Premier League • England

Liverpool manager search: Club chief admits ‘frustration’ at FSG pursuit after concerning Alonso revelation

Thomas Frank and Roberto De Zerbi, Brentford vs Brighton

Thomas Frank and Roberto De Zerbi have both been linked with the Liverpool job

Brighton & Hove Albion chief Paul Barber has issued a direct response to Liverpool and Barcelona hunting manager Robert De Zerbi, after the Reds’ hopes of capturing Xabi Alonso were handed a setback.

Jurgen Klopp has decided to call time on his hugely successful Liverpool spell this summer. The German has transformed Liverpool since his arrival in October 2015, helping them win trophies including the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

Klopp and Liverpool could win yet more silverware this term, as they will face Chelsea in the League Cup final on Sunday, while also remaining in both the FA Cup and Europa League. The Merseyside outfit are top of the Premier League table, too.

However, Klopp will walk away from his beloved Liverpool at the end of the campaign so he can take at least a year out and rest up.

Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, are keen to bring in Anfield hero Alonso as Klopp’s successor. But on Friday, TEAMtalk exclusively revealed that the Spaniard has several concerns about replacing Klopp.

He is worried about stepping into the shoes of a manager as iconic and talismanic as Klopp. Alonso also feels he is lacking the managerial experience needed to help Liverpool win more trophies.

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The former midfielder and his family are comfortable in Germany and he could therefore remain at Bayer Leverkusen for at least another season.

Those factors have forced Liverpool to consider alternative options. Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is admired, while Liverpool also have their eye on Brighton’s De Zerbi and Thomas Frank of Brentford.

Liverpool hunt for De Zerbi a ‘compliment’

Brighton CEO Barber has now revealed it is a ‘compliment’ that Liverpool are interested in De Zerbi, though it is also ‘frustrating’ as the Seagulls want to establish themselves at an even higher level.

“It’s a huge compliment I could do without,” he said on talkSPORT. “I think, as we’ve said many times before, the more successful we are relatively speaking, the higher profile we have.

“We expect our best people, whether they’re coaches, players or staff to come to the notice of others.

“It is a compliment, it can be frustrating as well for us obviously, but we plan for these eventualities.

“I’m hoping Roberto is here for a long time. He’s happy here, he’s doing a great job here, the fans love him, the players love him even more and we hope he stays for a long time.”

Liverpool feel De Zerbi’s attacking style can bring plenty of excitement to the club’s supporters in the wake of Klopp departing. The Italian has also shown his brilliant man-management skills by vastly improving players such as Kaoru Mitoma, Evan Ferguson and Pervis Estupinan.

Although, Liverpool are not alone in admiring De Zerbi. Barca, who will lose Xavi at the end of the season, have also set their sights on 44-year-old De Zerbi to head up their project.

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