Liverpool ‘leading candidate’ leans towards exit with Prem boss ruled out despite ‘interview’ claim

Lewis Oldham
Slot Liverpool
Arne Slot is being linked with Liverpool.

According to reports, Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot has emerged as the new ‘leading candidate’ to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The Premier League giants are searching for a new manager as Klopp announced in January that this would be his final season as their head coach.

Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso initially emerged as the overwhelming favourite to replace Klopp at Liverpool but he has committed his future to the new Bundesliga champions for at least one more season.

Following this announcement, Sporting Lisbon head coach Ruben Amorim became the favourite to succeed Klopp with his current side on the brink of winning the Primeira Liga title in Portugal.

Amorim felt like a good fit as his attack-minded philosophy aligns with Klopp’s approach at Liverpool, but respected journalist David Ornstein revealed earlier this week that the Premier League outfit are ‘unlikely’ to appoint the 39-year-old, who has also been in contact with West Ham.

Slot to Liverpool?

Trusted Liverpool journalist Paul Joyce provided a major update for The Times on Tuesday afternoon. He is of the understanding that Feyenoord boss ‘Slot has emerged as a leading candidate in Liverpool’s search for a replacement for Klopp’.

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While Liverpool were turned down by Alonso, they are more likely to land Slot as he is ‘minded to take the next step in his coaching career even if his contract does not expire until 2026’.

‘Slot’s ability to improve players and his aggressive, high-octane playing style are attributes that would appeal to Liverpool’s kingmakers.

‘His Anfield ascension is far from a done deal and Liverpool are continuing to discuss other contenders as well, while managerial vacancies at Bayern Munich, Barcelona and AC Milan this summer complicate matters.

‘There is no release clause in that deal but it is thought a fee of less than €10 million euros (about £8.6 million) could be enough to prise him away.’

This news emerged after Liverpool reporter DaveOCKOP claimed Wolves manager Gary O’Neil ‘has been interviewed for the Liverpool job.’

He added: ‘Despite being interviewed for the role, it does not mean that O’Neil is the favourite and/or it’s definite that he will take over from Jurgen Klopp. As many have reported, the Liverpool hierarchy are looking at a range of possibilities and O’Neil is now clearly one of the names in the hat.

‘Whether that moves beyond an initial interview remains to be seen.’

This has been refuted by The Athletic‘s James Pearce, though. On Tuesday afternoon, he tweeted: “Gary O’Neil is not under consideration for the #LFC job.”

READ MORE: Why the West Ham job is a better bet than Liverpool for your Amorims and Fonsecas

Slot was heavily linked with Spurs ahead of this season but he ended up committing his future to Feyenoord. These reports came about after the 45-year-old guided the Dutch outfit to their first Eredivisie title since 2017.

His Feyenoord side are currently second in the Eredivisie table and they clinched the KNVB Cup at the weekend by beating NEC Nijmegen 1-0 in the final.

Regarding Liverpool’s interest in Slot, Sky Sports’ Melissa Reddy said: “Arne Slot is at the forefront of Liverpool’s search for a replacement for Jurgen Klopp, with the Feyenoord head coach ticking all their key criteria for the position.

“Sky Sports News understands that the process is not a foregone conclusion with the Eredivisie club determined to keep him, as well as interest from other top clubs, but the 45-year-old is a strong candidate.

“Liverpool are still in dialogue with several options.”