Gerrard, Nagelsmann, Lijnders… Candidates To Eventually Succeed Klopp At Reds

Before Jurgen Klopp’s first full
season in charge of Liverpool, their recent history was absolutely
damning. Of the seven previous seasons, they finished sixth, seventh and
eighth on two occasions each.

Gerrard, Nagelsmann, Lijnders… Candidates To Eventually Succeed Klopp At Reds 1

Their
League Cup triumph in 2012 would prove to be their only piece of
silverware across across a 13-year period. It was the long-term form of a
club who had lost their way.

The German’s immense impact
was not obvious at first, but the signs were there. Their restored
self-belief saw them soar into the 2016 Europa League final, while they
secured a minimum of a top four finish in four successive campaigns.

They
reached successive Champions League finals, comprehensively triumphing
the second time round, and have amassed 109 league points from the last
114 available – a full season’s worth.

Their recent
Champions League exit to Atletico de Madrid was their first loss at
Anfield in 68 matches and, perhaps more remarkably, the first time the
club had lost a two-legged European knockout tie under Klopp.

Yet
nothing can lost forever and football evolves rapidly – the time will
come when the club will need to start thinking of potential successors.

Klopp
spent seven years at Borussia Dortmund and later this year his
five-year anniversary at Anfield will arrive. Indeed, his four-month
break between the two clubs was his only time out of football management
since February 2001.

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His successor will surely require a
similar level of energy and intensity, with tweaks and ideas to build
upon. We analyse a few potential successors who would match such
requirements.

Julian Nagelsmann

Despite being aged just 32, Nagelsmann has been touted as a longer-term possibility for a number of Europe’s elite club sides.

His
playing career ended at youth level due to persistent knee injuries,
while his educational path took him into coaching via sports science.
His big break came aged just 28 when he was tasked with saving
Hoffenheim from relegation.

Gerrard, Nagelsmann, Lijnders… Candidates To Eventually Succeed Klopp At Reds 2

Nagelsmann
achieved this initial objective before rising to prominence the
following season as he guided tiny Hoffenheim into the Champions League
for the first time in their history, winning multiple individual awards
in the process.

His success was recognised by ambitious RB
Leipzig, but in an unconventional manner – agreeing a deal to join them
in the summer of 2018 but remaining at Bundesliga rivals Hoffenheim for a
further season.

His success has continued both in the
Bundesliga and in Europe – Leipzig are in the midst of a fascinating
domestic title race (recording an eye-catching 8-0 win over Mainz
earlier this season) while they qualified for the knockout stages of the
Champions League for the first time ever.

Nagelsmann’s side emphatically outclassed, outfought and outcoached last season’s beaten finalists Tottenham.

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His
style of play is similar to that of Klopp’s – emphasising attacking,
direct football at a high intensity. Focused on dynamism and innovative
tactical ideas, he looks set to be linked to a number of top jobs over
the coming years and would be an ideal successor to Klopp.

Steven Gerrard

After
hanging up his boots in late 2016, Gerrard initially returned to
Liverpool as an academy coach before being appointed as under-18s
manager for the 2017/18 season.

Klopp even suggested the
club legend would eventually replace him, when speaking in 2017: “I told
him when I leave, or the club sack me, I don’t care of course who’ll be
my successor, but I’d love that he’d be it.”

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The
former star midfielder is currently at the helm of Rangers, where he
has provided some memorable moments but as yet, no trophies. Despite a
strong opening half of the current campaign, the success-starved Glasgow
giants have fallen away from Celtic in the title race.

However,
they did become the first Scottish side to win a European knockout tie
past the group stages since 2004 as they impressively defeated Braga
home and away in the Europa League.

The victory in Portugal
was a tactical masterclass from Gerrard, and he is highly rated in
coaching circles for his ideas and leadership.

Question
marks, though, may develop into open doubts if his side cannot land a
domestic trophy soon. His dream job would be the Liverpool hotseat, but
there is a long way to go before that could be considered a reality.

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Pepijn Lijnders

Klopp’s
success has been remarkable and his individual contribution is clearly
huge, but it is a collective effort and the depth of the team’s recent
success shows that an excellent framework is propelling this run.

Lijnders
coached youth teams at PSV Eindhoven and FC Porto before moving to
Anfield in 2014, initially in Brendan Rodgers setup before being
maintained by Klopp.

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A
brief and unsuccessful managerial stint at NEC in the Netherlands in
early 2018 is a blotch on his record, but his significance to the
current setup cannot be ignored.

He returned to Liverpool
that summer but in an elevated position, replacing Klopp’s long-time
number two Zeljko Buvac, known as ‘the brain’.

It was at
this point where Liverpool’s trajectory to success really took off –
losing just twice in 65 league games since and winning the Champions
League title.

Unlike Gerrard, there can be few doubts over
the tactical astuteness of Lijnders while such an appointment would
present a real continuity of ideas.

Not all assistants can
translate this success when put at the top of a club, but such is the
influence of the Dutchman it may be the most logical appointment.