James Pearce told The Athletic Football Podcast that Liverpool’s owners are massive fans of Pep Lijnders and he could replace Jurgen Klopp in the hot seat at Anfield.
Klopp’s contract is currently set to expire in June 2024 after the conclusion of the 2023/24 season and while that’s still some way in the future, talk of his replacement has been sparked by Aston Villa’s appointment of Steven Gerrard.
The Englishman obviously wants to manage Liverpool but he cannot be appointed as the Reds head coach until he has proven he can win as a manager beforehand.
The same must surely be said about Lijnders. Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard should serve as cautionary tales.
On one hand, Arteta was an assistant manager to Pep Guardiola before he took the Arsenal job and so far it’s been a massive struggle and while he didn’t have the experience that Lijnders has, there’s a huge difference between being head coach and an assistant.
I have no doubt that the Dutchman will be a good coach but it’s difficult to tell if he’s ready to accept the Liverpool managerial position without the experience of winning silverware on his own before.
I’ve seen some fans suggest that Liverpool should let Klopp take a sabbatical for a year, appoint Lijnders as interim coach and then welcome the German back into the position after a year.
It would be a very unique scenario and while it has its advantages, I don’t think it’s one that would appeal to Klopp or Lijnders. Currently, my pick for the job would be Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.
He’s my favourite non-Liverpool manager and the football he has Ajax playing right now is sensational and while I thought he had to be a shoo-in for the Barcelona job, he’s remaining in Ajax while Xavi has taken the post.
I think replacing Klopp with ten Hag and waiting for Steven Gerrard to prove himself would be the best strategy.