Next Roy Hodgson or inspired move? Liverpool feel out Gary O’Neil for manager’s job

Steven Chicken
Wolves boss Gary O'Neil
Gary O'Neil may need to weigh his options

As the very obvious name that was on everybody’s lips as soon as Jurgen Klopp announced his departure, it will of course come as a shock to nobody that Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Gary O’Neil has reportedly interviewed for the Liverpool job.

The former Bournemouth boss made the move to Molineux as Julen Lopetegui’s replacement just before the season began and has impressively led them from finishing 13th place last season all the way up to the heady heights of 11th.

Big results against Manchester City and Chelsea put Gary O’Neil in frame for Liverpool

All sarcasm aside, Wolves have done the double over Spurs and Chelsea as well as beating Manchester City this season, which has – according to reports from Spider-man villain DaveOCKOP – put O’Neil on Liverpool’s radar as they hunt for the man to step into Klopp’s size 11.5 shoes.

O’Neil had previously done an excellent job steering Bournemouth away from relegation after a dreadful start to the campaign under Scott Parker.

👉 Why the West Ham job is a better bet than Liverpool for your Amorims and Fonsecas
👉 Liverpool ‘open talks’ with former would-be Tottenham Hotspur manager
👉 West Ham offer Amorim ‘considerably higher’ wage and ‘freedom’ with Liverpool move ‘unlikely’

The Athletic’s David Ornstein wrote this week that Liverpool are yet to make a final decision on who might be next into the dugout at Anfield, but suggested they were willing to choose ‘brave over popular’ by going for someone who ticked the right boxes in terms of playing style, player development, fitness management and ability to form a bond with the fans.

And bloody hell, would they live up to that if they really are considering O’Neil – and we genuinely say that with no disrespect intended.

UNIQUE TO F365: Mediawatch | Mailbox | Winners & Losers | Bespoke PL tables

Gary O’Neil has been at Liverpool before

O’Neil is a former Liverpool coach having been assistant manager of their youth team, while newly-appointed sporting director Richard Hughes held a similar position at Bournemouth during O’Neil’s time at the club – so it does all make a bit more sense than would first appear.

Nonetheless, promoting a manager from Premier League mid-table has had mixed results for Liverpool over the years, with Roy Hodgson an absolute flop after joining from Fulham, while Brendan Rodgers took the Reds close to the Premier League title after being plucked from Swansea before thoroughly running out of steam and being replaced by Klopp in 2015.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Should Liverpool wait for Alonso? Join the debate

Ornstein had added that Liverpool were close to finalising their shortlist based on their analysis and could soon start reaching out to the potential candidates.

Liverpool were expected to hear from a number of different candidates, meaning that neither O’Neil nor any of the other touted links are to be considered a certainty for the job even if they are approached.

That includes Sporting’s Ruben Amorim, who has been the bookies’ favourite since Xabi Alonso dispensed with constant rumours about his future by declaring his intentions to stay with Bayer Leverkusen.

If Liverpool are interested in Amorim, they would be rivalled by West Ham United for his services.

More: Liverpool | Jurgen Klopp’s replacement