Liverpool take MAJOR blow in hunt for Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi

Liverpool have suffered a major blow in their hunt for Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi as they continue to search for a successor to Jurgen Klopp.

De Zerbi has emerged as one of the leading candidates in the race for the Anfield hot seat, with Klopp among those who have given the Italian gaffer glowing endorsements in recent times.

He leads the pack along with Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim after initial favourite Xabi Alonso ruled himself out of any return to Merseyside this summer, insisting that he would remain at Bundesliga champions-elect Bayer Leverkusen beyond the current season.

However, if new reports are to be believed, Liverpool may be forced to abandon their pursuit of De Zerbi and look elsewhere for someone to fill Klopp's shoes in the dugout.

Brighton 'optimistic' about De Zerbi

According to The Athletic, Brighton are increasingly optimistic that Roberto De Zerbi will remain as head coach next season.

Senior sources reportedly believe the mood has shifted towards the Italian staying at the club, with two years still left on his contract.

Talks over a new contract have been put on the backburner and De Zerbi, who has also been linked with the Bayern Munich and Barcelona posts, has been publicly non-committal about his future pending discussions with owner-chairman Tony Bloom.

This trend of ambiguity continued following their recent draw to Burnley, with the 44-year-old insisting when asked about his future: “I have not decided to leave, it is not the right time yet to decide anything. I am frustrated, and I am disappointed for this season. But I never fight with Tony, I never fight with Paul Barber [chief executive], with my players.”

Nottingham Forest v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League - City Ground Brighton and Hove Albion Manager, Roberto De Zerbi, right interacts with Brighton and Hove Albions Adam Lallana ahead of the Premier League match at the City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Wednesday April 26, 2023. 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. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRL Copyright: xMikexEgertonx 71910481

However, De Zerbi has further fuelled the prospect of staying by stating he wants to work with former Reds stars Adam Lallana and James Milner as part of the playing squad against next season.

“I think Adam can play another season for sure,” De Zerbi added. “The problem is the behaviour of Adam, because Adam loves playing every game and is an incredible professional, but I have to manage him in a different way as with James Milner.

“I would like to work next season with both players, because they are crucial to the improvement of Brighton for young players and they are crucial on the pitch."

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