Paul Robinson has named one manager who he feels would be capable of taking on the ‘really difficult task’ of replacing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, although the 44-year-old sounded a warning for whoever takes over the reins.
The last fortnight has been dominated by discourse as to who’ll succeed the legendary German in the Anfield dugout, with reports emerging last night that Xabi Alonso has been contacted about the role.
Speaking to Football Insider, the former England goalkeeper gave his backing to the Bayer Leverkusen boss, but not without a cautionary note.
Robinson stated: “He should get the opportunity. Xabi Alonso has proved he is a quality manager, but for me, they’re huge shoes to fill.
“What Jurgen Klopp has done at Liverpool with the trophies he’s won is incredible. For the next man in, it’s a really difficult task. I wouldn’t want to be the next manager in, I’d want to be the one after him!
“The manager who replaces Klopp – it’s almost an impossible task. If you don’t pick up the baton and win trophies, it’ll be a problem, but the one after him – that’s the job you want because to follow someone of Klopp’s quality would be so hard.
“The way Klopp is held in such high regard by players and staff – for anyone to come in and even come close to that is going to take something crazy, but Alonso could be the man to carry on the mantle.”
You can see why Robinson has warned the next Liverpool manager about having an incredibly difficult act to follow, with examples from other Premier League clubs in recent years serving as cautionary tales.
David Moyes sank without trace at Manchester United after taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson, while Unai Emery lasted less than 18 months as Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal.
However, there’s one standout example from Anfield history of a legend being replaced with vast success, with Bob Paisley following in the footsteps of the iconic Bill Shankly by winning 20 trophies in nine years, including six league titles and three European Cups.
It should be noted, though, that his was a promotion from within – having served a trusty long-time coach under the Scot before getting the manager’s job – whereas the next Liverpool hire will come from outside the club.
Reds fans would readily acknowledge that Klopp’s successor will have enormous shoes to fill and, barring a calamitous start like the one Roy Hodgson made in 2010, will be given a certain degree of time and patience to make their mark.
If it’s to be Alonso who takes the reins, and if he can maintain Bayer Leverkusen’s place at the Bundesliga summit to the end of the season, at least then he’d come to Anfield with his managerial stock at an all-time high and instantly commanding massive respect from fans and players.