Special One almost went to Anfield in 2004
Former Liverpool player Danny Murphy has revealed that current Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was ‘massively disappointed’ not to get to replace Gerard Houllier at Anfield in 2004.
Mourinho was looking for a move to the Premier League at the time after great successes with FC Porto in his home of Portugal. Liverpool sacked Houllier the summer after Mourinho had won the Champions League, but the Reds appointed Rafa Benitez over the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’.
Mourinho, of course, went on to take charge at Chelsea instead, and was arguably more successful than Benitez during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, despite not managing to win the Champions League.
Murphy told 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.
“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 in Portugal.
“I know Mourinho was massively disappointed.”
Murphy made 249 appearances for Liverpool between 1997 and 2004. He was sold to Charlton Athletic soon after Benitez’s arrival.
“I’m gutted too because Benitez came in and didn’t want me,” he joked.
“I’m just gutted it wasn’t Mourinho because he might have wanted me to stay!”
By Ben Kelly – @benkelly_10