In the dugout: The former Liverpool players who stepped up to management

There will come a day where Jürgen Klopp will leave the Reds and most will wonder who will take the helm at Anfield. With many former Liverpool players now managers, BEN PAINTER looks at the potential option of bringing back legends.

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Jürgen Klopp has done a fantastic job with Liverpool, but the German has been in the job now for six years and – even though his job is far from done – one day it will be time to decide who takes over the gigantic task of replacing him.

Hopefully this question does not need to be answered for the next few years, but having gone on record in the past saying that he might leave at the end of his contract, a major decision may be approaching the Liverpool hierarchy on who to replace the Anfield legend with.


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Following the path of Chelsea with Frank Lampard, Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane and Juventus with Andrea Pirlo, the Reds could appoint a former legend to take the reins once Klopp decides to leave.

With this in mind, here are some former Liverpool players who have made the step up to management.

Steven Gerrard

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The former captain and arguably the best player to ever put on a red shirt is likely to be a front runner for the role when Klopp leaves, with many a fan expecting him to return to Anfield sooner rather than later.

What further strengthens his status as the consensus No.1 to follow the German is that his status at the club is unparalleled, whilst he is also by far the most qualified to take on the momentous role.

After his retirement from football, Gerrard took over as manager of the Liverpool u18 team for the 2017/18 season. He had been in the job for a year when the blue side of Glasgow came knocking, and an opportunity to spearhead the Rangers revival was too good to refuse.

After two seasons of second-place finishes, this season he did what no Rangers manager has managed in over a decade, comfortably winning the SPFL title. This was the 55th title for the side from Ibrox, as they stopped rivals Celtic winning 10 in a row in the process. This has all been done whilst – at the time of writing – his side has gone unbeaten throughout the league season.

With a league title in the bag and clear experience of managing a massive club in Europe, Gerrard is poised for a Liverpool return as soon as Klopp vacates. No doubt that, despite the sadness many will feel when Jürgen leaves, that he will be welcomed with much excitement and fanfare.

Xabi Alonso

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A Champions League winner with over 200 appearances for Liverpool, the Spaniard was a fantastic midfielder during his time on Merseyside.

After leaving the Reds in 2009, Alonso moved his talents to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively, having highly successful spells at both, before hanging up his boots in 2017.

With football clearly a strong part of his life, it was only a year until he returned to the game, coaching Real Madrid’s u14 side for a season. He has since moved onto fellow Spanish side Real Sociedad – were he started his playing career – to manage their B team. The Basque side currently ply their trade in the third tier of Spanish football, having done so since 2019. In his two seasons at the head of the side, they have done well finishing 5th and 12th, whilst preparing and promoting young talent to the senior side.

Earlier in the year, German side Borussia Mönchengladbach had targeted him for their vacant manager job next season, with Marco Rose moving on to pastures new with Borussia Dortmund. Alonso, however, has opted to stay in Spain, to build his managerial career slowly and make the leap to a bigger club when the time is right – a sensible but brave choice.

When the time comes for Klopp to leave, could Xabi Alonso be the right man to guide Liverpool through its next phase?

Daniel Agger

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A real fan favourite during his eight-year spell at Anfield – even having the club’s song initials YNWA tattooed on his knuckles – the former Danish international has taken his first steps in football management.

After a playing career that also included two spells at Brøndby IF, the Dane retired in 2016 at the age of 31, citing injuries which brought about the slightly premature end to his career.

With football a clear part of his life, he subsequently completed his coaching badges with an aim to get into management. In June 2021, Agger will take on his first head coach role as manager of HB Køge in the second division of Danish football.

If he does well over in Denmark and subsequent positive moves progress his managerial experience, there is no reason why he could not force his name into the frame for the Liverpool manager job one day in the future.

Robbie Fowler

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‘God’ needs no introduction to Liverpool fans, as a successful playing career in the red shirt will make sure his name will be synonymous with the club forever.

His first entry into management was as player-manager for Thai side Muangthong United F.C. Unfortunately for Fowler, his spell as manager lasted five months, leaving the side following their appointment of Slaviša Jokanović as manager.

After the distasteful ending in Thailand, the former Reds striker then went seven years without a management position, before taking on the head role at A-League outfit Brisbane Roar in 2019. Having made the move to the other side of the world, he was relatively successful, winning manager of the month for January and February during his single season in Oz.

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However, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck this put a stop to his career in Australia, as the season halted for three months and Fowler returned to England to be with his family at this difficult time. Following this, a mutual termination of his contract followed as he was unable to return to Brisbane.

In October 2020, East Bengal appointed Fowler as their manager and overachieved, as his side finished ninth. He went viral during his time in India with his public rant about the refereeing in the Indian Super League.

His passion is undeniable, but he would have to prove himself at a much higher level if he ever wanted to be in with a shout of the job at his boyhood club.

Harry Kewell

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The only manager on this list with first team management experience in England at several sides, Kewell played for a lot of different clubs in his career – including a successful five year spell at Anfield, starting in 2003.

After his retirement in 2014, Kewell took over as a youth team manager of Watford a year later and left after two seasons to become the manager of League Two side Crawley Town.

He finished 14th with Crawley but left after agreeing to become manager at Notts County – a decision which majorly backfired – as he only lasted four months in the role. His spell contributed to a poor season for Magpies, as they were relegated to the National League at the conclusion.

It took him two years to get back into management, when he took on the poisoned chalice at Oldham Athletic in August 2020. Unfortunately, once again he suffered a poor record in charge of the Latics, as 11 wins, 6 draws and 15 defeats at a 32pc win rate saw him relieved of his duties in March 2021.

It is fair to say Kewell has not had the best start to his management career, and he will have to work his way up the leagues to prove he has what it takes to get the best out of a team in the top flight.


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