Former Red backs Manchester United-linked manager to succeed Jurgen Klopp

As speculation over who will succeed Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool's manager grows, former England and Reds defender Glen Johnson has thrown his weight behind a surprising candidate. However, his endorsement is not entirely what it may seem.

Despite Bayer Leverkusen's Xabi Alonso and Sporting Lisbon's Ruben Amorim widely believed to be the leading contenders, Johnson believes current England manager Gareth Southgate should be in the running as the next Liverpool manager.

In an interview with Betfred, Johnson said, "If [Southgate]'s available in the summer, then you've got to look at all the options. He's done a brilliant job with England, so there's no reason why he can't be successful with a club like Liverpool as he'd be dealing with a similar standard of players."

Southgate, who led England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020, has, until now, kept his future with the national team following Euro 2024 in Germany this summer open-ended.

The 53-year-old has been heavily linked with the Manchester United manager job in recent weeks, with Ineos reportedly looking at options should they decide to part ways with Erik ten Hag at the end of the season.

An interim choice?

Despite his apparent backing of the former Middlesbrough coach, Johnson admitted that whoever Klopp's successor may be will be up against it.

"Timing in football is everything and for whoever comes in next, they’re going to be massively under the spotlight," he said, before suggesting that Southgate could be the man to come in to "take the bullet first".

"I know that sounds horrible and brutal to say, but there’s no chance of whoever comes in next being better than Jürgen, and that’s a testament to the team he’s built at Liverpool."

An 'older manager' needed

When asked about the leading candidates, Johnson admitted he'd like to see Alonso manage Liverpool "one day" but that now is not the time: “I think an older manager needs to go in there with that mindset and know that they’re only going to be there for a couple of years.

"Once there’s a dip, then you can give a younger manager a chance. Taking over after Jürgen would be such huge shoes to fill for somebody in the early stage of their managerial career."

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