The Reds legend believes an ambitious coach will honour his contract at Anfield, meaning that another club icon will have to bide his time
Jurgen Klopp’s future as Liverpool manager remains a topic of much discussion, with a humbling step backwards for the Premier League champions in 2020-21 sparking talk of a possible change in the dugout.
The German has offered no indication that he is mulling over his options, but speculation is rife regarding a possible parting of ways between a demanding boss and the most decorated of clubs.
Those at Anfield will be hoping that there is no substance to the rumours, given the success enjoyed in recent years, but it remains to be seen what the summer will bring when the dust settles on another action-packed campaign.
What has been said?
Liverpool legend John Barnes, in association with BonusCodeBets, told Goal when quizzed on whether Klopp will still be on Merseyside next season: “Well, it’s very much like the players, I can’t see why Jurgen Klopp wouldn’t be there next season!
“Having said that, football being football, managers do sometimes go on a very regular basis. However, I genuinely think that if Jurgen Klopp is not coming back for the next season, it won’t be because Liverpool didn’t win the league.
“Klopp has created a great, consistent team with Liverpool – with a team sprit at an all-time high. Yes, the last few months haven’t been perfect, but I do think Covid and all the issues and uncertainties this virus has brought upon us, it is no wonder players may not perform in the best possible way. But I don’t think a difficult spell would result in Klopp leaving.
“Klopp loves Liverpool and I do believe that he will stay to the end of his contract.”
When does Klopp’s contract expire?
Liverpool thrashed out fresh terms with their Champions League-winning boss back in December 2019, with a long-term agreement set to take him through to the summer of 2024.
He has hinted at walking away when that deal comes to a close, allowing a well-earned rest to be taken in before other options are explored, but could he be tempted to sever ties with the Reds before that point?
Barnes added when asked if another notable triumph, such as a second European crown of his reign, could lead to Klopp looking to leave on a high: “Well, I very much doubt it! You obviously do have some people who would rather bow out on a high, but Jurgen Klopp, with his fighting spirit, I very much doubt he’d be the one to do it.
“As I said before, I think we’ll see Klopp at Liverpool next season – why wouldn’t we?!”
Who could succeed Klopp at Liverpool?
While the Reds remain one of the biggest clubs in world football, making them of obvious appeal to coaches across the planet, few would relish the prospect of following in Klopp’s footsteps.
Many have, however, suggested that former captain Steven Gerrard could be the man to take on that challenge, with the 40-year-old’s contract at Rangers mirroring that of Klopp.
Pressed on whether it is too soon for the ex-England captain to be coming into contention, regardless of the fact that he is closing in on a long-awaited Scottish Premiership title at Ibrox, Barnes said: “Well, it obviously depends on what’s considered as too early… But I do believe that the chances of Gerrard taking over from Klopp any time soon remain unlikely; unless he returns to Anfield as a coach, which, given his current success with Rangers, I very much doubt he’d do.
“At the end of the day, he’s brought Rangers to the very top of the Scottish Premiership, with a team that will end Celtic’s dream of winning 10 in a row this season, so I’d say he’ll stay up there for a little bit longer and enjoy that success.
“For football managers – it’s all about timing. Frank Lampard is a prime example. One moment, Lampard was the golden child; an ex-Chelsea player adored by the fans, but then that quickly changed. And I don’t think that Steven is ready to follow in those footsteps quite yet.
“For example, if Rangers were to lose the next five games, would fans still want Steven to take over at Liverpool? And what if Celtic win the league next year and Rangers end up second, will they still back Steven to be the right man?
“Having said all this, I do think Gerrard, one day, would love to manage Liverpool and if he continues to perform in the way him and his team are doing just now, I see no reason why he wouldn’t be Liverpool’s manager… just not right now.”