Jurgen Klopp replacement: Next Liverpool manager candidates including Amorim, De Zerbi, as Alonso out of the running

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Jurgen Klopp stunned the football world by announcing he will leave Liverpool at the end of this season on January 26, 2024.

After over eight years in the Anfield hot seat, having joined following Brendan Rodgers' departure in October 2015, Klopp has returned Liverpool to their position as one of the on-field powerhouses in English and European football.

Undeniably, his crowning achievement was ending Liverpool's 30-year wait for a 19th English title in 2019/20. The Reds also broke through the 90-point barrier in 2018/19 and 2021/22, only to be pipped by Pep Guardiola's formidable Manchester City.

Klopp notably led Liverpool to their sixth European title, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the 2019 Champions League final. They also lost in the showpiece against Real Madrid in 2018 and 2022, although the latter year featured success in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.

It represents a stunning body of work and adds up to an imposing task for any potential successor. As Manchester United and Arsenal have shown in the wake of the departures of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, following a manager of such stature is fraught with difficulty.

Nevertheless, here are some of the intrepid front-runners who are being tipped to become the next Liverpool manager.

MORE: Why is Jurgen Klopp leaving Liverpool? Reasons for exit

Jurgen Klopp replacement: Next Liverpool manager candidates

Below are some of the leading contenders to become Liverpool's next manager. The Sporting News will update this page should new favourites enter the picture.

Last updated: March 29, 2024

Ruben Amorim

Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has emerged as the bookies' favourite to replace Klopp. The 39-year-old has his Portuguese side leading Benfica in the top flight and has a similar style of play to the Reds. 

His footballing principles are based on winning the ball in advanced areas and holding possession deep into the opponent's half. Along with the intensity his side brings, the philosophy may be appealing to those among Liverpool's data team. 

Viktor Gyokeres has led the line for Sporting and occupies space well in the channels, something that plays into the hands of Darwin Nunez. Gyokeres is in scintillating form with 36 goals in 39 appearances.

The problem for Liverpool is that Amorim has a £17 million release clause in his contract, according to the Times.

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Xabi Alonso

Former Spain and Real Madrid midfielder Alonso was a crowd favourite during his five years at Anfield under Rafael Benitez. Alonso is now arguably the most highly touted young coach in Europe, having led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga ahead of the mighty Bayern Munich, extending their unbeaten run to 38 matches in all competitions in 2023/24.

Slaying Bayern would amount to taking a page out of the Klopp playbook from the latter's time in charge of Borussia Dortmund. Since Klopp's announcement it felt as though this was going to become reality, however, Alonso confirmed on March 29 that he would stay with the German side for at least another season. Could he be eyeing the Real Madrid job in 2025?

Roberto De Zerbi

Liverpool's recently appointed sporting director, Richard Hughes, had initially aimed to make De Zerbi the Bournemouth manager back in September 2022. However, De Zerbi instead opted for Brighton & Hove Albion, where he has made a significant impact at the Amex Stadium, leading the team to their first European qualification with a seventh-place finish last season.

Despite losing players such as Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo to Liverpool and Chelsea in last summer's transfer window, Brighton finds themselves holding onto eighth place in the table.

It's also worth pointing out that De Zerbi, who boasts an undefeated record against Klopp in their four encounters, with two victories and two draws, is set to lead his team to Anfield this Sunday.

In terms of tacticians pushing the boundaries of what is possible for an attacking football team, there are few better out there right now.

It could be suggested that De Zerbi's tendency to play "in the red" all the time makes him ill-suited to a post where trophies are expected. Klopp came through similar doubts early on at Liverpool but, of course, had a recent history of winning league titles at Dortmund to back up his methods. Additionally, De Zerbi perhaps feels like more of a fit to succeed Pep Guardiola if he leaves at the end of his current Manchester City contract in 2025.

Pep Lijnders

One of the main reasons for the shock behind Klopp's incredible announcement is Liverpool's current form. As of January 26, the Red were five points clear at the top of the Premier League, playing their best football of the season and enjoying the fruits of a summer midfield refit that featured the additions of standout players Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

If you wanted a continuity candidate to oversee this new team's next stage of development, then perhaps it would be better to look no further than Klopp's long-time No. 2 Lijnders. Liverpool's statement on Klopp's departure said the Dutchman would also leave his position as assistant "to pursue his own career in management". Who says that can't be at Anfield?

MORE: How many trophies has Jurgen Klopp won? All titles, finals lost

Ange Postecoglou

One of the teams who could still have a say on whether or not Klopp departs with a second Premier League title are Postecoglou's freewheeling Tottenham. The Australian tactician's instant impact in north London — playing attractive, forward-thinking football and tapping into fan sentiment — has echoes of Klopp's early days on Merseyside.

His decorated stint in charge of Celtic also showed he is capable of leading a fabled institution where the weight of history can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse. Additionally, Postecoglou was also a boyhood Liverpool fan, even though he sought to play down the relevance of this before facing the Reds earlier this season.

"Look, I used to love Happy Days back then, too, but I don't have pictures of the Fonz on my wall today, either," he quipped.

Author(s)
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Dom is the senior content producer for Sporting News UK.