'He shouldn't be discounted': 39-year-old tipped to be in with real chance of replacing Klopp at Liverpool
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

'He shouldn't be discounted': 39-year-old tipped to be in with real chance of replacing Klopp at Liverpool

Phil Thompson thinks that Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders should be considered when appointing Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

Thompson was discussing who should take over from the Liverpool boss in 2024 with the Liverpool Echo. During the interview, the former Reds captain talked up Lijnders’ chances of succeeding Klopp, as he suggested it was far from a foregone conclusion that Steven Gerrard would takeover at Anfield.

“I would also like to put Pep Lijnders’ name in there as well. He shouldn’t be discounted when it happens,” Thompson said.

“Yes, if Steven (Gerrard) comes I would be delighted, but if Pep Lijnders was to take it then he would get Jurgen’s blessing. I would do that because you see he has got that fiery character the way Jurgen can be. He is also a very good coach.”

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Lijnders does have a big reputation at Liverpool, after working alongside Klopp on the training ground.

Gerrard, though, does still remain the strong favourite for the post when Klopp does eventually leave and Thompson insists that he would also be happy to see the Aston Villa boss step up.

“I think he (Gerrard) would be (interested) and you can see him as a natural fit,” said the 68-year-old.

“Obviously you have got to earn the right. Jurgen was at Mainz, was at Dortmund, and then came through. Steven has gone in at Rangers, which is a massive club. Then he has gone to Villa, and you can see the changes that he has done, bringing in the players that he has done.”

Thompson highlighted the pull that Gerrard the manager can have on players wanting to play for the club he manages.

“Philippe Coutinho is because it is Steven Gerrard. Players will always want to come and play for him, which will be a big draw at Liverpool,” said the pundit.

The two mentioned by Thompson look to be the front-runners at this stage. Both are young and relatively unproven, but either feels like it would be an exciting appointment.

3 Mar 2001: Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier with assistant manager Phil Thompson during the FA Carling Premiership match against Leicester City at Filbert Street in Leicester, England. Leicester won 2-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Clive Brunskill /Allsport

A straight fight

As we approach the final two years of Klopp’s current contract, talk of who might replace the iconic German is stepping up a gear.

Currently, the only two names being seriously mentioned are the two that Thompson alludes to. It would therefore be a big surprise if Liverpool were to go for an ‘outside hire.’

It speaks to how thorough the succession planning is at the club that there is no wildcard names been thrown about.

Photo by LFC Foundation/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Of course that could all change. There are still two full seasons to go before 2024, still plenty of time for someone to manage their way into, or out of, the mix.

Fabio Capello recently said that Genoa boss Alexander Blessin was offering ‘something more than Klopp.’ Whilst Julian Nagelsmann has also been claimed to be ‘keen’ on the job once his countryman has left Anfield.

Those could be two names to keep an eye on. But for now, it appears to be a straight fight between Gerrard and Lijnders.

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