5 Managers Who Could Succeed Jürgen Klopp At Liverpool
Current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp sent shockwaves through the footballing world on Friday when he announced that he will be leaving Liverpool following the conclusion of the 2023-2024 Premier League Season.
Klopp is known for being one of the best managers in the world and has been the catalyst for Liverpool’s resurgence in the last decade. During his over eight-year stay with the Reds, he has won it all. A Premier League title, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the FA Community Shield, the UEFA Supercup, a Club World Cup and of course, the Champions League, have all been won by Klopp at Liverpool. This year, his Liverpool team is impressing as well, currently sitting atop the Premier League table after 21 games played.
The impact he has had on the club is undeniable. With the news of his departure, however, it is time to look to the future for Liverpool. Who will be the one to succeed the legendary Klopp? Here are five managers who could be on the touchline for Liverpool next season.
Here is the bookmaker’s favorite. Current Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso has been tabbed as the likeliest heir to the Klopp throne. His Leverkusen side is currently lighting the Bundesliga on fire, sitting atop the table two points ahead of Bayern Munich. With Leverkusen’s entertaining style and impressive results, Alonso has quickly become one of the hottest young managers in the world.
What is attractive about Alonso is not just the fact that he is currently leading a high-flying Leverkusen side. The Spaniard is a former Liverpool player, suiting up for the Reds as a midfielder from 2004-2009. He understands the club and its fanbase, a key quality that will surely excite Liverpool as they begin their recruitment process.
The good news for Liverpool, if they decide to pursue Alonso, is that they will not have to compete with Real Madrid for his signature. Alonso, who also played for the Spanish giants in his playing years, was seen as the favorite to replace current Real manager Carlo Ancelotti. After Ancelotti signed a new contract with Los Blancos, however, Liverpool will be able to court Alonso without any serious competition.
What might discourage Liverpool from going after Alonso is his young age and (current) lack of trophies. After Klopp’s success, the Liverpool faithful are going to demand trophies. Liverpool needs to find a manager who can ensure that the club will at least be constantly competitive in the Premier League and Champions League.
With Alonso’s youth, it is still too early to see if he is this kind of manager. A Bundesliga title this year will drastically alter this narrative, but for now, he is still a young, rather inexperienced manager. Still, it would not be surprising at all to see Alonso return to Anfield next season, and there is a reason he is the bookmaker’s favorite at the moment.
Roberto De Zerbi:
Here is an interesting choice. Italian manager Roberto De Zerbi has earned plenty of plaudits since taking over the Brighton job, evening receiving praise from Pep Guardiola. Getting a compliment from arguably the greatest manager in the history of the game shows just how good of a manager De Zerbi is, and a call from Liverpool does not seem unlikely.
The biggest positive about De Zerbi is that he has Premier League experience. His Brighton side is currently in 7th place in the league, impressing with its impressive attacking threat. For a smaller club like Brighton to have the success that it is having is incredibly impressive, and this is due to De Zerbi’s management and play style.
Another thing about De Zerbi is his ability to develop players. Despite constantly losing its starts to bigger clubs, Brighton always seems to just get better. This is because De Zerbi can improve players like very few can. For a club like Liverpool which has a very impressive youth system, you would be sure to see some of these youngsters become stars under De Zerbi’s tutelage.
The main concern with De Zerbi is that he has never managed a bigger side before. He has been successful with smaller clubs such as Sassuolo in Serie A and Brighton, helping them to top-half finishes despite less resources than other clubs. However, will this translate to success at one of the biggest clubs in the world?
Some managers, such as another former Brighton manager Graham Potter, struggle once they move to bigger clubs with more resources. Will this be the same case for De Zerbi? We will not know until he inevitably moves to a bigger club, but with the success he is having at Brighton, plus his incredible managerial IQ, he offers an attractive option for Liverpool.
This is a scenario that I could see going down. Following the 2024 European Championships, Julian Nagelsmann, who signed a contract to be the German national team’s manager through the tournament following the sacking of Hansi Flick, becomes Liverpool’s next manager and Klopp becomes Germany’s next head coach.
This pseudo-swap could be a good situation for Liverpool. They would be able to hire one of football’s greatest tactical minds as its next head coach. Nagelsmann’s gegenpress style, which is a style of play where the players immediately press to repossess the ball after losing it, is similar to the style currently deployed by Klopp. This will make it easier for the players to transition from Klopp to the new regime and more willing to adapt to Nagelsmann’s vertical tiki-taka style of build-up.
Nagelsmann has also proven that he can get results. He has a Bundesliga title to his name, and his RB Leipzig teams were a constant threat in the Champions League, even reaching the semifinals in 2020. If Liverpool is looking for title success right off the bat, Nagelsmann could be the right man.
The main concern with the German manager is his lack of “success” while managing Bayern Munich. I put success in quotations because he still won a Bundesliga title and a couple of other trophies during his time in Bavaria. However, he was let go after being deemed “unfit” for the Bayern culture. Nagelsmann likes to do things his way, and this does cause clashes between him and the front office.
Still, if Nagelsmann is let go or decides to resign from the German national team following this summer’s Euros, Liverpool would be foolish to at least not consider him as Klopp’s replacement.
Want to make a serious splash with your coaching hire? If Liverpool answers yes, then there is no better option than Zinedine Zidane.
One of the best players to ever put on a pair of cleats, Zidane might be as good at managing as he was at playing. The French legend won 11 titles with Madrid during his brief two stints as Los Blancos’s manager. This includes three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles. Do you want a title-winning pedigree? Then Zidane is your guy.
The main question with Zidane is if he would take the Liverpool job. He has not managed since the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season. It is known that he wants to manage the French national team, but with the success Didier Deschamps is having with the national team and the fact that his contract runs through the 2026 FIFA World Cup, it looks unlikely that Zidane will have this opportunity in the next few years.
Because of this, he is constantly being linked to other high-profile jobs and national team jobs, including the USMNT. However, he has yet to bite on any of these. Could Liverpool be the job that finally reawakens the genius that is Zidane? Or will he continue to hold out until the French job is available?
One of the most enticing things about Xabi Alonso is the fact that he is a former Liverpool player. Well, if we are going to talk about former Liverpool players, then I would be remiss to not mention Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool legend is currently managing Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq after making the move to the the Middle East this past summer. Could Liverpool be the job to bring him back to the U.K.?
If offered the job, Gerrard would certainly accept. Liverpool fans would also be excited to see one of the club’s greatest-ever players return to Anfield. There are concerns, however, over how fit he is for the job.
After having an incredible tenure with Rangers in Scotland, Gerrard made the move to the Premier League in 2021, becoming the head coach of Aston Villa. He was not able to recreate his success north of the border with Villa, however, and was dismissed by the club less than a year after taking the job.
Gerrard’s failure with Villa is a major concern if Liverpool were to consider him for the job. Plus, with other former players failing as managers at their former clubs, like Andrea Pirlo at Juventus and Xavi currently at Barcelona, Liverpool might be more inclined to look for a more experienced, more successful manager, rather than a club legend.
While more unlikely than the other four names mentioned earlier, you still have to believe that Gerrard’s name will come up as Liverpool looks for Klopp’s heir. Depending on what other candidates decide to do and what the club is looking for in their next manager, do not be too shocked if Steven Gerrard makes a sensational return to his boyhood club to become its next manager.
Who do you think will be Liverpool’s next manager? Let us know in the comments below.
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