Liverpool and Manchester United are 2 of the most successful English team in terms of trophy count in Europe and domestic. They are also 2 of the most followed team around the world and have their set of loyal fans. When comes to trophy, Manchester United has 20 league title and 3 European Cup. Liverpool, on the other hand, has 18 league titles and 6 European cups. From the 18 league titles and 6 European,6 of the league title and 3 of the European Cup had been won during Bob Paisley time.
He was chosen as the manager of Liverpool when Bill Shankly retired in 1976. Reluctantly accepting the job, he had managed Liverpool for an arguably the greatest period of trophy-winning in their history. Bob Paisley had held the record as the only manager who had 3 European cups with some team after he had won the European Cup in 1981 beating Real Madrid. The record was unbroken for 37 years until Zinedine Zidane emulates the feat with Real Madrid from 2016-2018. Bob Paisley also had managed Liverpool to become the first English team to successfully retain the European cup in 1977 and 1978. What makes Bob Paisley Liverpool as a dominant force domestically and in Europe for 9 years?
As mentioned earlier, Bob Paisley was reluctant to accept the position as Liverpool manager after the retirement of Bill Shankly. And the first thing, after accepting the job is, he did not change anything that Bill Shankly had implemented. Bill Shankly had laid the foundation for Liverpool from a 2nd division to UEFA Cup winners in 17 years from 1959-1976. As he is an assistant manager for Shankly during this era, Bob Paisley too had its input for Liverpool success hence this is one of the reasons that he did not change anything that Shankly had built to ensure continuity for Liverpool. Bob Paisley was wise enough to know if he had made any changes then it will cause great disruption and will destroy all the great things that Shankly had built.
Shankly may have been the motivator but Bob Paisley is a tactical manager. He knew that for Liverpool to succeed in Europe, they need to adopt a different game in Europe hence they had started to play the passing game, cautious approach and defensively astute. This approach has also been applied in domestic games hence making Liverpool a well-balanced team that can attack and defend effectively making opponents having a hard time beating them. During Bob Paisley’s time, Liverpool has everything a good and ball-playing defender, a goal-scoring and combative midfielder, a clinical finisher and a good attacking player.
Bob Paisley look likes Mr. Nice Guy but he isn’t. When the players still calling Bill Shankly as a boss while he is visiting Melwood training ground, Paisley had decided to ban Bill Shankly from the training ground. He does not want the player to undermine him as a manager hence he had taken this decision. When the player that he bought Alan Kennedy was not performing well, he had told to the player in the dressing room that “they had shot the wrong Kennedy” referring to the assassination of John F Kennedy. Paisley is ruthless and does not care about sentiment, if the play is not performed up to Liverpool standard he will be kicked out. This had put the player to giving more than 100 percent teach time they play for Liverpool.
Instill a Winning Mentality.
After winning the league title and they’re first-ever European Cup in 1977, a reported asked Bob Paisley on how you will better this achievement and Bob Paisley replied in a 4 magical word “by winning it again” and true to his word, Liverpool did win the European Cup again in 1978 and becoming the first English team to retain the European title. Not only in domestic they are running rampant by winning 6 league titles under Bob Paisley and this shows that Bob Paisley does not want any complacency crept into their player and making them a winning machine.
Recruitment of players
When Kevin Keegan left Liverpool for Hamburg, Liverpool had seemed to lose a crucial player. But Bob Paisley quickly bought Kenny Daglish to replace Kevin Keegan. Keegan is more of a center forward while Daglish is a playmaker with exquisite finishing skills. All his players Alan Kennedy, Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and many more had been perfect recruitment by Bob Paisley to ensure Liverpool domination. During his time, rarely he makes wrong recruitment. Daglish had been a key player in a quick time, Alan Hansen had formed a great partnership with Phill Thompson, Graeme Souness is a combative player with good technical abilities and Alan Kennedy is great attacking left-back. This recruitment combined with Paisley tactical acumen had led Liverpool to be a dominant team in every department in the field.
Bob Paisley is a reluctant man to take over Bill Shankly but he had managed Liverpool to a greater height than Bill Shankly. After winning the League Cup in the final year of Bob Paisley’s management, the Liverpool captain at that time Graeme Souness had insisted Paisley lift the trophy in place of him. Bob Paisley is a humble man, never been in any controversies, never been arrogant and complacent as he is a man of action adding to his tactical knowledge of the game had led Liverpool to be a dominant force in domestic and Europe.
Bob Paisley had passed away in 1996 but his legacy had been enshrined in Liverpool folklore and at Anfield. 3 years after Bob Paisley had passed away, Paisley Gateway had been built. The gateway has the depiction of 3 European Cup that Paisley had won, the crest of his birthplace Hetton le Hole and the crest of Liverpool. Bill Shankly is the one who creates the foundation for Liverpool but Bob Paisley is the man that took Liverpool to a greater height to be dominant in England and Europe.