Who is Niko Kovac? Latest name touted to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool

Yet another manager has entered the pot of potential candidates to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool come the summer. His name is Niko Kovac.

According to the Daily Mail, Kovac is a surprise name being considered by the Reds hierarchy after his departure from Wolfsburg earlier this season.

Liverpool are reportedly still to begin formal negotiations with contenders as they look to replace Jurgen Klopp in the summer but are in the process of conducting a robust research stage, collecting information and data on their preferred candidates.

Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim is said to be top of the priority list after initial favourite Xabi Alonso wrote himself out of contention, although the former Portuguese international did recently quell any rumours that talks between him and the Merseyside club were at an advanced stage, let alone underway at all.

The likes of Roberto De Zerbi, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann have all similarly been linked with the Liverpool hot seat over recent months.

However, it appears that Liverpool haven't closed their eyes to new alternatives, with Kovac reportedly the latest name to be sounded out. Here's what you need to know him.

Who is Niko Kovac?

The former long-standing captain of the Croatian national team, Kovac has built up an impressive managerial resume since his retirement in 2009.

After starting out managing the Croatia U21s, he took over his senior national team in 2013, managing to qualify them for the 2014 World Cup after a tense and turbulent playoff stage.

He then made the jump from the international game to club football in 2016, taking the role at Eintracht Frankfurt as he sought to build a managerial career in the country he'd found much success in during his playing days, Germany.

It was here that Kovac achieved his first crowning moment as a manager. He led Frankfurt to a first piece of silverware since 1988, coming out triumphant in the 2018 DFB-Pokal final.

Pipping serial winners Bayern Munich to the crown, it would prove to be a successful audition for his soon-to-be employers.

Kovac, a former Bayern player himself, would replace legendary manager Jupp Heynckes in the summer of 2018 - and in his first season, he led them to a league and cup double.

18.05.2019, Fussball 1. Bundesliga 2018/2019, 34. Spieltag, FC Bayern München - Eintracht Frankfurt, in der Allianz-Arena München. Deutscher Meister 2019 FC Bayern feiert den Titel: Trainer Niko Kovac (FC Bayern München) mit der Meisterschale. ***DFL and DFB regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video.*** *** 18 05 2019, Football 1 Bundesliga 2018 2019, 34 Matchday, FC Bayern Munich Eintracht Frankfurt, in the Allianz Arena Munich German Champion 2019 FC Bayern celebrates the title coach Niko Kovac FC Bayern Munich with the championship title DFL and DFB regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and or quasi video

While seemingly at the top of his game, things would quickly unravel. His second term in charge didn't go nearly as well, and after suffering a thrashing at the hands of former side Frankfurt, he was sacked in October.

Stints at Monaco and Wolfsburg have since followed, with both tenures seeing mixed success. He has been out of a job since his March departure from the Volkswagen Arena.

A manager who focuses on positional play, liking to build out from the back and occupy the vertical and horizontal lanes, his tactics would act as a departure from Klopp's 'gegenpressen' style.

Nevertheless, he remains a candidate with experience at the top of the game - and given his status as a free agent, it makes sense why Liverpool would at least include him on the longlist for potential replacements.

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