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'Managers really admire' De Zerbi

Jurgen Klopp and Roberto de Zerbi
[Getty Images]

The New York Times' chief soccer correspondent Rory Smith says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's high praise for Brighton counterpart Roberto de Zerbi is because "he is a coaches' coach".

Klopp said De Zerbi did an "incredible job" of taking the game to the Reds during Albion's 2-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday and and he "could not respect him more".

This has fuelled speculation that the Seagulls boss could be in line to succeed Klopp this summer, after Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso ruled himself out of the running for the job.

"He has a lot of tremendous qualities and his teams are a joy to watch," said Smith on BBC Radio 5 Live's Monday Night Club. "You get the sense that he is a coaches' coach - a lot like Jurgen Klopp.

"Managers who have a distinct way of playing football look at him and his teams and think: 'That is an interesting idea.' When you have managed as many games as Klopp it must be rare to see something you have not seen before.

"De Zerbi has done that quite a lot and that is why managers really admire him."

Klopp went on to say he "can't coach the way he [De Zerbi] coaches" in the post-match interview, a comment BBC Sport pundit Micah Richards believes will help the Italian win the Reds' fans over.

"It would be a thumbs up from me," said Richards. "He could do a great job.

"There are three aspects. Has he got the passion to take on Liverpool? 100%. Has he got the tactical nouse? Yes. The only thing is, when you step to a massive club like that and you have superstars in the changing room, can you manage top-level players?

"I believe in him. He is brilliant to watch because he is tactically amazing.

"Normally managers get a lot of time at Liverpool. The only thing going against him is: how do you replace Klopp?"

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[BBC]