LONDON. – Only Roberto De Zerbi knows what Jurgen Klopp whispered to him as he was bear–hugged by the German.

The exchange may only have been the usual touchline pre–match sweet nothings although it went on far longer than the norm.

But it could also have been Klopp saying he could count on his recommendation if he wants the position that will become vacant this summer.

Either way De Zerbi, thanks to the brilliant 87th second strike by Danny Welbeck that set this enthralling clash alight, did himself no harm at all if indeed he does want one of the biggest jobs in world when Klopp leaves.

In the end Klopp’s machine, as has so often been the case this season, got going on full power again after a stuttering start.

Luis Diaz and the marvellous Mo Salah saw to that with the goals that won the game and kept their team’s title bid flying.

But this was a close–run thing as Klopp knew, just as his potential successor did, too, in what was his first interview in front of The Kop following the news that top candidate Xabi Alonso won’t be leaving Bayer Leverkusen to take over.

He’s sure to be given another, proper one too by CEO Michael Edwards and sporting director Richard Hughes now that the head – hunters have been forced to spread their net with Sporting’s Ruben Amorim also well in the frame

The Seagulls were downed in the end but De Zerbi could hardly have asked for a better start to his audition.. The Sun

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