5 managers Liverpool could hire

Jurgen Klopp is now less than two months away from saying his goodbyes at Liverpool and fans still don’t know who’ll replace him.

In the 67 days since Klopp’s bombshell announcement, the Reds have appointed a new sporting director in Richard Hughes, seen owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) appoint their first ever CEO of football in Michael Edwards, and won the Carabao Cup – yet the big question still looms large.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso was the red-hot favourite to succeed Klopp, with his Bayer Leverkusen side enjoying an unbeaten season during his incredible second campaign at the club. But Alonso, whose team are within three games of winning the Bundesliga title and have hopes of a treble, has ruled out a departure and will stay at Leverkusen for at least one more season.

Whether Liverpool had already decided on him remains unknown, but someone who they aren’t interested in is Roberto De Zerbi, who many supporters considered to be the standout alternative. It’s emerged that the Brighton manager isn’t on the Reds’ wishlist and they’re instead looking at alternative targets. With all that in mind, here are five remaining candidates who Liverpool should consider.

1. Ruben Amorim

Kicking off with the current hottest name, Ruben Amorim is a man in demand. Not only are Liverpool understood to be looking at the Sporting Lisbon boss but Barcelona, too, as they prepare for life with Xavi.

The 39-year-old has a sizeable €13million (£11.1m) release clause in his Sporting contract, a significant hurdle for cash-strapped Barca. Liverpool, meanwhile, are likely more capable of paying such a fee if required.

Having retired aged 32 before going on to manage Portuguese minnows Casa Pia and then Braga, the former Belenenses and Benfica midfielder announced himself to the rest of Europe by defying the odds in his first full season at Sporting to win the 2020-21 Primeira Liga title. Amorim could well be the next big thing.

2. Julian Nagelsmann

Speaking of bright young managerial talents, Julian Nagelsmann is the global poster boy – now man – for getting into the dugout at an early age. Manager of German top-flight side Hoffenheim at just 28, Nagelsmann then enhanced his reputation with RB Leipzig before a move to Bayern Munich.

Despite winning the Bundesliga title in what turned out to be his one and only full season at Bayern, he was ruthlessly sacked a year ago and now finds himself in charge of Germany ahead of hosting Euro 2024. Die Mannschaft have steadily improved during Nagelsmann’s short reign but his contract expires after the tournament.

If he wants to return to the club game this summer – something which he’s refused to rule out even if Germany are successful – then there are few bigger opportunities than Liverpool. Watch out for Bayern, though, as a shock reappointment has been rumoured.

3. Ange Postecoglou

When you think of Jurgen Klopp, you don’t just think great tactician, you think great character, great leader, great bloke. Ask any Celtic or Tottenham fans about Ange Postecoglou and you’ll probably hear the same.

Since arriving in North London nine months ago, Postecoglou has got everyone at Spurs pulling in the same direction, injecting new life into a club filled with disillusion just as Klopp did at Anfield in 2015. His style of play is infectious and his success at Celtic demonstrates that he can handle some of the toughest pressure which British football has to offer.

Postecoglou has bought into Tottenham as a club and leaving Spurs behind would be a tough decision, but the allure of the Liverpool job could tempt him – especially after revealing that he supported the Reds during his childhood. From Liverpool’s perspective, the Greek-Australian coach has experience of the multi-club model which FSG are keen to implement, having managed Yokohama F Marinos, owned by City Football Group, who also boast strong links with Celtic.

4. Simone Inzaghi

Few bosses in Europe are as guaranteed to lift the league title this season as Simone Inzaghi, who’s led Inter Milan to another excellent campaign. A three-time Coppa Italia winner as a manager and a Champions League finalist last term, Inzaghi is edging towards the first Serie A triumph of his coaching career which began in 2016.

14 points clear of arch rivals AC Milan with eight games to go, Inter are the champions elect. As for what’s beyond this season, Inzaghi signed a contract extension back in September to commit his future until 2025, and while reports from Italy claim that talks over another new deal are progressing well, it’s also been reported that Liverpool are interested in his services.

His work over a five-year spell with Lazio and his three seasons at Inter have made him one of Europe’s most coveted managers and someone deemed capable to take on a mammoth job like Liverpool. The 47-year-old Italian, who’s the brother of ex-striker Filippo, could have a big decision to make.

5. Pep Lijnders

Finally, someone else who could be faced with a tantalising decision: Pep Lijnders. Just minutes after Klopp announced that he’d be leaving Liverpool, it was confirmed that his trusted assistant and the rest of the German’s highly-rated coaching staff would be following him.

Nevertheless, talk has persisted that Lijnders – who had a brief spell in charge of Dutch side NEC Nijmegen in 2018 before returning to his role at Anfield – could be convinced to stay if Liverpool decide that he’s the right fit. Ajax have also been tipped to appoint the 41-year-old, who arrived from Porto in 2014 and has a great rapport with Liverpool’s squad – Mirror.

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