Phil Thompson has insisted that Liverpool shouldn’t discount the option of assistant boss Pep Lijnders when considering potential candidates to replace Jurgen Klopp.
The German’s current terms are set to expire in the summer of 2024, with it currently appearing likely that the coach won’t extend his stay.
“He shouldn’t be discounted when [Klopp’s departure] happens,” the former defender told the Echo (via Football365).
“Yes, if Steven comes I would be delighted. But if Pep Lijnders was to take it then he would get Jurgen’s blessing.
“I would do that because you see he has got that fiery character the way Jurgen can be. He is also a very good coach.”
The Dutchman is highly-rated by the former Mainz boss who is said to enjoy a stellar relationship with the club’s owners, FSG, as well as the playing staff.
The 68-year-old did admit, however, that the potential draw of Steven Gerrard could very well make life difficult for the club’s recruitment team when picking a successor.
“Obviously Jurgen was at Mainz, was at Dortmund, and then came through. Steven has gone in at Rangers, which is a massive club. Then he has gone to Villa, and you can see the changes that he has done, bringing in the players that he has done,” Thompson added. “[The signing of] Philippe Coutinho is because it is Steven Gerrard. Players will always want to come and play for him, which will be a big draw at Liverpool.”
With us looking inwards to replace Michael Edwards as sporting director, it raises questions as to why Liverpool can’t follow a similar path with the manager’s role.
In line with the themes of sustainability, continuing a long-term vision and promotion from within, handing over the reins to the 39-year-old would make a marked amount of sense.
There is the lack of experience at the top level to consider, of course, though Klopp’s trust in his No.2 – such to an extent that the former NEC Nijmegen manager is often left to lead training sessions and encouraged to share tactical ideas – suggests we shouldn’t count him out too soon.