Over the last seven seasons, Jurgen Klopp has forged an unshakable legacy at Liverpool. The former Borussia Dortmund coach has guided the club to every single trophy on offer, winning the Premier League title, Champions League trophy, and the FA Cup, amongst other honors. However, as is the norm, all good things, sooner or later, must come to an end.
From fighting on all fronts in the 2021-22 season to struggling to stay in the Premier League top-four race this season, Liverpool have had a drastic fall from grace. Having picked up only 10 points from eight matches, the Reds have endured their worst start to a Premier League campaign since the 2012-13 season.
Unless things take a turn for the better in the coming weeks, the Liverpool board could be compelled to make the ruthless call of relieving Klopp from his responsibilities. Replacing the German mastermind would not be easy, of course, with only a handful of candidates possessing the qualities to fill in for him.
Below, we will take a look at a few candidates who could sit in the hot seat if Liverpool choose to shake things up. Here are the five managers that could replace Klopp at Anfield:
#5 Zinedine Zidane
Since parting ways with Real Madrid in 2021, Zinedine Zidane has not taken up a new managerial role. The three-time Champions League and two-time La Liga-winning manager was heavily linked with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, but the move ultimately did not materialize.
On the occasion of his 50th birthday, Zidane disclosed his intention to manage the French national team someday (via The Daily Mail). Although he did not explicitly mention it, his national team ambition could be the reason why he has not yet taken up a new job. If Zidane were to change his stance and opt to re-enter the world of club management, Liverpool could be the ideal destination.
In Zidane, the Reds will have an excellent man-manager as well as a tactician with plenty of top-level experience. The Frenchman, on the other hand, would have a club with a rich history, a healthy transfer budget, and a deep squad. If the stars align, Zidane’s switch to Liverpool could turn out to be one for the ages.
#4 Pep Lijnders
Except for a brief six-month spell in 2018, during which he took charge of NEC in the Netherlands, Pep Lijnders has served as Jurgen Klopp’s trusted right-hand man at Liverpool. The assistant manager does not have top-flight managerial experience (top-five leagues), meaning appointing him could turn out to be a gamble. However, considering the amount of time he has spent with Klopp, it would not be wrong to seem him as a natural successor to the German.
If Lijnders takes over, the Reds might require very little reshuffling, as the Dutchman could be reluctant to tinker with Klopp’s formula. While natural succession could help with the transition, it might not bring real change to the club's tactical setup.
#3 Mauricio Pochettino
Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has been without a club since being dismissed by PSG in July. Pochettino won the Ligue 1 title with PSG in the 2021-22 season but paid the price for failing to go deep into the Champions League and the French Cup.
Pochettino did not win a single trophy during his stints with Southampton (January 2013–June 2014) and Spurs (July 2014–November 2019), but his style of play was widely celebrated. His lack of silverware could discourage Liverpool from courting him, but his abundance of Premier League experience should not be overlooked.
#2 Steven Gerrard
Although he does not have much experience, Steven Gerrard is one of the favorites to replace Klopp at Liverpool. Gerrard is a club legend, which means that he will have unflinching backing from the supporter. At only 42 years old, he has age on his side. Finally, he has a track record of trying to play an eye-catching brand of football.
Between June 2018 and November 2021, Gerrard managed Premiership outfit Rangers, guiding them to the league title in the 2020-21 campaign. Last season, he showed promise as the manager of Aston Villa, helping them to 10 wins in 27 Premier League matches.
Gerrard’s Villa have struggled to hit the ground running this term, picking up nine points in nine matches to find themselves in 16th place in the Premier League standings. Unless he bounces back from the shaky start, fans might not feel confident seeing him in charge of one of the biggest clubs in football.
#1 Thomas Tuchel
Recently-sacked Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is currently without a job, which is a shame granted how much success he has had in recent years. Before taking charge of Chelsea in January 2021, Tuchel managed Borussia Dortmund and PSG respectively.
Tuchel won one German Cup with Dortmund. Then bagged two Ligue 1 titles and one French Cup with PSG, amongst other honors. Finally, at Chelsea, he won the Champions League, Club World Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup.
As his trophy cabinet suggests, the German knows how to win. However, his style of play is not as flamboyant as Klopp’s. He is known to have a pragmatic approach, something that has seldom been associated with Liverpool. However, if the board is looking to find someone who can guarantee results, Tuchel could very well be their man.