Pundit has been told who Liverpool players 'want' as Jürgen Klopp heir over Rúben Amorim

Pepijn Lijnders, Assistant Manager of Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool, watch on during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 Quarter-Final first leg match between Liverpool FC and Atalanta at Anfield on April 11, 2024 in Liverpool, England.
Departing Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp with his assistant Pep Lijnders. -Credit:Stu Forster/Getty Images

Liverpool will surely want to make progress on appointing a new manager soon. After a heavy first-leg defeat in the Europa League, it's looking increasingly likely that Jürgen Klopp will only have eight games left at the helm, meaning attention is slowly turning to who might succeed him.

Of course, there is still plenty to play for this season, not least the Premier League title. To win that in front of fans would be the ideal send-off for Klopp, rendering the campaign a massive success regardless of fortunes in other competitions. Meanwhile, the manager will still believe he can turn the tie around against Atalanta.

But even while all that is going on, FSG head of football Michael Edwards is bound to be conducting the search in the background. Liverpool wants to savor the remaining weeks of Klopp, but cannot afford to be caught scrambling when he does eventually depart.

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To that end, following Xabi Alonso's decision to stay put, Rúben Amorim has emerged as the clear favorite. The Sporting manager insists he has not reached an agreement with Liverpool or any other club, but he is still considered the likeliest candidate to take up the Anfield hot-seat.

However, he is not the sole option. And pundit Alan Brazil believes that he is not the man backed by the Liverpool squad.

Speaking on the TalkSPORT Breakfast Show, Brazil doubled down on something he has said previously. He claimed that the players want Klopp's assistant Pep Lijnders to become the manager.

"I’ll stick by Klopp’s understudy, Pep," he said, when asked about the next Liverpool boss. "That’s who I am told the players want."

Lijnders' departure was announced at the same time as Klopp. He told the club site that he always planned to leave Liverpool when Klopp called it a day:

"I always said I will finish with Jürgen; the moment I will not assist anyone else, that’s the moment I will go and I will manage. That was always the case. So when we spoke, it was clear for me: OK, then I go and manage, and we end this project together [that] we started."

Of course, if Klopp's job was on offer, then Lijnders would have a decision to make. But the near-instant announcement in January appeared to draw a deliberate line under that possibility.

Liverpool.com says: The opinion of the players is obviously important. But Edwards and incoming sporting director Richard Hughes will lead the search for Klopp's heir, and will be led by the data.

There's little to assess with Lijnders. If judging a manager is hard, judging an assistant is even more challenging, and his one brief solo stint in the Netherlands was not a success. He returned to Liverpool after mere months.

On the other hand, of course, Mikel Arteta shows the potential benefits of taking such a risk. Lijnders would also be the continuity candidate, and would follow in a long 'boot room' tradition at Liverpool. Yet it would take a major U-turn to appoint him now, regardless of what Alan Brazil has been told.