What's next for FC Barcelona after the disaster at Anfield?
It's the worst time to be alive for all Barcelona fans right now.
For the fourth successive season in a row, Messi and co. have crashed out of the Champions League and this was probably the closest they got in the last four years. Yet this is going to be one of the worst defeats in Barcelona's history ever, simply due to the way they played.
Time and time again, these players have cracked under pressure in the Champions League and it has now become a regular pattern for this club.
From the players to the manager, everyone deserves to be blamed for the disastrous performance at Anfield and right now, the board and technical staff at FC Barcelona have some big calls to make going into the next season.
#1 Changing the team management
Quite simply put, Ernesto Valverde isn't good enough for such a big club like Barcelona. Thanks to him, Barcelona have been consistently winning and dominating the domestic league for the past two years, but the Champions League isn't his cup of tea.
In crunch moments, he looks out of ideas and doesn't seem to have a plan B. As a manager who gets the job done in terms of results, he may be one of the best currently, but his style of management simply doesn't suit a big club like Barcelona. He bases his entire tactics around one player (you know who I am talking about), and when that particular player isn't upto the mark, all his tactics go for a toss.
Talking about the disasters at Rome and Anfield, he was more of a reactive manager rather than a proactive one. For instance, he brought on Dembele too late at the 85th minute in Roma while chasing a goal instead of bringing him on earlier before the 3rd goal by Kostas Manolas. The same goes with players like Arthur and Malcom, who were brought on too late to make an impact rather than coming on earlier.
In such a situation, it is perfect for someone like Erik ten Hag, Ronald Koeman or Maurizio Sarri to step in, out of which the former two have been linked to Barcelona in the recent past.
The current manager of Ajax has been a revelation this season. Formerly an understudy of Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, the Dutch manager has quite successfully implemented the philosophy and tactics he learnt under the tutelage of the former Barcelona manager at Ajax.
Ajax have played some really good football under Erik ten Hag this season and they have gone pretty far in the Champions League under his leadership. Under ten Hag, the team has displayed attributes of cohesion as a unit and have also exhibited strong character in crunch moments.
Rather than looking up to a single player as a source of inspiration, the entire team has performed as a unit and have put in some formidable performances against the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus.
Talking about Ronald Koeman, the Barcelona legend has been pretty successful as the Dutch national team manager so far after his difficult tenure at Everton, even though it can be argued that Everton's players aren't really suited to a possession based style of play. Moreover, he has successfully worked with the likes of De Jong and De Ligt in the national team, both of whom are most likely to join Barcelona in the summer. The Dutch manager is no stranger to Barcelona's playing style and it's values and could be a perfect fit for the Catalan club.
As for Maurizio Sarri, even though he has been pretty less successful with Chelsea,it can be argued that he faces the same problem at Stamford Bridge as Koeman faced during his time at Everton. He does not have the players suited to his style of play, like he had during his time at Napoli. However, Sarri is pretty less likely to join Barcelona as no news outlets have linked him to Barcelona lately.
Simply put, the style of management of these three managers complements a club like Barcelona to a great extent in terms of style of play, youth development and other aspects as well and Barcelona would do great with such kind of managers.