Ruben Amorim would pass first Liverpool test just by saying ‘yes’

Liverpool managerial target Ruben Amorim
Former Liverpool managerial target Ruben Amorim.

You can pore over ‘Sporting CP’s 15-Game rolling xG trendlines for the Rúben Amorim era 2020-2024’, you can coo at a 3-2-5 transitional shape and you can rub yourself silly over Sporting conceding fewer shots per game (8.07) than any team from Europe’s big five leagues, but the single most important thing we will know about Ruben Amorim if he becomes Liverpool manager is this: He has colhões.

Every single warning from history tells you to avoid following a legend. Whether that’s Sir Alex Ferguson, a perfect dead boyfriend or Queen Elizabeth II, you are never going to measure up. It’s a fool’s errand. You would have to make a phenomenal effort just to stand still.

Be Mikel Arteta. Be the guy that follows the guy. Xabi Alonso knew the sensible move was to turn down a job that will likely become available with lower expectations further down the line. While Jurgen Klopp was allowed a 30-point drop from champions to third and then a 25-point swing from title challenge to fifth, his successor will not be given the same leeway.

Of course Unai Emery took the Arsenal job; he was out of work and Arsenal panicked their way into a pragmatic appointment. And of course David Moyes took the Manchester United job; it was always going to be his one chance of managing an elite club. And of course both failed, though Emery’s ‘failure’ was a roaring success compared to the McClusterf***.

But Alonso had a choice as he prepares to win his first league title, just as Amorim has a choice as he fights for his second. There’s safety in staying where you are already loved, where the players know your system, where you have earned a blip. If Amorim leaves Sporting for the uncertainty of Liverpool then he is a brave man with boundless self-belief.

He has already bristled at the Jose Mourinho comparisons (one compelling reason to counteract those in favour of Chelsea) but you have to believe yourself to be a teeny bit special to take over from Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. We have argued before that Manchester United or Chelsea would in some ways be simpler jobs to take; steadying a basket case has to be easier than trying to juggle baskets of flowers laid for your predecessor.

You will read plenty elsewhere about how Amorim can unlock Trent Alexander-Arnold as a midfielder in a double pivot or how his three-man defence can lengthen Virgil van Dijk’s elite career, but all the football data science available in 2024 would have done the same when treble winner Andre Villas-Boas took the Chelsea job 13 years ago. The truth is it is impossible to know how success in a minor European league will translate to the highest echelons of the Premier League.

But what we will indisputably know if Amorim takes the job is that he is a man who backs himself, who has seen players and fans bend to his will in Lisbon and believes he can do the same in Liverpool. More encouraging than data radars from inferior leagues are the anecdotes about how he has built mutual respect and loyalty with his players. Amorim will somehow need to foster that at Liverpool within weeks. While also courting a media which has been spoiled by Klopp.

This appointment has to be about personality as much as tactics and if Amorim leaves the comfort of Lisbon for the uncertainty of Liverpool then he has already passed the first test.

A different take: Five reasons Ruben Amorim should swerve Klopp’s shadow and join Chelsea instead

📣 To the comments! Is replacing Klopp a bigger test of character than coaching? Join the debate here.