Five managers who could replace Klopp at Liverpool

Sam McGuire
Sam McGuire
  • 7 Feb 2023 14:15 GMT
  • 5 min read
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, 2022/23

Liverpool have won just once since the turn of the year and their defeat to Wolves on Saturday was their fourth in seven matches.

In fact, the Reds have taken just a single point from their last four Premier League outings, scoring one goal in the process and conceding nine times.

Following such a run, it was inevitable that talk would turn to Jurgen Klopp’s future on Merseyside.

READ MORE: Liverpool: Naby Keita set to leave in summer

The mere thought of Klopp being sacked seems far-fetched. He has a lot of credit in the bank having won everything with the Reds. But Liverpool are on course to finish on 55 points this season. Most managers wouldn’t survive this sort of campaign. But he is crucial to this project at Anfield and he is likely going to be given as much time as he wants.

However, there is a world in which he walks away when this season comes to an end.

He may have signed a contract extension in April 2022 but things have changed since then. Julian Ward and Ian Graham have both handed in their notices and the club is now looking for investment, with reports suggesting the current owners know they cannot compete financially with rivals in the league. There are even reports which claim a full sale is on the cards.

Klopp committed his future to the club when things were different. There would be no shame in wanting to part ways. Jan Åge Fjørtoft said as much following the loss to Wolves.

If he did depart, who could Liverpool bring in to replace him? Here’s a look at five possible candidates.

Pep Lijnders

Currently the assistant manager at Anfield, Lijnders has seen his influence grow over recent seasons. According to reports, he takes training sessions and is heavily involved in the transfer process now. In fact, in his much-maligned book, Lijnders talks about how when presented with two forward options, he opted for Luis Diaz and the Colombian speedster arrived shortly after.

He’s had one managerial job and that didn’t last too long back in the Netherlands. He failed to get NEC back into the Eredivisie and was sacked in May having been appointed in January.

Right now, he divides the Liverpool fanbase. Some dislike how present he is as an assistant manager while others point out the team didn’t start to win things until he returned to the club and played a part in tweaking the tactics.

Xabi Alonso

It is probably too soon for the former Liverpool midfielder to get a job of this magnitude but you can almost guarantee the Reds will be keeping tabs on how he gets on. Having impressed with Real Sociedad B, Bayer Leverkusen took the plunge and appointed him as their manager in October.

He took over when the club were second bottom and they now find themselves in tenth position. They even went on a five-match winning streak before their 2-0 loss to Dortmund at the end of January.

Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen

At this stage of a project, results aren’t the be-all-and-end-all. The focus is on performances and Alonso has given Leverkusen a clear style and philosophy.

FSG are fond of managers like this. The last two managers they hired arrived synonymous with a certain style. It makes it easier to assemble a squad that way.

Ruben Amorin

Amorim’s rise has been meteoric. He started the 2019/20 campaign as the manager of Braga’s reserve team and finished the season in charge of Sporting.

Having been promoted to manager of the Braga first-team, he won the Taça da Liga against Porto. He won 10 of his 13 matches in charge of the side before Sporting paid €10 million to appoint him as their manager.

In his first full season in the capital, he won Sporting’s first title in 19 years and retained the Taça da Liga, just with a different club, on his way to winning the Manager of the Year award.

Not only does Amorim have a set style and ideology, but he also has experience developing players. His Braga team included Joao Palhinha and Ricardo Horta. Both impressed during his brief stint there.

Roberto De Zerbi

De Zerbi would be a risky appointment having only just joined Brighton. However, his impact on the Seagulls cannot be overlooked. He has transformed the way they play in the middle of the season without results or performances taking a hit.

They are on course to claim a European spot and he’s been a positive influence on the careers of Karou Mitoma, Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo. He could have quite easily kept the 3-4-3 system Graham Potter was using at the Amex but he switched it to a 4-2-3-1 and Brighton are now much more of an attacking threat while also dominating the ball.

The Italian knows what he wants from his team and he goes about ensuring they can deliver. He is married to a specific identity and that could only be seen as a positive if he adopted a similar approach at Anfield. Ideally, you would want a larger sample size before making such an appointment though.

Steven Gerrard

For a period of time, Gerrard was the favourite to replace Klopp. It felt like a matter of when and not if he was going to be in the managerial seat at Anfield but after a disappointing period with Aston Villa, he’s in limbo.

Villa flip-flopped with their style during his stint there and they didn’t seem to have a set XI which hurt consistency. They also made some questionable decisions in the transfer market which made it difficult to balance the team.

Gerrard needs a successful period in charge of a club elsewhere before even having a chance to return to Merseyside.