A new report about Jurgen Klopp will force Liverpool to start an impossible job right now. The Reds have little choice.
Bild reports that Jurgen Klopp may walk away from the Liverpool job within 18 months. His plan, they say, would be to take a six-month break before taking on the Germany job after the 2022 World Cup.
Bild goes as far as saying this is 60 per cent likely. That’s a very high percentage for such a massive decision.
Now, they could be entirely wrong, of course. In fact, they could be right and Klopp still says – that’s 40 per cent likely, after all.
But Liverpool can’t take any chance on this one. If there’s even a slight possibility that Klopp could leave in 2022, the replacement job starts right now.
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It will be an impossible one, though. No one can replace what Klopp has brought and the next boss will be a downgrade. Liverpool, though, must give themselves every chance of getting it right.
The first thing to do is to figure out who could replace him. There will be some obvious targets, some less obvious targets, and one Scouser in Glasgow.
But you can’t wait until Klopp tells you he’s off. You certainly can’t wait until he’s gone – Liverpool don’t want to be in a desperate position.
So they must sound out any targets now to get a feeling of their interest and availability. The replacement process must be over a year long, opening the door for an easy transition.
The alternative is waiting, being left with who is ready to leave their club right there and then, and a difficult transition. Everyone at the club must know what’s happening post-Klopp, rather than it falling in their laps.
But that’s not the only job.
This will almost certainly happen anyway but if Liverpool will have a change in manager in the next year or two, the squad must reflect that.
We can thank Manchester United for this one, actually.
Alex Ferguson signed Robin van Persie in his final summer window. The Dutchman was phenomenal but he was also turning 29 – he wasn’t a long-term investment.
He delivered the title, of course, but Ferguson announced he was leaving that year. Van Persie gave Ferguson what he needed but quickly faded as he entered his 30s.
United had an ageing squad as it was and Van Persie just added to that. The post-Ferguson plan was effectively a job of replacing everyone.
New managers came in but were trying to integrate a plan to players who weren’t in the first-team two years later. Liverpool must avoid that.
They have an ageing squad of their own. They must sign young players, then, in an attempt to maintain consistency even through a managerial change.
Otherwise, you get a complete mess with constant changes as a manager tries to integrate.
Liverpool will likely do that anyway, whether Klopp stays or not. It just makes sense, given the players’ ages.
But it gains further importance if Klopp really might leave soon. Obviously, we hope he stays for years and years.
The chance that he might not, though, forces Liverpool into the impossible job of replacing him.