Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Ruben Amorim denials provoke Fabrizio Romano response as Bruno Fernandes tells Reds they are landing a winner

Liverpool managerial target, Ruben Amorim and Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes

Liverpool managerial target, Ruben Amorim and Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes

Fabrizio Romano insists Liverpool remain very much focused on appointing Ruben Amorim as their next manager despite claims appearing to dismiss FSG’s plans for Portuguese coach and with Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes also well aware of his capabilities.

The Merseysiders are preparing to bid an emotional farewell to iconic manager Jurgen Klopp at the season’s end, with the German set to close the chapter on almost nine glorious years in the Anfield dug-out. In that time, Liverpool have managed to get their hands on seven pieces of major silverware – and Klopp could yet add two more trophies to that haul before his time is up on Merseyside.

With Klopp and his squad very much focused on adding the Premier League and the Europa League trophies to the Carabao Cup they have already claimed this season, work has gone on behind the scenes on landing on the very best successor to step into the German’s shoes.

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Their initial top target in Xabi Alonso has ruled himself out the running after publicly declaring his loyalty to Bayer Leverkusen. However, they have been presented with something of an open goal for another of their options in Amorim, who has also worked wonders this season for Sporting Lisbon.

Indeed, TEAMtalk was the first to break the news back in February that Alonso was to snub the opportunity to coach the Reds, leaving FSG to instead switch their focus to Amorim as a Plan B.

Now those reports have gathered serious pace with sources revealing to TEAMtalk that Amorim has informed his bosses at Sporting that he wants to take on the opportunity presented him at Anfield and amid reports that a three-year deal is on the table at Anfield.

Fabrizio Romano clarifies Amorim to Liverpool rumours

Those reports were since substantiated by Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg, who claims the Reds have reached a verbal agreement with the 39-year-old on a deal until summer 2027.

However, with Liverpool presumably briefing BBC Sport, they were one of a number of outlets to then deny such claims, reporting that suggestions ‘a preferred candidate has been identified and acted upon, would be wholly inaccurate’.

That denial has since provoked a response from Romano, who writing in his latest column for Caught Offside, has confirmed that contacts have been made for Amorim, who remains Liverpool’s ‘favoured candidate’ for the job.

“Ruben Amorim is the favoured candidate for Liverpool for sure, but we still have to wait and see because Liverpool are discussing this possibility internally, while they have also made contacts with people close to Amorim. This is significant because it’s not something they did with Roberto de Zerbi or some of the other names we’ve seen in the media in recent weeks,” Romano said.

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“So, Amorim remains a strong candidate – they are well informed on his contract situation and there will be more discussions over him becoming the new Liverpool manager.

“As previously reported, there is an agreement with Sporting for Amorim to leave for around €10m if a top club comes in for him, even if his formal release clause for clubs outside Portugal is €20m. This could be a boost for Liverpool.”

Next Liverpool manager: Bruno Fernandes a huge fan of top FSG target

With Amorim’s release reportedly costing Liverpool a far more modest £8.5m, a number of leading figures have come to the fore expressing their admiration for the work done by the Portuguese coach.

He has won an impressive 152 of his 215 matches in charge, giving him an incredible 70.70% win percentage record since taking charge at Sporting CP in March 2020.

One man who has followed his career closely is Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes, who played with distinction for the capital club for two and a half years, prior to his £67.6m move to Old Trafford in January 2020.

Prior to his links with Liverpool, Amorim was interviewed by Chelsea last summer and has also been touted as a potential successor to Erik ten Hag at Manchester United.

Having followed his development closely, Fernandes was asked about Amorim’s impact at the Lions, and has highlighted what a top coach he is.

Fernandes also reckons Amorim is more than capable of taking the next step in his career, though for obvious reasons, now hopes that he remains at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

“If he really takes the next step – I hope he stays at Sporting – but if he takes the next step, I think all the qualities are there to be able to succeed in English, French, or Spanish football,” Fernandes told SportTV.

“Obviously, we know that the Premier League is probably the most desired. The qualities [to succeed in England] are there and he has everything to take the next step, in my opinion.

“But it will depend on the clubs, the directors, whether they want to pay the Sporting’s release clause or not.”

Plaudits keep on coming for Amorim

As well as Fernandes, Amorim has also come in for praise from former Liverpool defender Abel Xavier, who took his coaching badges alongside the 39-year-old.

And the former Liverpool full-back, who played for the Reds between 2001 and 2003, believes his compatriot is the ideal candidate to succeed Klopp in the Anfield dug-out.

“I know him very well. We finished the UEFA coaching badges course together and Ruben really impressed me. He is very humble and has a clear mentality,” Xavier said.

“He’s destined to leave Sporting and when you have three or four possibilities to join big clubs like this, his name will always be at one of the top clubs, that’s for sure. He’s under contract at Sporting and doesn’t want to get distracted by things that are going on elsewhere.”

Amorim’s brand of football has also won over an army of admirers with Xavier informing the BBC World Service of what a top young coach he is.

He added: “For the first time in years, Sporting can win the ‘dobradinha’ [league and cup double]. But I believe and I think almost everyone believes that Amorim’s tenure at Sporting will end very soon.

“With great respect to Sporting, I would like to see Ruben Amorim at Liverpool and I think he will be the right person to replace Jürgen Klopp.”

Sporting are currently four points clear at the top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga and also boast a game in hand, having lost just two of their 27 games played so far.

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