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Next Liverpool manager: Contenders include Xabi Alonso, plus latest odds

Xabi Alonso - Next Liverpool manager: contenders include Xabi Alonso, plus latest odds
Xabi Alonso has impressed with his work at Bayer Leverkusen - Getty Images/Stuart Franklin

Jürgen Klopp’s decision to stand down as Liverpool manager at the end of the 2023-24 season means that one of the most high-profile jobs in football management is now available.

Although Liverpool started planning the Klopp announcement in November, they do not have a successor lined up. Furthermore, they intend to appoint a new sporting director before reaching a final decision about who will take over as manager.

The following are some of the frontrunners to become the new Liverpool manager and therefore take charge for the start of the 2024-25 Premier League season.

Xabi Alonso – 4/7

Appears to be the early favourite. A hugely popular former Liverpool player and has excelled as manager of Bayern Leverkusen who have an excellent chance to end Bayern Munich’s stranglehold on the Bundesliga this season. Leverkusen, who operate on a fraction of the budget of Germany’s biggest club, are four points clear at the top of the table playing some scintillating football.

The 42-year-old knows what makes Liverpool tick as a city and a football club and would surely have the energy and the personality to follow Klopp. There maybe some concern about his lack of experience in the dugout but everything he has touched in Germany has turned to gold. A bit like Klopp in his Borussia Dortmund days.

Roberto De Zerbi – 5/1

Has done a magnificent job at Brighton, playing some of the most attractive football in the Premier League. A wonderful coach who improves players and surely he would be tempted to move to a club that does not have to sell its best players every summer.

Roberto De Zerbi, who sidestepped speculation he could succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool as he focuses on spearheading a memorable end to the season at Brighton
De Zerbi has impressed many with the style of play he has implemented at Brighton - PA Wire/Martin Rickett

De Zerbi also excelled in Italy and at Shakhtar Donetsk before moving to England and at the age of 44 has plenty of experience too. But would he be as effective at an elite club with all the extra attention and pressure that brings? At Chelsea it did not work out for Graham Potter, who had done equally well at Brighton.

Pep Lijnders – 8/1

Would be the continuity candidate given how long he has been on  Jurgen Klopp’s coaching staff and has taken a more front of house role this season too in terms of media duties.

However, when Klopp announced he was leaving at the end of the season, Lijnders also said he would be stepping down so FSG would have to persuade him to change his mind. The Dutchman lasted less than a year in his one and only manager’s job with NEC in the Netherlands.

Ange Postecoglou – 10/1

The very thought of this will send a shudder down the spine of every Tottenham Hotspur fan given the transformative impact he has had on the club since he arrived from Celtic in the summer.

The 58-year-old has taken a long and winding road to get to the Premier League but he has a track record of winning trophies and the manner in which he has turned Tottenham around, despite losing Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, means he is likely to be in demand from all the top clubs if there is any hint he would be interested in leaving Spurs so quickly.

There has been no indication that the Australian is that sort of character who would abandon a club so soon after arriving but then again, it is not everyday you get the chance to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Ruben Amorim – 12/1

Was not among the initial list of foreign managers who could be on Liverpool’s radar but the 39-year-old is hot property in Portugal and there have already been details of his £17m release clause at Sporting Lisbon.He has been at Sporting for four years, despite – playing for local rivals Benfica and has won the title once.

Ruben Amorim of Sporting CP gestures during the Liga Portugal Bwin match between Sporting CP and Casa Pia AC at Estadio Jose Alvalade on October 22, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal
Ruben Amorim has enjoyed a successful spell in charge of Sporting Lisbon - Getty Images/Joao Rico

His side are also top of the league this season but it would still represent a risk to appoint him as Klopp’s successor given the size of the shoes he has to fill.

Julian Nagelsmann – 12/1

Still only 36 years old and having made his name at Hoffenheim, where he got them to the Champions League, he also had some success at RB Leipzig and won the league twice with Bayern Munich.

He is having a rough time as manager of the Germany national team as results have been poor and has never worked outside of that country. His star has fallen a little in recent years but could still hold some appeal given his previous work with clubs.

Unai Emery – 12/1

A surefire candidate to be named manager of the season as a result of the brilliant work he has done at Aston Villa. Also has plenty of trophies to point to on his CV and will definitely have admirers within the corridors of power at Liverpool, which would have been unthinkable when he was sacked by Arsenal in 2019.

Could be one of the dark horses for the job as, on paper, he has the pedigree. Villa would hate to lose him but could his head be turned by interest from Liverpool?

Zinedine Zidane – 14/1

Is there a top job in European football that Zidane has not been linked to in recent years? Had huge success at Real Madrid but that is the only managerial position he has held and has not worked since leaving the Bernabeu in 2021.

The French legend has been waiting for the right opportunity and there won’t be many better than Liverpool. But why has nobody appointed him before this? That raises question marks.

Steven Gerrard – 16/1

There was a time, not so long ago, that the former Liverpool captain would have been one of the favourites to replace Klopp but his star has fallen rapidly since he won the title in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers. That was his first manager’s job, but the 43-year-old bombed in at Aston Villa and, despite signing a new contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ettifaq earlier this month, has not achieved much in the desert either.

Al Ettifaq coach Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard is currently in charge of Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq

His bitter experience at Villa is likely to make Liverpool wary of offering him the keys to the manager’s office at Anfield unless they let hearts rule their heads.

Thomas Tuchel – 16/1

The German, like Klopp, made his name at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund in Germany before going abroad. Won the league with PSG and won the Champions League during his time at Chelsea. Currently in charge of Bayern Munich, where things have not quite gone to plan, but they remain in the Champions League and are second in the Bundesliga.

What the 50-year-old does have is vast experience of managing big clubs with big egos in the dressing room. He will surely make the shortlist of potential candidates but not sure he will be one of the favourites.

Jose Mourinho – 20/1

Could the self appointed Special One return to England to take charge of a third Premier League club after trophy winning spells at Chelsea and Manchester United?

The Portuguese has the CV but there is a general perception that the 61-year-old’s best years are behind him. He will hate that suggestion but his habit of picking fights and publicly complaining about boardroom decisions is likely to make him an unpopular choice. His history of antagonising Liverpool supporters will not help his case either. Would no doubt be interested in replacing Klopp but it is not likely to be mutual.

Graham Potter – 28/1

He is out of work and is waiting for the right opportunity to return to the Premier League. There is no doubt he would see the Liverpool job as an ideal one for him but having failed to last a full season at Chelsea, there will be serious misgivings about believing he is the right man to succeed Klopp.

Appeared to struggle with the scrutiny, criticism and elevated expectation levels at Chelsea and it is more likely he will have to prove himself at another mid level English club before he is talked about as a serious contender for one of the elite positions in global football.

Eddie Howe – 40/1

Has not had the same remarkable impact this season as he did in his first 18 months at Newcastle, who will fight tooth and nail to keep him, but there is no denying he is the outstanding English manager of his generation. Took Bournemouth from League Two to the Premier League and got Newcastle into the Champions League in his first full season in charge.

However, Howe’s family are extremely settled in the North East and he stayed at Bournemouth long after many felt he needed to step up and test himself elsewhere because he was happy there. Knows he has more job security than most managers at St James’ Park and it would take a lot to persuade him to give that up. Does not appear to be a frontrunner.

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