Former Real Madrid manager emerges as surprise Liverpool candidate to replace Klopp

An unlikely name has emerged as a shock contender to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager next season. 

The Reds boss confirmed on Friday his intention to step down from the role at the end of the season, after a glorious spell of nearly nine years. 

Attention immediately turned to which manager could replace the 56-year-old, who has won all the major honours on offer since arriving on Merseyside in 2015. 

The shock announcement was followed quickly by reports claiming Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso as the early frontrunner for the hotseat. 

Having played for Liverpool under Rafael Benitez, winning the Champions League and FA Cup among other trophies, Alonso is a Kop favourite and has made big waves in his early days as a manager. 

However, Leverkusen are thought to be optimistic that the 42-year-old will honour the terms of his current contract which extends until 2026. 

Accordingly, other names are now in the frame with Julian Nagelsmann, Ruben Amorim and Roberto De Zerbi among those mentioned. 

Perhaps the biggest shock candidate to date, however, is Julen Lopetegui. Journalist Ben Jacobs (via GIVEMESPORT), claims the Spaniard is in the running for the Liverpool role. 

A former goalkeeper who made appearances for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, Lopetegui rose to prominence at Porto and then as Spain manager, qualifying for the 2018 World Cup but was dismissed on the eve of the tournament for agreeing to take over at Los Blancos when the games ended. 

His spell at Madrid was disastrous, lasting barely three months and 14 matches, but he reestablished his reputation by winning the Europa League with Sevilla in 2020. 

Results eventually turned in Seville, leading to his dismissal, and the 57-year-old popped up as Wolves manager in November 2022. 

After speculation that he would leave due to Wolves’ precarious financial situation, he departed his post on the eve of the 2023/24 Premier League season and hasn't managed since.

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