While the imminent priority for Liverpool is their Champions League last-16 bout with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, a club as organised as the English champions-elect will already be drawing up plans for the distant future.
Whilst Kopites won’t be too concerned with the long-term future considering their 30-year title wait all-but-over and their European defence still very much to play for, however, there is a future possibility that Reds supporters should seriously consider.
Jurgen Klopp has proven to be Liverpool’s most transformative manager since Bill Shankly walked through the Anfield gates in 1959. Liverpool’s charismatic and infectious lieutenant has reinstated the club back amongst Europe’s elite and has developed the model to success that every team across the continent now aspires towards.
However, Liverpool will of course already be on the hunt for a successor following the irreplaceable German’s inevitable departure. Klopp, of course, recently extended his contract with the Reds until 2024 as he looks to oversee the transitional period of integrating the club’s youngsters into this current world-conquering squad.
Following an interview with the Independent and respected journalist Melissa Reddy, should Liverpool be considering current RB Leipzig head-coach Julian Nagelsmann as a like-for-like replacement once Klopp calls it a day on his Anfield tenure?
Reports from the Independent confirm that Nagelsmann is a man currently on the agenda of some of Europe’s biggest clubs with the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea and Leicester City having all recently monitored him in the past. He even turned down 13-time European Cup-winners Real Madrid in 2018 before agreeing to join Leipzig from Hoffenheim the following summer.
Whilst Liverpool haven’t been thrown into the mix regarding those looking to lure the talented German coach, the Reds are a team that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Nagelsmann.
“Liverpool have developed so well, especially in possession and having variety”, he said.
“In the first two seasons under Jurgen Klopp, it was more about counter-attack and creating attacking moments.
“That’s the same process we are going through now at Leipzig, expanding to not only rely on pressing and counters.
“If you want to be a good manager, you have to watch Liverpool games. What they are doing is incredible.
“It’s the performances that you can learn from, but more importantly, is what you can take away from their mentality.
“It’s totally crazy when you’re so successful, you’re 22 points ahead of the next team in the league, but you do more and more and more to win games. That is a big message to give to players, especially the young ones.
“They should learn from Liverpool to always be hungry, to be better. It doesn’t matter if you’re nearly the champion, you still win and win and win and win.”
It’s important to appreciate the admiration both Nagelsmann and Liverpool have for each other with the Reds now the benchmark to strive for amongst Europe’s elite. Whilst Liverpool’s managerial stance is confirmed for the next four years, a succession plan will of course eventually have to take its course.
Steven Gerrard and Pep Lijnders represent viable internal options Liverpool will look to integrate in a post-Klopp managerial system but Nagelsmann represents an opportunity for the Reds to potentially identify Europe’s best up-and-coming coach.
His inaugural campaign at Leipzig is an achievement that should certainly be appreciated. At the time of writing, his new club are just one point shy of serial winners Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga standings.
This is just one of many reasons why Nagelsmann has long been touted as one of the game’s future great footballing minds. He has successfully identified and nurtured the talent of Leipzig’s future stars with the likes of Marcel Sabitzer, Marcel Halstenberg, Dayot Upamecano and Christopher Nkunku all announcing themselves on the European stage.
Another significant factor that works in Liverpool’s favour is Nagelsmann’s current employers. Over the previous years, Liverpool and the Red Bull football group have shared a rather fruitful and inherent link following a number of swift and successful dealings in the past.
Naby Keita was swiftly offloaded for a cut-price from Leipzig after Liverpool activated the Guinean’s release clause in the summer of 2017 allowing him to enjoy one final season with the Bundesliga title-chasers before making the move to Merseyside.
Leipzig’s parent-club Salzburg were also recently involved with Liverpool dealings after the Reds secured the signing of Takumi Minamino for a bargain fee of just £7.25 [BBC Sport] in the previous January window.
By the start of the 2024/25 season, Nagelsmann would be 37 and could be primed and ready to take over the Anfield reigns. Following five years at Leipzig or indeed further experience at another European juggernaut would see him ready for his next step.
This European dominating squad constructed in Klopp’s image requires a like-for-like successor. Nagelsmann’s comments typify why he could quite-possibly be the man to keep Liverpool atop of their perch.