Liverpool could look back to their Golden Era for a successor to Jurgen Klopp. That’s according to one prominent journalist.
Jurgen Klopp has a contract until 2024 and it’s unclear what happens after that. All signs point to the Liverpool boss leaving and going on a sabbatical.
That would be seismic for the club, of course. Klopp is the figurehead at Liverpool, the one who guides virtually everything about the team.
His arrival quickly led to Liverpool’s most successful team since the late 1980s and it’s hard to see any possible replacement as anything other than a step-down.
We love Steven Gerrard, of course, but unless he wins the Premier League with Aston Villa by 2024, he won’t be on Klopp’s level. The former captain remains the favourite to take over, of course.
But perhaps he shouldn’t be. Journalist James Pearce recently told the Athletic that Liverpool may have another name in mind as a successor to Klopp.
Pep Lijnders – Klopp successor?
“When the discussions about Klopp’s potential successor happen, I don’t think people should underestimate the respect the owners have for Pep Lijnders who’s Klopp’s assistant at the moment,” said Pearce.
“He has wide-ranging responsibilities already and the owners are massive fans of his.
“So I think that’s another intriguing aspect to it.”
Now that would be an interesting appointment and the plan is clear – keep things as similar as possible with little upheaval.
It’s actually what Liverpool did back in the mid-1970s when Bill Shankly retired. The Reds turned to Bob Paisley, who initially didn’t want the job.
Liverpool persisted, though, and eventually convinced Paisley to take over. He was Shankly’s primary assistant but had zero experience as a manager.
That didn’t seem to matter, though, as Paisley oversaw the most dominant side English football has ever seen. In nine years as boss, he lifted six league titles, three European Cups (still a record) and a UEFA Cup.
Liverpool then recreated that magic by replacing Paisley with his assistant, Joe Fagan. In only two years, Fagan won a title and a European Cup. Kenny Dalglish then stepped up as player-manager after that, again winning trophies with ease.
Would Lijnders have similar success? Almost certainly not – Paisley is the most successful manager English football has ever seen. But this succession strategy has worked for Liverpool before.
Maybe it can work again.