Jurgen Klopp has dropped a bombshell by revealing he will leave Liverpool at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Since joining the club back in 2015, he’s turned them from struggling giants into Premier League and European champions and established himself as one of the finest football managers on the planet.
Liverpool will treasure every minute of his final season, and the players would love to deliver him another league title before he departs. But the club must move on. Now Klopp has confirmed his final decision, discussions behind the scenes will have ramped up on who should be the person to replace him.
Using Betfred’s odds, we’ve taken a look at the early contenders for one of the biggest jobs in world football.
Xabi Alonso - 1/2
The early outright favourite to become the next Liverpool manager is former player Xabi Alonso. The Spanish midfielder was hugely popular at Anfield and is now making management look simple. He joined Bayer Leverkusen from Real Sociedad B in 2022 with the club second bottom, but revived the club to a sixth-placed finish in the Bundesliga and a Europa League semi-final.
It was just a glimpse of what was to come though, as this term, he’s hit new heights. Bayer Leverkusen are currently upsetting the giants of German football and sit top of the Bundesliga - unbeaten - and four points clear of Bayern Munich. It would be a monumental achievement if Leverkusen won the league for the very first time, and Alonso’s attractive footballing style is drawing huge plaudits from onlookers - so could Liverpool swoop for one of the hottest properties in European football at the moment?
It makes sense on several levels, and if Liverpool don’t get him, one of the other giants surely will. This could be the perfect pick for all parties.
Pep Lijnders - 4/1
Assistant manager Pep Lijnders will also leave the club in summer as he searches for first team managerial opportunities, so unless he and the club change their minds, he will not be the next Liverpool manager.
Steven Gerrard - 6/1
It always felt like Steven Gerrard would be the next Liverpool manager, when Klopp decided enough was enough. He won the league title at Rangers and did a great job up north, but his move to Aston Villa was a risk that simply did not pay off. He was sacked in 2022 having won just two of their opening 12 league matches, and the stunning job his successor Unai Emery has done since Gerrard’s departure has only damaged his reputation further.
His decision to join Al-Ettifaq was a bit of a strange one, as he moved to Saudi Arabia - and things haven’t exactly gone smoothly there. Al-Ettifaq currently sit 8th in the league, have won just six of their 19 league matches, and close friend Jordan Henderson has already done a u-turn and left the club after six months. Two years ago this may have been a possibility, but it feels unlikely now.
Roberto De Zerbi - 9/1
Brighton and Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi presents an interesting option, and is certainly worthy of consideration. There is no doubt he has been one of the standout managers in the Premier League over the past two seasons, since taking over from Graham Potter on the south coast.
He’s led Brighton to Europe for the very first time, and established them as the club where young talent can flourish, all while making a huge profit in the transfer window. He deserves huge praise for the work he has done, and importantly, unlike Xabi Alonso, has experience working in the Premier League. Brighton are currently 7th and it feels like it is about time De Zerbi was offered a bigger job, given how successful he has been.
Liverpool would be wise to consider the Italian manager, and if they don’t appoint him, they could be battling with him for years to come.
Julian Nagelsmann - 9/1
Now this is an interesting name to throw into the mix. Julian Nagelsmann was sacked by Bayern Munich in extremely harsh circumstances in March 2023. Bayern were one point off top and still in the Champions League when they chose to bring in Thomas Tuchel instead of the young and promising coach.
Now in charge of the German national team, there is no way he will give up that job before they host Euro 2024 on home soil this summer. However, he wouldn’t need to, if he agrees to become Liverpool manager after the tournament. It all depends on how much he is enjoying international football. It’s something he had never experienced before September 2023, and surely he would be tempted by a return to top European football club.
Liverpool have the power to attract almost any manager in world football. If they want to continue the German theme following Jurgen Klopp, Nagelsmann could be the perfect fit.