Barnes backs Villas-Boas for Reds, salutes Dalglish

John Barnes has backed Andre Villas-Boas to be the next Liverpool manager. The Portuguese is among the favourites to replace Kenny Dalglish after the Scot was dismissed yesterday following a disappointing 16-month period in charge.

Chelsea sacked Villas-Boas in March amid reports he had lost the dressing room following a poor run of form, which saw the Londoners drop out of the top four. The 34-year-old is among the favourites for the position at Anfield, and Barnes thinks he would do a good job if appointed.

"Andre Villas-Boas is a good manager," Barnes said. "His footballing philosophy and his style of play fit. He proved he could win things at Porto.

"He was at the right club at the wrong time with Chelsea. There were a lot of problems for him there because of the older players. He is a proven manager and he would be coming in to a humbler squad than the one at Chelsea if he came to Liverpool.

"He will get backing from the players. They will be eager to learn and listen to his plans. I think if it is going to be him, he could do a good job at Liverpool."

Andre Villas-Boas is a good manager. His footballing philosophy and his style of play fit. He proved he could win things at Porto.
John Barnes on Andre Villas-Boas

There has been a clamour among some Liverpool fans for the return of Rafa Benitez, who was sacked following a successful six-year spell in 2010. Barnes, who played 407 for the Reds, also thinks the Spaniard would be a good appointment.

He said: "He would be a good option. He is still a very good manager, he's still highly regarded at Liverpool and a lot of the fans still love him."

'Kenny is still the king'
Dalglish won six titles as a player and then went on to cement his place in the club's history by clinching three championships during his first spell as manager. He answered an SOS from the club in January 2011 after the sacking of Roy Hodgson, but despite a promising start, the Glaswegian's tenure ended with a disappointing eighth-placed finish this season. Despite the team's poor performance in the league, Barnes believes Dalglish should have been given more time.

"I was shocked when the rumours started," Barnes said. "I feel sorry for Kenny because there was an improvement in the team. In the last month the big-money signings like Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson have performed well. If Kenny had stayed there would have been even more improvement, definitely.

"He had a long-term project. If you give managers time they will be successful, as Manchester United have shown with Sir Alex Ferguson. He has laid the foundations and whoever comes in, I'm convinced they will be challenging for a top-four finish next season."

Despite his sacking, Barnes still thinks Dalglish's status at the club will remain intact. The former England winger said: "He will be remembered by Liverpool as one of the club's greatest managers and the greatest player. His status has not been harmed whatsoever. He has said he is still available to help the club in any way he can, so Kenny is still the king."