All good things come to an end. And so it is at Anfield, with the 2023/24 campaign representing the final season of the Jurgen Klopp era. It was the sports headline-grabbing news that no one saw coming, with Klopp announcing in a video to fans that he would be leaving at the end of the season – citing his main reason as simply needing a break, having masterminded the Reds to a consistent level of success for over eight years.
As is always the case following any managerial departure, the focus quickly turned to who may be the man to replace the outgoing German boss, with betting fans assessing the latest casino bonuses taking time to check in on the Next Liverpool Manager odds. Many names have been mentioned, and no doubt many more will be before an appointment is confirmed, but here we look at a selection of the most viable contenders.
Xabi Alonso: Xabi Alonso’s success at Bayer Leverkusen and his spell pulling the midfield strings at Anfield made him the first name on the lips of many Liverpool fans. His contract situation and rumoured clause allowing him to depart for former clubs like Liverpool further fuel speculation of his potential appointment. The early frontrunner.
Roger Schmidt: Roger Schmidt secured the Austrian league title with RB Salzburg in 2013/14 – a decent feat but standard fare for the most dominant force in the Austrian game. However, his achievement in leading Benfica to reclaim the Primeira Liga crown last season cemented his status amongst Europe’s premier coaches. This season, his Benfica side trails Sporting Lisbon, who are currently managed by a certain…
Ruben Amorim: The highly-regarded Sporting coach renowned for his attacking tactics would appear a solid candidate to take up the mantle of Klopp’s “heavy metal” brand of play. It’s no surprise that many reports place him on the Reds’ shortlist, and Amorim’s credentials rival those of Xabi Alonso, particularly in his understanding of club dynamics. Sporting’s €20 million buyout clause adds intrigue to his potential departure.
Ange Postecoglou: Ange Postecoglou garnered significant attention – including speculation linking him to Liverpool – during his successful stint with Celtic. However, the timing didn’t align with the Reds’ managerial vacancy. Postecoglou appears content at Tottenham, where his innovative style of play, dubbed “Angeball,” has gained admiration from Spurs fans. While his childhood allegiance to Liverpool may evoke nostalgia, he may not wish to leave the Tottenham project so early.
Michel Sanchez: Michel Sanchez’s Girona currently sits second in the La Liga table – a phenomenal achievement for a side whose resources are but a drop in the ocean compared to Real Madrid and Barcelona. Following the announcement that Xavi will be leaving Barca at the end of the season, Sanchez rates an obvious contender for Camp Nou, but Merseyside and the Premier League may prove equally enticing.
Zinedine Zidane: The former Real Madrid coach recently expressed his readiness to return to coaching after a three-year hiatus – a three-time winner of the Champions League with the Spanish giants, he won’t be short of suitors. Linked with PSG and Manchester United, Zidane’s interest in Liverpool has also been rumoured. If the Liverpool decision-makers look to a big name, they don’t come much bigger than Zizou.
Unai Emery: Unai Emery’s hugely impressive spell at Aston Villa has only amplified the exceptional managerial record of one of the hardest-working coaches in the game. Still early in his Villa reign, and with things going so well, Emery may be happy to stay put, but Liverpool are a difficult club to turn down should they come calling.
Julian Nagelsmann: Julian Nagelsmann’s departure from Bayern Munich, despite a solid Champions League record and Bundesliga standing, sparked interest in his next move. Set to lead the Germany national team at this year’s European Championships, Nagelsmann’s contract expires at the end of July – potentially placing him back on the market in time for the next Premier League season. Much may depend on how Germany fares this summer.
Pep Lijnders: Pep Lijnders, described as the author of a “counter-pressing bible,” is seen as a natural successor to Jurgen Klopp due to his extensive tenure as Liverpool’s assistant manager. Lijnders’ familiarity with the club’s philosophy and structure makes him a compelling candidate, potentially marking a significant return to Liverpool’s managerial tradition.
Roberto De Zerbi: Roberto De Zerbi’s excellent tenure at Brighton has unsurprisingly attracted attention, with his entertaining style of play capturing the admiration of fans. Far from regressing since the departure of Graham Potter, Brighton have excelled, with marked improvements in the attacking side of the game. His footballing philosophy meshes well with the Liverpool blueprint, and he seems destined to climb the ladder at some stage.