Jamie Carragher logic should lead Liverpool to wildcard Jürgen Klopp successor already in England

Mikel Arteta and Andoni Iraola before Arsenal beat Bournemouth earlier this season.
Mikel Arteta and Andoni Iraola before Arsenal beat Bournemouth earlier this season. -Credit:Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

The celebration of Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool tenure that takes place on the final day of the season will be an emotional occasion whether the Reds have won the Premier League or not. Finding a dry eye in the house on that particular day might prove tricky.

But behind the scenes, such romanticism cannot take hold. Michael Edwards, brought back to work with Liverpool in the form of FSG's new CEO of football, will be working on finding a replacement. And with data taking center stage in the search, he will not be swayed by public opinion or the latest fad.

On Monday, it emerged in The Athletic that Rúben Amorim was 'unlikely' to come out on top in the hunt for the best fit at Anfield. With Xabi Alonso already having ruled himself out to remain at Bayer Leverkusen for another season, there is a question mark remaining over who it might be that takes charge when the current regime departs with the extension research still being undertaken.

READ MORE: Jürgen Klopp has discovered another useful midfield option as Liverpool successor must take note

READ MORE: Liverpool scouts watch exciting $235m transfer trio as FSG 'talks collapse' for buying new club

When the news broke on Amorim, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher had a quick response on social media. "Richard Hughes wanted Roberto De Zerbi at Bournemouth," he posted on X/Twitter. "He must be the favourite if this is true."

The logic certainly makes sense even if links to De Zerbi have previously been played down. He has done some excellent work on the south coast and the Italian is clearly a manager who is heading for the very top.

The aversion to him in some quarters seems to stem from the fact that he is more of a known quantity (having worked in the Premier League already) rather than being based on anything more factual. Edwards won't let that get in the way.

He might be familiar, but that actually comes with some big advantages. And the fact that Hughes is a big fan certainly seems to add up in terms of the timing. Hughes has a lot of knowledge of Serie A and tried to bring De Zerbi to England before Brighton did.

But by the same logic, there should be another name that Liverpool considers as its coach. Hughes didn't end up bringing De Zerbi to the Premier League because Brighton beat him to it, but he did sign Andoni Iraola last summer.

It was a hugely controversial move to replace Gary O'Neil with the former Rayo Vallecano boss, but it has paid off. Bournemouth is 17 points clear of the drop zone and is level on points with Fulham, with a game in hand, and has played some attractive football so far this season.

O'Neil, strangely, features quite high up in the betting for the Liverpool job, but Iraola is nowhere to be seen. The latter, though, as a more attack-minded coach with significantly more experience and now a stint in England too, makes a lot more sense.

Iraola may not quite be ready for the step up to a Champions League club just yet but he arrived in the Premier League as a very highly-rated young manager and nothing has changed in that time. If anything, he has adapted to the circumstances more quickly than many who were outraged at O'Neil's dismissal might have anticipated.

It would be a wildcard option for Liverpool, clearly. But if the logic that De Zerbi should be on the list adds up, then Iraola must be the same. With Alonso crossed off the shortlist and Amorim perhaps having been decided against, that only really leaves more left-field options in that case, Iraola should be one.