Liverpool made a mistake not appointing Martin O'Neill when they had the chance

The former Aston Villa manager is working wonders at Sunderland at present, columnist Jake Lane believes Liverpool would be in Champions League now if they had brought him themselves.

I am so glad to see Martin O'Neill back in football.

Managers as good as the Northern Irishman should never be too far away from the game and he has certainly come back with a bang.

He won December's Manager of the Month award after turning Sunderland's season around and then inspired the team he supported as a boy to carry on their fine run of form into the new year.

When Rafa Benitez left Liverpool back in 2010, O'Neill was one of the front runners to replace him but the Merseysiders opted for Roy Hodgson, who had done so well at Fulham but we all know how well that went. He quit Villa a month later so would easily have been tempted away.

Even before The Reds and Hodgson had parted ways, King Kenny was as good as already in the hot seat and so for Martin O'Neill, the wait to return to football with one of the so called "Top Clubs" was going to be a long one.

But what would have happened if Liverpool had decided to go for him and not Hodgson, or even after he was sacked?

If you ask me, Martin O'Neill would be very much an adopted scouser and still at Anfield, Liverpool would have found a way back into the Champions League and Fulham, under Hodgson, would have enjoyed more of the success which saw them reach the Europa League Final in 2010 and not the stop start in fortunes they have experienced under Mark Hughes and Martin Jol.

O'Neill has always been a manager players WANT to play for and this obvious popularity saw him become a favorite for the England job during his time at Aston Villa and I'm sure if he had gone to Liverpool two summers ago, he'd be one of the favorites again now.

Martin O'Neill never achieved his objective of getting Villa into the Champions League but if his main objective is to keep Sunderland away from the wrong the end of the Premier League table and to perhaps reach the heights which saw them finish 7th under Peter Reid in the late 90s and early 00s then I can definitely see him achieving this one.  

Follow Jake on Twitter @jakeey8

image: © Dagur Brynjólfsson

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