Despite being tipped by many to replace Jurgen Klopp, Steven Gerrard could be left waiting for a crack at the Liverpool job as a new candidate emerges to replace the German
Steven Gerrard ‘s dream of replacing Jurgen Klopp as the next Liverpool manager could be dashed – with new reports suggesting that current Reds number two Pep Lijnders is being eyed for the top job at Anfield.
Gerrard has enjoyed a stellar start to his managerial career since hanging up his boots in 2016.
The 41-year-old won the Scottish Premier League title to round off a successful three-and-a-half-year stint with Rangers before Aston Villa swooped to bring Gerrard back to the Premier League last month.
Since then, much has been made of Gerrard being Klopp’s successor when his contract expires in 2024.
But according to The Athletic, the high esteem that Klopp’s right-hand man Lijnders is held in could temporarily scupper Gerrard’s Anfield ambition.
The report outlines just how much emphasis the Reds hierarchy place on finding solutions from within the club – much like Klopp’s approach in the transfer market.
And that philosophy could see Liverpool owners FSG turn to Lijnders when Klopp does call time on his historic Reds reign.
The 38-year-old already has a strong relationship with FSG president Mike Gordon, which is likely to come into play when the time comes to move on from Klopp.
Klopp’s trusted lieutenant is already hugely influential at the club, too. He was lured back from a short managerial stint in his native Holland at NEC Nijmegen by Klopp, who had earmarked him as the prime candidate to become his number two after his previous assistant, Zeljko Buvac, made a surprise exit.
Lijnders is solely responsible for designing and implementing the Reds training regime and has been hailed by players for his innovative approach, as well as his commitment to keeping training fresh.
It would seem a safe bet that Lijnders will be in the mix to replace Klopp when the 54-year-old walks away to recharge his batteries – but that doesn’t mean Gerrard should be disregarded.
The Liverpool icon has made a strong start as Aston Villa’s head coach, winning three of his five games at the helm.
Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
And he’ll be hard to ignore if he can keep that momentum up over the next couple of years.
Speculation has been rife since his return to the Premier League that his time at Villa Park is primed to set him up for a tilt at Anfield’s top job; as long as he’s successful.
That still seems to be the case – even if Gerrard has distanced himself from any talk of the Liverpool job.
Although Gerrard might be kept waiting a bit longer given the high esteem that FSG holds Lijnders in, it still feels like it’s Gerrard’s destiny to take the reins at Anfield one day; something that Klopp alluded to prior to Gerrard’s return to Anfield at the weekend.
“Oh yeah. Yes, I think, absolutely. The only problem is when is the right moment for that?” said Klopp before Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Villa on Saturday.
“Not only about Stevie, but we saw it with Frank [Lampard] at Chelsea, a similar story. Stevie is doing really well at the moment. He’s very young still, from a manager’s point of view.
“So when is the right moment to take the job? Not to say that he’s not able to do it, but how long you want to do it. Is it the last job you do? The second job, third job you do?
“These are questions I cannot answer, but yes, I think it will definitely happen. And good for everybody!”