Next Liverpool manager: The contenders to replace Jurgen Klopp – ranked

Jurgen Klopp stunned the world of football with the announcement that he will call time on his tenure at Liverpool and leave the club at the end of the 2023/24 season.

The news came as a major shock, with the Reds still in contention for all four major trophies this season.

But nothing lasts forever and the 56-year-old – whose contract was due to run until 2026 – revealed in a statement that he had informed the club of his decision back in November as he is "running out of energy".

As the Premier League's current longest-serving manager and Liverpool's most successful and popular boss of the modern era, replacing Klopp will be some task.

Here are nine men who could be in the frame to take over at Anfield, ranked by their chance of getting the job.

9. Steven Gerrard (Al Ettifaq)

Steven Gerrard file photo File photo dated 10-10-2022 of boss Steven Gerrard, who is close to signing a two-year extension at Al-Ettifaq. Issue date: Thursday January 18, 2024. FILE PHOTO EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publica... PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xTimxGoodex 75085867

There was a time when Gerrard would've topped these types of list, but the last couple of years have not been kind to Liverpool's legendary former captain.

After his title-winning turn at Rangers, Gerrard's experience at Villa was a chastening reality check for anyone who thought he was already at the front of the speeding boarding queue for Anfield.

The 43-year-old was practically booed out of Villa Park after a dirge of a start to the 2022/23 season, while Unai Emery has since proven that the tools were all there for success.

Taking a job in the Saudi Pro League rather than sticking around for a shot at redemption in Britain or Europe has not shortened Gerrard's odds of succeeding Klopp (while he has recently signed an extension in Dammam), but his status at the club means he will always be in the conversation... just nowhere near the centre of it, anymore.

Likelihood rating: 1/10

8. Roger Schmidt (Benfica)

Sport Bilder des Tages Lisbon, 01/04/2024 - Lisboa e Benfica hosted Gil Vicente Futebol Clube this afternoon at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, in a game counting for the twentieth round of the Primeira Liga 2024. Roger Schmidt Pedro Rocha / Global Imagens CI_SPORT_20240204_48379867 Lisbon Portugal Copyright: xPedroxRocha/GlobalxImagens/AtlÃnticoxPressx

A veteran of the Red Bull system, having won the double with Salzburg, Schmidt has emerged as an outside candidate in recent weeks with Jamie Carragher even name-checking the 56-year-old as a possibility.

Schmidt has a decent track record, having won trophies on four different countries (Austria, China, Netherlands and Portugal). He also has Champions League experience and is highly regarded within coaching circles, with his high-pressing 4-4-2 approach.

Currently a Benfica, Schmidt led his side to the Primeira Liga title in 2022/23, while they also became the first Portuguese team to reach back-to-back Champions League quarter finals.

However, while Benfica, PSV and Leverkusen are all big clubs, he has never been tested with a team the size of Liverpool.

Likelihood rating: 2/10

7. Thomas Frank (Brentford)

London, England, 5th February 2024. Thomas Frank, Manager of Brentford during the Premier League match at Gtech Community Stadium, London. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. SPI-2922-0073

Unlucky to miss out on a nomination for Premier League Manager of the Season in 2022/23, Frank remains one of the more underrated coaches in England's top flight.

His Brentford side have been an impressive addition to the Premier League, finishing ninth last year despite their relatively limited resources, while playing an easy-on-the-eye, high-pressing style of football, often in a 4-3-3 formation. Sound like another team you know?

The former Brondby manager has helped bring on a host of impressive talents in west London and his team has hardly missed a beat when they've moved on.

Frank's record against the big teams is very good too, with Brentford having being the only team to beat Man City home and away last season, while they've also taken impressive scalps against Man Utd and Liverpool.

As yet untested at a higher level, the former teacher has admitted he has 'ambitions'.

Likelihood rating: 2.5/10

6. Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou Spurs manager at the Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion EPL match, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, UK on 10th February, 2024. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK

The current Spurs boss is a known Reds fan, having revealed back in 2013: “I grew up supporting Liverpool as well and I guess the reason I’m a manager today is because of the football club.

“I grew up with the stories of Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and the Boot Room, Ronnie Moran, Joe Fagan, Roy Evans, all those guys.

“That kind of philosophy has stayed with me. They were playing possession football before it was trendy in the world.”

The 58-year-old has become a popular figure in the Premier League since joining Tottenham at the start of the season, with his attack-minded football and down-to-earth press conferences winning hearts and minds.

His Tottenham side remains the one of only two teams to have beaten the Reds in the league this season (albeit in highly contentious circumstances).

He is under contract at Tottenham until 2027 and reports claim the club are confident of keeping him regardless of any prospective interest.

Likelihood rating: 3/10

5. Thomas Tuchel (Bayern Munich)

FC Bayern München Trainer Thomas Tuchel - Munich, Football, Bundesliga, Archivfoto *** FC Bayern Munich Coach Thomas Tuchel Munich, Sport, Football, Bundesliga, Archive photo Copyright: xJoeranxSteinsiekx

The man who followed Klopp at Mainz and Dortmund, Tuchel is now one of Europe's top coaches in his own right, having secured big jobs at PSG, Chelsea and Bayern.

In terms of name recognition and top-level experience, there are few who compare in modern football. Tuchel has won league titles in two countries and reached two Champions League finals (winning one).

A tactical nerd, whose philosophy has many similarities to Klopp's when it comes to pressing and counter-attacking, there's a lot to like about Tuchel on paper.

The downside, however, is that he is a notoriously demanding coach, who has had some fairly spectacular fallings-out with players and club chiefs.

His spells at Dortmund, PSG and Chelsea all ended in varying levels of acrimony with Todd Boehly allegedly once describing the German as a 'nightmare'.

Since leaving Mainz in 2014, he has never lasted more than two years in a job and is set to leave Bayern at the end of the season with the Bundesliga heavyweights in serious dangers of going trophyless this season.

Likelihood rating: 4/10

4. Julian Nagelsmann (Germany)

Wien, Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 21.11.23, GER, Herren, Laenderspiel, Oesterreich - Deutschland Bild: Trainer Julian NAGELSMANN Deutschland Only for editorial use UEFA regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video. Wien Oesterreich *** Wien, Ernst Happel Stadion, 21 11 23, GER, Herren, Laenderspiel, Oesterreich Deutschland Bild Trainer Julian NAGELSMANN Deutschland Only for editorial use UEFA regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and or quasi video Wien Oesterreich

The wonderkid of the coaching world, Nagelsmann became Hoffenheim head coach at just 28.

The former centre back had seen his playing career cut short by a serious knee injury aged just 20 and went straight into coaching, learning alongside Tuchel at Augsburg before moving on to Hoffenheim where he eventually earned the top job.

Nagelsmann achieved Champions League qualification with Hoffenheim and later took RB Leipzig to the final four of Europe's top competition, earning a reputation for his intelligent 'vertical' style.

His career hit a speed bump at Bayern Munich where, despite winning his first league title, he was unable to achieve European success and was eventually replaced by his old mentor Tuchel.

Now, 36, he is the current head coach of Germany on a short-term contract to take charge of the 2024 Euros. After that, he could be available, however.

Likelihood rating: 5/10

3. Roberto de Zerbi (Brighton)

Roberto De Zerbi

Luton Town v Brighton and Hove Albion Premier League 30/01/2024. Brighton Hove Albion Manager Roberto De Zerbi ahead of the Premier League match between Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion at Kenilworth Road, Luton, England on 30 January 2024. Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See , Copyright: xChrisxFoxwellx PSI-18919-0007

The former Napoli midfielder turned unfashionable Sassuolo into one of Italy's biggest overachievers, before a spell a promising spell at Shakhtar was cut short by the Russian invasion.

It's at Brighton though where he has really earned admirers (at least in England), succeeding Graham Potter and taking the Seagulls to another level as they secured Europa League football last season – while making Graeme Souness look a bit of a turnip.

Preferring a 4-2-3-1, De Zerbi's Brighton are one of the Premier League's great possession sides, regularly controlling games with over 70% of the ball, while being largely press-resistant. His style of play has drawn lofty comparisons with Pep Guardiola and Klopp.

The Liverpool manager is a fan too. Back in May, Klopp praised the Seagulls 6-0 win over Wolves by saying: "Brighton played one of the best football games this weekend that I have ever seen in my life, I have to say.

“Mr De Zerbi, wow!"

There are question marks, however, over Brighton's defensive sturdiness this season and like with several others on this list, he has never managed at a club of Liverpool's stature.

Brighton are already said to be preparing for his exit, with several clubs sniffing around.

Likelihood rating: 6/10

2. Ruben Amorim

Ruben Amorim during UEFA Europa League 23/24 game between Sporting CP and SK Sturm Graz at Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal. Maciej Rogowski Lisbon Estadio Jose Alvalade Portugal Copyright: xMaciejxRogowskix sporting-sturm-23-24-full-67

Regularly in the frame for any big job that comes up these days, the Sporting CP boss is a credible candidate despite being just 38.

The former Portugal international won the Primeira Liga in his first full season as manager at the Lisbon club (their first in 19 years) back in 202/21, and his side are leading the division once again this year.

His attacking, progressive tactics have seen him earmarked as one of the continent's brightest young coaches, while he has helped develop talents like Joao Palhinha, Pedro Porro and Matheus Nunes – as well as supposed current Liverpool transfer targets Goncalo Inacio and Ousmane Diomande.

Recent reports say he is Liverpool's 'plan B' target if they don't get their first choice.

Amorim will get a top job sooner or later. Might it be at Anfield?

Likelihood rating: 7/10

1. Xabi Alonso (Bayer Leverkusen)

Xabi Alonso

06.02.2024, Fussball, Saison 2023/2024, DFB-Pokal, Viertelfinale, Bayer 04 Leverkusen - VfB Stuttgart, Cheftrainer Xabi Alonso Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Leverkusen BayArena NRW Deutschland xRHR-FOTO/DEx *** 06 02 2024, Football, Season 2023 2024, DFB Cup, Quarter-finals, Bayer 04 Leverkusen VfB Stuttgart, Head Coach Xabi Alonso Bayer 04 Leverkusen , Leverkusen BayArena NRW Germany xRHR PHOTO DEx Copyright: DennisxEwert/RHR-FOTOx RHR-FOTO/DE

Since Gerrard's managerial demise, there had been a void in the next Liverpool manager odds for popular former midfielders. Enter Xabi Alonso.

The classy playmaker who spent five years at Anfield, winning the 2005 Champions League and 2006 FA Cup, can now be found raising impressed eyebrows not with his passing range but his coaching CV.

Liverpool's former number 14 started his coaching journey at Real Madrid Under-14s, before proving his nous by winning promotion to Spain's Segunda Division with Real Sociedad B in 2021.

From there it was a big leap to Bundesliga heavyweights Bayer Leverkusen, who he directed away from a relegation fight and to the semi finals of the Europa League last season, before earning a contract extension until 2026.

Currently, his side sit top of the table in Germany, unbeaten and eight points clear of Bayern Munich – and are chasing an historic first-ever Bundesliga title.

He is now, clearly, Liverpool's first choice, with talks already said to be underway. 

The only problem? Bayern are interested too.

Likelihood rating: 8.5/10

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