José Mourinho once ‘sent rep to land Liverpool job’ as ex-Man Utd boss pictured at Fulham win

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
José Mourinho watches on as Liverpool beat Fulham on Sunday -Credit:(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Liverpool is still facing the monumental task of replacing Jürgen Klopp, with the German boss now having just five matches in charge of the Reds. His tenure could yet end on the ultimate high with Liverpool remaining in the Premier League title race.

Klopp's side beat Fulham 3-1 on Sunday to go second in the table and there was an interesting spectator in the stands at Craven Cottage, with ex-Chelsea and Manchester United manager José Mourinho watching on.

His presence sparked wild theories on social media as Liverpool continues its search for Klopp's replacement. Sporting CP boss Rúben Amorim is the favorite but has so far given very little away over where his future may lie.

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But even the bookies aren't really putting two and two together to make five when it comes to Mourinho. Having left Roma earlier this season, the Portuguese is not considered likely to be in the running. He is priced at 40/1 with most bookmakers, behind the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

And Liverpool would no doubt have to exhaust a massive list of candidates before it ever arrived at Mourinho. But there's little doubt he would be open to the job — he has not been shy about flitting between rivals, and he even once sent a representative to try and land the position.

As Tony Barrett recounted for JOE, a rep of Mourinho was at Anfield hours before the young manager's now-iconic sprint down the Old Trafford touchline. Agent Jorge Baideck made the unsolicited approach to pitch his client as the next manager of Liverpool.

Baideck arrived on the pretext of transfer discussions, but soon diverted Rick Parry, then of Liverpool and now the EFL chief, for a coffee, the story goes. His opening gambit was as bold as it was clear: “José Mourinho would like to come and manage Liverpool.”

Gérard Houllier was under pressure at this stage, but was still Liverpool manager. The club was left unimpressed by Mourinho's agent pitching for a position that was not vacant, having met with the incumbent manager mere hours before to discuss transfers.

In the end, Houllier did depart at the end of the season. But by then, Chelsea had already been in a position to pull the trigger, and Liverpool instead went for Rafael Benítez. There were no regrets when the Champions League — for which Houllier had secured qualification in the weeks after that meeting with Mourinho's agent — was delivered to Anfield the very next season.

Almost a full two decades later, there will be no belated union between Liverpool and Mourinho. But just like with Klopp, this is another reminder that there are sliding doors moments that can define entire footballing eras, underlining the importance of the decision FSG now faces.

An original version of this article was first published on January 26. It has since been updated.