Ruben Amorim is working wonders in Portugal, while Roberto De Zerbi has transformed Brighton... with Xabi Alonso OUT of the running for the Liverpool hotseat, who is leading the race to replace Jurgen Klopp?


Liverpool’s search for a new manager took a huge hit on Friday as favourite for the job, Xabi Alonso, announced he will be staying at Bayer Leverkusen next season. So, who do the Reds turn to now?

From the moment Jurgen Klopp revealed he would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, rumours linking Alonso to his former club were endless, but now that door has been shut due to his decision to stay at Leverkusen.

It means the returning Michael Edwards, CEO of Football, and new sporting director Richard Hughes’ task to find the right man for the Reds hotseat has got that little bit harder.

Ruben Amorim has taken Alonso’s spot as front-runner to become Klopp’s successor, while Roberto De Zerbi is not too far behind him on the shortlist.

Xabi Alonso is set to stay at Bayer Leverkusen, ruling him out of running for the Liverpool job

Xabi Alonso is set to stay at Bayer Leverkusen, ruling him out of running for the Liverpool job

Jurgen Klopp revealed in January that he will be leaving the Reds at the end of the season

Jurgen Klopp revealed in January that he will be leaving the Reds at the end of the season

Liverpool's players are currently uncertain over who could replace Klopp at Anfield

Liverpool’s players are currently uncertain over who could replace Klopp at Anfield

Ruben Amorim is the lead candidate to take over from Klopp

Roberto De Zerbi's Premier League experience could make him an attractive option for the Reds

Ruben Amorim and Roberto De Zerbi have emerged as the lead contenders to succeed Klopp

Liverpool are also admirers of Thomas Frank, who has done an exceptional job at Brentford, and Julian Nagelsmann is also a name that has been floating around. 

However, with the shock revelation that Alonso will not be coming to Anfield, the door could be open to many new candidates.

Here, Mail Sport looks at eight potential candidates in the race to replace Klopp, now that Alonso has ruled himself out of contention.

Thomas Frank is believed to be admired by Liverpool after his success at Brentford

Thomas Frank is believed to be admired by Liverpool after his success at Brentford

Julian Nagelsmann's contract with Germany is up after Euro 2024, making him available

Julian Nagelsmann’s contract with Germany is up after Euro 2024, making him available

Ruben Amorim

Now seemingly the favourite for the job, Amorim has impressed many within Europe after guiding Sporting CP to their first Portuguese league title in 19 years back in 2021.

The 39-year-old has led them back to the top of the pile in Portugal again this season as they sit one point clear of Benfica, with a game in hand and nine matches to go in total.

While Amorim may seem a bit young for a job of this magnitude, he has five years experience at the top level in Portugal.

His first senior managerial role came at Braga in 2019 where he impressed so much that Sporting slapped down £10m for him after just three months in the role. That is some statement for a manager that was inexperienced at the time, but it has obviously paid off.

Since then, the Lions have had a task on their hands to keep Amorim in Portugal, with teams such as Tottenham sniffing around for his signature before Ange Postecoglou filled their position.

The Sporting boss is known as an acute tactician who managed to outsmart Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal – knocking the Gunners out of the Europa League last season – which easily could have led to the Spurs interest.

Amorim has also been likened to Jose Mourinho, so he would offer a different style than than that of Klopp. It could be an interesting new dynamic at Anfield if he does end up in the dugout. 

Whatever happens, it seems like he has impressed the Liverpool hierachy as he is expected to be interviewed by the Reds. 

The young European manager could be exactly what Liverpool need in an exciting but uncertain new era for them.

Amorim ended Sporting CP's 19-year league drought in 2021 and has attracted a lot of interest

Amorim ended Sporting CP’s 19-year league drought in 2021 and has attracted a lot of interest

Roberto De Zerbi

A term that is used a lot in English football is ‘Premier League proven’, and De Zerbi is certainly that.

The Italian manager’s football has gone down a treat at Brighton as he led the Seagulls to a sixth place finish in the league last season, while also guiding them to the round of 16 of this year’s Europa League.

It’s easy to see why there is interest from the Liverpool camp as they know first hand what a De Zerbi side can do. Arguably one of their worst performances in the Klopp era came in a 3-0 defeat to the Seagulls in January last year – De Zerbi’s side ripped them apart. 

The Reds are still yet to beat Brighton under De Zerbi’s stewardship after he arrived on the south coast in September 2022, but they are not the only side to have suffered to the Seagulls’ fast-paced and free-flowing style of play.

The 44-year-old nurtured his craft at Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk in the years prior to his move to England.

His possession and attacking footballing philosophy is, as Klopp said, more like Manchester City, and would offer a different approach to Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football. 

Nevertheless, Klopp is a fan of De Zerbi’s work, saying on Friday: ‘He’s a top coach doing really well, super interesting to see.’

De Zerbi’s Brighton side travel to Anfield on Sunday looking to upset the apple cart once again. It could prove to be a perfect audition opportunity for the Brighton boss.  

De Zerbi has earned lots of praise for his fast-paced style of play during his time at Brighton

De Zerbi has earned lots of praise for his fast-paced style of play during his time at Brighton

Julian Nagelsmann

If you think Amorim is young, Nagelsmann is even younger.

The 36-year-old manager is currently preparing to lead Germany on home soil at Euro 2024, but could he make a quick dash to Anfield following the conclusion of the tournament?

Nagelsmann’s contract with the national side is set to end upon the completion of the Euros, meaning he could be available to the Reds.

The German boss knows what it’s like to manage a big club with big personalities, as he did so at Bayern Munich between 2021 and 2023, winning three trophies.

However, although he may have managed some big players there are question marks over if he dealt with them very well, which could harm his chances at taking over at one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

While big egos may be a problem under Nagelsmann’s management, the football certainly isn’t. His style of play is something to be admired. His versatile and offensive coaching style has earned him plenty of plaudits over the years.

The football that a Nagelsmann side plays is attractive and would be an enjoyable watch for Liverpool fans, but it may be unlikely the Reds’ hierachy turn to the young manager due to him not being available until July.

Nagelsmann's style of play is attractive and would be an enjoyable watch for Liverpool fans

Nagelsmann’s style of play is attractive and would be an enjoyable watch for Liverpool fans

Thomas Frank 

Frank may not come with the glamour of some of the other names on his list, but he is a manager that Liverpool are fond of.

The Dane has done a stellar job during his six years at Brentford and could be due a shot at a bigger club in the future.

Whether that time is now though is a tough call. Making the move to a ‘Big Six’ club does not always work out for managers that have proved themselves handy in the division – Nuno Espirito Santo and Graham Potter can attest to that. 

It doesn’t always have to be that way though, and with Frank’s enthusiastic personality that bleeds through in Brentford’s style of play, he could slot into the role seamlessly. 

The doubts may start to come when looking at the Bees’ current campaign, though. Frank’s side have established themselves in the Premier League since promotion three years ago, but they are floating a little dangerously to the bottom three this time around.

Going from a relegation-threatened side to a side that expects glory could be tough for Frank, but perhaps it is a step he is ready to take.

Going from a relegation-threatened side to a side that expects glory could be tough for Frank

Going from a relegation-threatened side to a side that expects glory could be tough for Frank

Thomas Tuchel

From a former Bayern manager in Nagelsmann, to the current one, although he won’t be for much longer. 

Thomas Tuchel is set to leave Bavaria at the end of the season, and with all his experience in the Premier League with Chelsea, maybe Liverpool could be his next destination.

It’s hard to deny Tuchel has an impressive record, he led Chelsea to Champions League glory in 2021 after just five months at the helm, as well as taking them to three domestic cup finals. 

Tuchel understands the pressure of being the boss at a top English club and he certainly has the personality to be a good fit for the fans.

Even so, it’s hard to look past what is going on at Bayern this season. The 32-time Bundesliga champions could potentially miss out on silverware for the first time in 12 years, which is a major reason as to why they are cutting ties with Tuchel.

Although he is available, it would be a huge punt if the Reds decided to go in his direction. Sometimes risks can pay off, though. 

Thomas Tuchel understands the pressure at a top English club and has plenty of personality

Thomas Tuchel understands the pressure at a top English club and has plenty of personality

Simone Inzaghi 

Simone Inzaghi could become a man in demand this summer.

Seen as one of the hottest managerial properties in European football, it is looking like many clubs who are searching for a new boss could turn his way.

Liverpool wouldn’t go far wrong by looking to bring Inzaghi in. He is a manager who has a distinguishable style, one that is different to that of Klopp.

Nevertheless, he does share some qualities with the German boss, such as developing players. He has moulded Lautaro Martinez and Nicolo Barella into world-beaters.

Inzaghi typically deploys a 3-5-2 formation for his Inter Milan side, and although that is not what Liverpool are used to, this sort of change could be a positive one as they look to move on from life under Klopp.

That formation took his Inter side all the way to last season’s Champions League final where they narrowly lost out to Manchester City, but not without earning plaudits for their performance against the treble-winners.

Inzaghi’s availability is where the main problem lies. The younger brother of Filippo – an AC Milan legend – is certainly capable of holding his own at a club like Liverpool, but whether they would be able to snatch him from under Inter’s nose is another question. 

He is a great manager, but one that would be hard to pull away from the Italian giants. There is no doubt many sides will be after his signature in the summer.

Inter Milan's Simone Inzaghi is one of the hottest managerial properties in European football

Inter Milan’s Simone Inzaghi is one of the hottest managerial properties in European football

Steven Gerrard 

If you spoke to Liverpool fans two years ago, the possibility of Steven Gerrard taking over from Klopp would bring a smile to their face. Not anymore.

After leading Rangers to the Scottish title in 2021, all roads seemed to point to Anfield for Gerrard. When Aston Villa then came calling it seemed like a natural progression on his way to eventually becoming Liverpool manager.

However, the Liverpool legend is now further from realising a dream return than ever before. After a poor stint in Birmingham his chances took a tumble, and they have kept falling during his eight months in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ettifaq.

Gerrard is one of the greatest players to pull on the Liverpool jersey, some would say the greatest, but a fairytale reunion looks unlikely. 

Links have inevitably been made since Klopp announced he would be leaving the club, but the substantiality behind them is minimal.

Not many people expect Gerrard to be sitting in the Anfield dugout next season. 

A fairytale reunion with Liverpool is looking unlikely for former captain Steven Gerrard

A fairytale reunion with Liverpool is looking unlikely for former captain Steven Gerrard

Gerrard was once the favourite to take over from Klopp (right) at Liverpool before Villa failure

Gerrard was once the favourite to take over from Klopp (right) at Liverpool before Villa failure

Xavi 

Another generational talent that has taken the plunge into management is Xavi.

Xavi is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders to have graced the game of football and he will be available in the summer after he stepped down as Barcelona manager in January – although he will continue in his post until the end of the campaign.

Similar to Gerrard, Xavi was a one-club man during his playing days, but unlike the former Liverpool player he has already realised the dream of taking charge of his boyhood club.

The Spaniard has enjoyed some success during his tenure with Barcelona, winning LaLiga in his first full season with the Catalan outfit, but they have failed to kick on this year.

Xavi will be without a club after the conclusion of the current season and he could be an option for the Reds.

Despite this, it is more likely that Liverpool will be looking elsewhere. 

Xavi will be available in the summer once he leaves Barcelona at the end of the season

Xavi will be available in the summer once he leaves Barcelona at the end of the season





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