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
|Roberto De Zerbi
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Along with Jürgen Klopp, it has been announced that 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 to whether the 41-year-old would want to stick to Jürgen 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 have 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 5th 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 Jürgen Klopp with his most recent arch nemesis, with De Zerbi being the only manager of a Premier League sideto 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 re-united 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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After finishing his hugely successful playing career, including five years at Liverpool where he scored the equaliser against AC Milan in the “Miracle of Istanbul” Champions League final, Xabi Alonso has taken to management like a duck to water.
Taking over at Bayer Leverkusen in October 2022 looked like a tough challenge for the Spaniard in his first top-flight managerial role, especially when they were 17th in the Bundesliga, with just five points to their name from their opening eight games, but he’s making it look easy. After finishing last campaign in sixth and just missing out on a place in the Europa League final to former manager Jose Mourinho, Xabi Alonso has literally been unbeatable in 2023/24. His side became the first team in German football history to remain unbeaten after the first 25 games of a campaign across all competitions and at time of writing are 28 games without defeat this term.
This season, Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen became the first team in German football history to remain unbeaten after the first 25 games of a campaign across all competitions.
The heir to Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool throne? 👑 pic.twitter.com/QPiNSqsMEf
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 26, 2024
Xabi’s favoured 3-4-2-1 has been a huge success, so we see no reason why he wouldn’t stick to that philosophy in the Premier League and with Liverpool. The Spaniard packs the central areas with bodies, with two number 10’s sitting just behind the main striker and the double-pivot behind them. This allows his attacking full-backs to play incredibly advanced, with Jeremie Frimpong (5 goals, 6 assists) and Alex Grimaldo (7 goals, 8 assists) thriving in that role that could see Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold unleashed even further and extend their lead as the defenders with the most assists in Premier league history, although Trent could be moved into midfield and another right wing-back signed to cover that side.
Darwin Nunez looks all set to lead the line, while forwards Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz can also play that role or slot in nicely in one of the two number 10 slots alongside Dominik Szoboszlai. Mohamed Salah would be the most likely player to fill that second number 10 spot however, if he doesn’t follow Jurgen Klopp out of the door.