Liverpool

Liverpool

Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Roberto De Zerbi drops future tease and names the man ‘perfect’ for the job

Xabi Alonso or Roberto de Zerbi could replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool

Xabi Alonso or Roberto de Zerbi could replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi has responded to speculation suggesting he has been shortlisted to become the next manager of Liverpool in succesion to Jurgen Klopp – and also revealed the candidate who he feels ticks all the boxes for the Reds.

Klopp announced late last month that he is to bring the curtain down on his hugely-successful Liverpool reign at the end of the season after close to nine years at the helm. After leading the Reds to six trophies and four European finals in his time at Anfield, the German will go down in history as one of the club’s greatest-ever managers.

And while wild conspiracy theories have been presented over the reasons behind Klopp’s decision to leave, the focus at Anfield remains on the task in hand, especially given Liverpool are currently top of the Premier League, are through to the Carabao Cup final and are also still alive in both the Europa League and the FA Cup.

As such, it remains business as usual – for now, at least, for Klopp and his Liverpool players.

Behind the scenes, however, the club’s owners FSG are doing their due dilligence on a potential successor, having known of Klopp’s decision to leave since November.

That has given John Henry, Tom Werner and Co a serious advantage in their quest to land on the next Liverpool boss, though nothing will be made public until after the season is done to ensure nothing disrupts from Klopp’s quest to end on a high.

Nonetheless, reports on Thursday claimed they had whittled down their shortlist to two names – with Brighton boss De Zerbi and Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso the men in question.

READ MORE ~ Next Liverpool manager: Five reasons why Xabi Alonso would be perfect Jurgen Klopp successor

Next Liverpool boss: De Zerbi explains why Xabi Alonso should be the one

The former Reds midfielder would be a hugely-popular pick among fans with many still regarding the Spaniard as one of their most gifted-ever stars and still held with enormous affection on Merseyside for his part in their 2005 Champions League final comeback against AC Milan.

Currently doing an incredible job with Bayer Leverkusen, who are top of the Bundesliga by two points and seeking the first title in their 1199-year history, a move to appoint Alonso at Anfield appears to tick all the boxes.

Those claims were also given a serious push forward on Thursday when it was suggested that Alonso had already agreed to the job and picked out a €75m star as his first signing as Reds manager.

Now Brighton boss De Zerbi has also made clear why he sees  the 42-year-old Alonso as the perfect fit for Liverpool.

“He is doing an extraordinary job,” De Zerbi said in an interview with Cronache Di Spogliatoio.

“His team plays so well. The style is well-defined. He was already good when coaching Real Sociedad’s second team three years ago and he is proving the same in a great club like Bayer Leverkusen.”

If Liverpool cannot persuade Alonso, there are many who feel De Zerbi would be another perfect option, having impressed since succeeding Graham Potter in the AMEX hotseat back in October 2022.

Having steered Brighton into the Europa League knockout stages, his stock is very much on the rise, with the Italian also having been linked with the Real Madrid job too in recent months.

De Zerbi tightlipped on Brighton future amid Anfield links

 

De Zerbi’s current deal with the Seagulls runs to 2026 and he revealed back in December that he is not agitating for a move elsewhere and could even extend his current contract.

However, when asked about potentially succeeding Klopp at Anfield, De Zerbi was giving very little away on his future.

“No, there is no news,” he said. “My focus is just on the last part of the season. We are going to compete and to play a historic part of the season. We compete in the Premier League to reach the same target as last season (qualifying for Europe).

“We’re going to play the last 16 in the Europa League. We compete in the FA Cup and we remember the defeat last season in Wembley and for it I keep my eye on my team.”

De Zerbi, however, did also pay a warm tribute to Klopp, suggesting his impact on the English game will go down in history and he will forever be remembered.

“I am very sad, we are losing one of the best coaches in the world,” he added. “His personality, I like him because of his energy and character. If he changes leagues it is not a good thing for the Premier League.

“Our work is the best you can do but it is very tough. You need energy, you have to push every day and keep trying to improve. You can’t stop your improvement and study. Football is always developing and if you don’t work with the right energy you will lose. But the passion we both show is because we ‘feel’ the football. We are very close in this [regard].”

De Zerbi has won 33 of his 70 matches in charge of Brighton, giving him an impressive win percentage ratio of 47.14%.

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