Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Reds players’ choice to succeed Klopp revealed, and it’s not Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso and Pep Lijnders

Two pundits have claimed Pep Lijnders is the man Liverpool's squad hope will replace Jurgen Klopp

Two voices within the game have revealed who sections of the Liverpool squad hope will replace Jurgen Klopp – and it’s not Xabi Alonso who TEAMtalk has learned has been offered a three-year contract.

Klopp will bring his storied Liverpool career to a close when the current campaign concludes. His final act as Reds boss could be securing a historic four-trophy haul. The League Cup has already been banked, while Liverpool remain in contention for the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League.

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Losing Klopp is a bitter pill to swallow for Liverpool. However, the club will be in good hands amid recent confirmation Michael Edwards has returned to the club.

Edwards – who previously worked miracles in the transfer market as sporting director – has been re-hired as FSG’s CEO of Football.

Richard Hughes, currently of Bournemouth, will be installed as the sporting director and report directly to Edwards.

With the hierarchy in place, all eyes are on who succeeds Klopp in the dugout.

Xabi Alonso is the overwhelming favourite to replace Klopp and return to the club he starred for during his playing days between 2004-09.

However, according to talkSPORT pair Alan Brazil and Dean Saunders, sections of the Liverpool squad want Klopp’s No 2, Pep Lijnders, to take the reins.

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Players want Lijnders, but won’t get their wish

“I am told the players wouldn’t mind the number two, Pep taking over,” Brazil said on talkSPORT.

Co-host Dean Saunders replied: “I heard that as well. At least he [Lijnders] knows what’s going on there. It’s difficult, who do you give the job to? That club is that big.”

Upon announcing Klopp would leave at season’s end, Liverpool also confirmed members of the German’s staff – including Lijnders – will also depart.

As such, and barring a miraculous U-turn, the Liverpool players Brazil and Saunders referred to won’t get their wish.

Lijnders has been linked with becoming a No 1 elsewhere. Rumours of a move to Ajax have swirled.

In any case, the likeliest outcome back at Anfield is Alonso replaces Klopp.

TEAMtalk exclusively learned back on February 28 that talks between Alonso’s camp and Liverpool had taken place and were positive.

Furthermore, we were told a three-year contract is on the table.

Prising Alonso out of Leverkusen will require a compensation package in the €15m-€25m range, according to Sky Germany.

But given Alonso is widely regarded as the hottest young manager in the game, that may well prove a price worth paying.

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