Coppa Italia: Third Round / Team rating: 3 / Top scorer: Paulinho (15 goals)
A season of sub-standard football saw Livorno hurtle back to Serie B, but George Rinaldi wonders if it was it down to player performances or the board decisions.
Livorno arrived back in Serie A after a three year absence from the top flight hoping to survive at the first time of asking. The 2013-14 campaign started so promisingly, picking up eight points from the first 15 available. The Amaranto also grabbed valuable points against teams expected to be in and around the relegation zone, but since drawing 1-1 with Cagliari in late September, Livorno only managed to win one of the next 15 matches.
It was a run of games that saw manager Davide Nicola sacked and after a brief cameo role for Attilio Perotti, Domenico Di Carlo came into the fray. It proved to be a turbulent time from the board and their managerial choices, as mixed results from Di Carlo - three wins, three draws and eight losses - saw him sacked and Nicola reinstated for another stint as Coach. During Di Carlo’s time, he had done exactly what Nicola had done at the start of the campaign - acquire points against the teams down the bottom.
It would be fair to say that the failure of Livorno this season was not solely down to the managerial changes but that the players on the pitch weren’t able to up their game for at least three or four matches against teams in the top half of the table.
Their only surprise results were draws with Napoli and Inter and had they replicated such performances more often and just picked up a couple of wins against lesser opponents than these two, Livorno could have lived to have seen another season in Serie A. However, what appeared a difficult task at the start of the season ultimately proved impossible and Nicola could not save the Amaranto from dropping back into Serie B.
Davide Nicola has the ‘honour’ of being the longest serving manager at Livorno this campaign. Having been sacked on January 13 with the team in 19th he was reappointed on April 19 after Domenico Di Carlo was dismissed only 88 days into his tenure, with the club still in the relegation zone. Nicola only had five games to turn the Amaranto’s fortunes around. He didn’t.
A season loaded with poor displays and managerial merry-go-rounds, 24-year-old striker Paulinho can hold his head up high. The Brazilian was able to notch up an impressive 15 goals, over a third of his team’s total goal haul and saw him finish joint 10th in the Serie A top scorer chart.
- Livorno went four games unbeaten at the start of the season following their opening day loss to Roma. The longest unbeaten run following that was just two.
- The Amaranto were not the only team to fire then hire the same manager during the 2013-14 season. Sassuolo rehired Eusebio Di Francesco whilst Catania reappointed Rolando Moran. Unsurprisingly, two of the three sides were relegated.
- Livorno had the highest goals conceded average of 2.07 per game, whilst also recording the fewest clean sheets with three.