former Chelsea boss had been installed as the early frontrunner to replace Kenny Dalglish at Anfield, but reports on Friday have claimed Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have cooled their interest in the Portuguese.

Villas-Boas was expected to have a meeting with John W Henry and Tom Werner this week but, some what surprisingly, appears not have made the cut for the interview process.

While some bookmakers had offered odds as short as 2/1 for the 34-year-old to take the Reds job this summer as recently as this morning, Villas-Boas is now back at around 5/1.

However, the Portuguese has topped a poll of Liverpool fans to discover their preferred candidate to succeed Dalglish, taking 50 percent of over 20,000 votes cast in a poll conducted by GMF.

The prospect of an emotional return for Rafael Benitez still remains an appealing one for Reds supporters, with 31 percent of them voting in favour of the Spaniard being given another shot at the job.

Benitez left Liverpool by mutual consent in the summer of 2010, having only been able to muster a seventh place finish in the Premier League, meaning the Reds missed out on the Champions League for the first time during his tenure.

He still remains incredibly popular on Merseyside after a relatively successful reign at Anfield, while he is available for hire, having been out of work since leaving Inter Milan.

The current favourite with the bookies is Wigan's Roberto Martinez, and Latics chairman Dave Whelan has confirmed the 38-year-old has been granted permission to meet with the Liverpool owners.

Martinez is expected to be interviewed for the position on Friday, although supporters appear unconvinced he is the right man for the job, with the Spaniard taking only a measly six percent of votes cast.

FSG have reportedly outlined the want for a young manager with experience of winning league titles, which seems to suggest Martinez is not exactly what the Americans are looking for.

However, Martinez has impressed with the brand of football adopted at the DW Stadium, and his ability to work shrewdly in the transfer market is likely to hold appeal.

Meanwhile, another young manager to have impressed with his philosophy in recent seasons is Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers, with the Welsh club retaining their Premier League status last term in free-flowing style.

Although Rodgers rejected the opportunity to speak to Henry and Werner last week, he still remains among the favourites with the bookmakers although not, it would appear, with Liverpool fans.

The 39-year-old was afforded only one percent of support from voters, with Liverpool fans rightly questioning Rodgers' experience, given he has managed in the top-flight for just a single season.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of experience, albeit outside the Premier League, comes Fabio Capello, who has also been touted as the next Liverpool manager.

Capello is still available after leaving England in February in the wake of John Terry being stripped of the captaincy, and seven percent of Liverpool fans would welcome the Italian to Merseyside.

Villas-Boas, then, tops the list of candidates as far as Liverpool supporters are concerned, which seems to suggest his reputation remains relatively untarnished despite his disappointing reign at Chelsea.

Villas-Boas lost ten and won 19 of his 40 matches in charge at Stamford Bridge, while his methods prompted fractures in the Chelsea dressing room.

This time last year, he was the most coveted manager in Europe, having led Porto to the league title without losing a game and also claiming the Europa League.

Add to that the Portuguese Cup and Super Cup, and it was a memorable campaign for Villas-Boas during his only season at the Estádio do Dragão.

He is unlikely to have a shortage of offers 12 months on although, should Liverpool decide to approach him, Villas-Boas may opt for a move overseas in order to avoid damaging his credentials in the Premier League.

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