Football Features

How Liverpool could line up for the three favourites to replace Jürgen Klopp

By James Amey

Published: 15:03, 29 March 2024

It was the moment every Liverpool fan across the world had been dreading. 

After nearly nine years at the club, Jürgen Klopp will leave Liverpool this summer after he announced that this season will be his last.

The German has had huge success during his time at Anfield, becoming the only manager in the club’s history to win the top-flight league title, the European Cup/Champions League, the EFL Cup and the FA Cup as well as lifting the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup and the Community Shield. His side are currently top of the Premier League, in the League Cup final, still in the Europa League and FA Cup and on a 19-game unbeaten streak across domestic competitions, hoping to finish his final season in style and bring home at least one piece of silverware.

His departure along with his backroom staff of Pep Lijnders (Assistant Manager), Peter Krawietz (Assistant Manager), Vitor Matos (Elite Development Coach) and Jorg Schmadtke (Sporting Director) leaves a huge hole and means the Liverpool board now have some incredibly tough decisions to make for the future of the club.

To help them out, and put some Liverpool’s fans minds at ease, we’ve taken a look at some of the favourites in the market to take over at the club next season and how the Reds could possibly line-up under each one.

Next permanent Liverpool manager Sky Bet
Ruben Amorim 4/6
Roberto De Zerbi 5/1
Julian Nagelsmann 7/1
Xabi Alonso 8/1
Pep Lijnders 14/1
Ange Postecolgu 18/1
Thomas Tuchel 20/1
Roger Schmidt 22/1
You have to be 18+ to gamble. UK only. All odds within this article are accurate at the time of writing (14:30, 29/03/2024). Be Gamble Aware.

Xabi Alonso was initially the favourite after guiding Bayer Leverkusen to within touching distance of a historic treble and an unbeaten Bundesliga season but, amid further interest from Bayern Munich, the Spaniard has now revealed he’ll be staying put next season.

“It’s been a season where we’ve had a lot of speculation regarding my future, until now we’ve had so many games, we’ve been pretty busy and focused,” Alonso at his Friday press conference ahead this weekend’s clash with Hoffenheim.

He added: “I wanted to use that time in the international break and take a decision and last week I had a very good meeting with Simon [Rolfes, managing director], Fernando [Carro, CEO] and informed them of my decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen.

“For sure, all the decisions you have to analyse well. I try to take the right ones, and where they come in a natural way. This is the right way for me to develop as a coach. I am a young coach, but right now, I feel this is the right place.

“I feel really respected by all the departments, the fans show us great support this year but also during the difficult moments last year. I have a great staff who help me day by day to work better, improve and prepare the team – and for sure, the players give me so many reasons to keep on believing in the team. Their commitment, desire and hunger, for that I feel my job is not over here.

“Putting all those things together, this important decision I believe is the right one. I am still young and time will tell, but now I am happy.”

So, who does that leave among the top contenders to be Klopp’s successor?

Pep Lijnders

Along with Jürgen Klopp, it has been announced that Pep Lijnders will also be leaving his role as assistant manager at Liverpool this summer, as he wants to once again try his hand at management. After spending nearly 10 years at Liverpool, apart from a short spell managing NEC in 2018, as Brendan Rodgers and then Klopp’s assistant, the Dutchman knows the club inside out and may throw his hat into the ring to take over from his former boss.

Not much is known as to whether the 41-year-old would want to stick to Klopp’s principles, tweak them slightly or change them altogether. However, during his time as NEC manager, he stuck to a 4-2-3-1 formation with a number 10 just behind the main striker and this is more than likely what he would stick with if he was to take over on Merseyside.

Having helped oversee the careers of a lot of Liverpool’s younger players including Trent Alexander-Arnold, he may want to continue giving youth a chance and help build the careers of talented youngsters Curtis Jones, Jarell Quansah and fellow countryman Ryan Gravenberch.

Roberto De Zerbi

Not many people had heard of Roberto De Zerbi when he took over from Graham Potter at Brighton, but everyone soon sat up and noticed.

The Italian led the Seagulls to their highest-ever Premier League finish last term, qualifying for European football for the first time in their history and this season topped their Europa League group ahead of Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens. His brand of attacking, possession-based football has seen Brighton have more shots on target than any other Premier League side since he took over, ranking second for shots behind Liverpool themselves, and fifth for both xG and goals scored in that time. Even better than that, if the Reds were to bring him to Anfield then they would be replacing Klopp with his most recent arch-nemesis, with De Zerbi being the only manager of a Premier League side to face the German 4+ times since and not taste defeat (W2 D2).

Usually setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, De Zerbi’s philosophy of ‘we will score more than you’ has hindered Brighton’s ability to keep clean sheets, but with stronger defensive players including Virgil van Dijk and Alisson in goal, it may pay off more at Anfield than it does at the Amex. His tendency to go with inverted wingers who are strong dribblers, means that Luis Diaz may be given the nod on the left-hand side with Mohamed Salah keeping his place on the right alongside Darwin Nunez in attack and either Dominik Szoboszlai or Cody Gakpo in the number 10 role. Alexis Mac Allister will once again be reunited with his former manager and will be one of the first names on the teamsheet, having excelled under the Italian at Brighton.

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Ruben Amorim

Behind Alonso, Sporting CP’s Ruben Amorim is arguably the most highly sought-after emerging coach outside the UK right now. Given his Benfica roots as a player, the former Portugal international midfielder was arguably an unpopular hire back in 2020 but now, he’s idolised after delivering Sporting’s first league title since 2002 a few years ago — alongside two Taca da Liga trophies.

Still only 39, Amorim may well become a household name very soon and it’s easy to see why clubs like Liverpool are such keen admirers. In fact, he’s quickly become the favourite for the job since Alonso’s revelation.

Should Amorim take the hot seat, you can expect a shift in shape from Liverpool, with the Portuguese tactician preferring a 3-4-3 formation. However, it’s hard not to get excited about what that could mean for the Reds with their current squad.

Obviously, Alisson would remain in goal while Van Dijk would continue to anchor the defence. But either side of him, we’d see Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez complete a trio that would be the envy of the footballing world. Things get even more mouth-watering when you consider how much freedom that would give Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson at wing-back.

In midfield, the athleticism and technical ability of Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister will allow Liverpool to progress forward from that world-class centre-back trio. And ahead of that, Darwin Nunez would provide a similar physical presence to Viktor Gyokeres at Sporting, partnered either side by Mohamed Salah and Amorim’s compatriot, Diogo Jota. There is, of course, the option of moving Jota through the middle to make way for former Porto winger Luis Diaz, should Amorim want more craft than crush.