Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Pep Lijnders OUT of running as ‘talks open’ on stunning managerial role with UCL giants

Pep Lijnders is in talks over job with Ajax after leaving Liverpool

Pep Lijnders is in talks over job with Ajax after leaving Liverpool

Any thoughts Liverpool may have had of considering Pep Lijnders as their next manager are likely to already be over amid reports the Dutchman has held talks over a high-profile job with a European giant.

The Merseysiders are gearing up for what will surely be an emotional final four months of the Jurgen Klopp era after the iconic manager’s announcement last month that this would be his last on Merseyside. After close to nine years in the Anfield hotseat, the 56-year-old will depart Liverpool as one of their greatest-ever managers, with Sunday’s Carabao Cup success the seventh major honour he has delivered in that time.

However, the Reds could ultimately finish the season with an unprecedented quadruple, with Liverpool also still very alive in the FA Cup and Europa League, while also currently sat a point clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Signing off with all four trophies would only serve to reinforce Klopp’s legacy as an all-time great – and also mean any manager stepping into his role has quite possibly, the biggest of all shoes to fill.

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Of those names who have been linked, the name on everyone’s lips is Xabi Alonso, their former midfielder currently showing himself to be an absolute boss of a manager in his first senior role with Bayer Leverkusen.

They are currently top of the Bundesliga and boast an eight-point advantage over 11-time reigning champions Bayern Munich as they plot to win the first crown of their 119-year history. Such an honour would only reinforce Alonso’s credentials for the job.

Klopp’s No 2 has credentials to become new Reds boss

However, there are other names being touted too, with some on the Anfield board also behind potential moves for Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi, while we also exclusively revealed FSG are to step up their plans to approach Ruben Amorim amid fears Alonso could turn the job down.

However, there is also a school of thought that Liverpool should try to keep any successor to Klopp in-house – and in a tip of the cap to the old Boot Room era at Anfield – give the top job to the German’s trusted No 2, Lijnders.

The Dutchman is currently in his second spell at Anfield, having first worked with Klopp from the start of his era to january 2018, when the now 41-year-old quit to take on a job with Eredivisie side NEC.

That appointment, however, did not work out and Lijnders returned to Anfield later that year, where he has since elevated himself to the position of assistant manager.

The Dutchman is often tasked with pressers and leading the side in the early rounds of the League Cup, to help ease the workload on Klopp, before handing over the reigns once the competition reaches its final stages.

Often dubbed as the tactical genius behind some of Liverpool’s tactical changes, there are some who feel Lijnders certainly has the brains – if harshly, not quite the charisma – to succeed Klopp at Anfield.

Pep Lijnders holds positive talks over next job after Liverpool

But having also announced his exit at Liverpool on the day Klopp’s departure was confirmed, any prospects FSG had of giving Lijnders the top job already appear over before they have even got off the ground.

That’s because, according to journalist Mike Verweij, Lijnders has been in ‘close contact’ with Ajax director of football Marijn Beuker, who claims talks have opened over the possibility of a move to the Dutch giants.

At this moment in time, it’s not known if Lijnders is seen as the potential manager or assistant manager at the Dutch giants, who of course also recently announced the signing of talismanic former Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson from Al-Ettifaq.

Per their claims, the four-time European champions want to install Lijnders in a joint-role alongside Frank de Boer next season.

They are currently under the interim control of stand-in John van’ t Schip, though it’s claimed Beuker has already decided he wants a more permanent arrangement in place for over the summer.

Discussing their plan of action, Verweij told FC Update: “Lijnders has been with Klopp for years, so why couldn’t that work?

“That is not yet widely reported, but what you really feel is that a lot of people within Ajax believe that Frank de Boer had to work under the most difficult circumstances.

“De Boer did a lot of good and that allowed [Marc] Overmars to put together a team for Ten Hag that reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. I don’t want to detract from Ten Hag’s performance.”

Lijnders’ previous role with NEC lasted just 22 games and he will hope any return to the Eredivisie goes significantly better.

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