Key Liverpool managerial contender RULED OUT as new favourite emerges

Liverpool’s hunt for a new manager to replace Jurgen Klopp goes on. With No.1 candidate Xabi Alonso opting to remain with Bayer Leverkusen, the Reds’ hierarchy turned elsewhere. 

This week, another reported managerial target, Ruben Amorim, flew to London in order to hold talks with West Ham over becoming their new boss with David Moyes now overwhelmingly likely to depart this summer. His arrival on Merseyside looks more remote by the day. 

That led up to yesterday’s stories regarding Arne Slot. A number of well-placed Liverpool journalists had a co-ordinated news line that the 45-year-old Feyenoord coach was now a strong contender to become Liverpool’s next manager. 

Despite those links to Slot, who last week added the KNVB Beker (Dutch cup) to last season’s Eredivisie title, it is by no means certain that he will land on Merseyside. 

Barcelona and Bayern Munich are also said to be interested in appointing the Dutchman while the possibility of remaining with the Rotterdam side has not been ruled out should the right offer fail to materialise. 

Arne Slot, Feyenoord boss and in the running to be Liverpool’s next manager.

Eredivisie: Feyenoord v Ajax Rotterdam - Feyenoord coach Arne Slot during the Eredivisie match between Feyenoord v Ajax at Stadion Feijenoord De Kuip on 7 April 2024 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Copyright: xYannickxVerhoevenx

Other candidates for the job have fallen away in recent weeks with Julian Nagelsmann agreeing a new deal with Germany and Unai Emery doing likewise at Aston Villa. 

Paulo Fonseca is in the frame, having discussed taking over from Klopp with Liverpool bosses, while Roberto De Zerbi, Andoni Iraola, Thomas Tuchel, Thomas Frank and Jose Mourinho are also in the betting. 

One name who can now be ruled out, however, is Wolves manager Gary O’Neil. 

Gary O’Neil not in frame for Liverpool

A surprise name on the list of candidates, the 40-year-old nonetheless boasts plenty of pedigree and connections which could have made him a legitimate target. 

O’Neil was a Liverpool under-21 coach back in 2020 before opting to take a role in Jonathan Woodgate’s first-team setup at Middlesbrough. 

The ex-midfielder was also a team-mate of incoming sporting director Richard Hughes during his Portsmouth days and is known to have been close to Michael Edwards - who was working at Fratton Park as an analyst back then. 

Meanwhile, another from that Portsmouth contingent, David Woodfine, has also returned to Liverpool under the new structure in order to work as Hughes’ assistant. 


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Hughes was also technical director at Bournemouth when O’Neil was given his marching orders last year, making way for Iraola. 

Having initially earned praise at Dean Court for his work as interim coach - and subsequently on a permanent basis - O’Neil was controversially fired at the end of last season. 

Edwards has now returned to the fold as FSG’s CEO of Football and he, along with Hughes, will be involved in the search for a new manager. 

Reports on Tuesday even suggested that O’Neil had ALREADY been interviewed for the Liverpool role but O’Neil has now shot down those stories. 

O’Neil: It’s an honour to be linked with Liverpool 

“It’s obviously an honour to be linked with Liverpool, one of the biggest clubs in the world," he said.

“But I have not spoken to them or any other club,” he told his pre-match press conference ahead of Wolves’ Premier League game against Bournemouth at Molineux tonight

Moreover, respected Liverpool journalist Neil Jones also confirmed that O’Neil wasn’t in the frame. 

“Those [stories] have been emphatically shot down by Anfield insiders, who insist O’Neil is not one of the names under consideration,” Jones wrote in his Covering Liverpool Substack newsletter

Wolves are currently 11th in the Premier League table, and have had to deal with an injury crisis this season under O’Neil which has severely hampered their ambitions.

They have been without reported Liverpool target Pedro Neto for long spells while star striker Hwang Hee-chan, Mario Lemina, Rayan Ait-Nori, Pablo Sarabia, Matheus Cunha and Nelson Semedo have also missed significant games. 

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