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The smart option to replace Klopp?

Ruben Amorim
[Reuters]

So, if Xabi Alonso is out of the picture - and according to my piece below, not an ideal candidate anyway - who would be the best choice to replace Jurgen Klopp?

Ruben Amorim is hardly a veteran - in fact, aged 39, he's three years younger than Alonso. But he has been a manager for five years, first at Braga but now, principally at Sporting Lisbon.

Sporting were so sure he was the real deal they paid £10m for him - a lot of money for a club that were strapped for cash and a distant third among the big three of Portuguese football.

Within 10 months, he had brought them their first title for 19 years. They were second to Porto the following season but finished fourth in 2022-23.

It was his first sustained period of adversity. His response has been impressive, steering Sporting to the top of the table with a game in hand this campaign.

Amorim has had this success despite having to sell his best players, such as Joao Palhinha and Matheus Nunes to the Premier League.

Almost without exception, he has improved the players he has worked with and has proved himself an astute tactician, outmanoeuvring Arsenal's Mikel Arteta in the 2022-23 Europa League.

As a former Portugal midfielder, he carries more kudos than Andre Villas-Boas did to a sceptical Chelsea squad, but clearly he lacks the glamour of Alonso and the emotional attachment the Spaniard has with Liverpool fans.

He might, though, be the smart option to succeed Klopp.