Could Mac Allister Play Role in Liverpool Managerial Hunt?

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Liverpool’s Managerial Search: Potential Candidates Emerge

The Prospects for Liverpool’s Next Manager Post-Klopp

As the managerial debates engulf the Liverpool FC gossip pages, the names being mentioned are very encouraging and consistent. Former Anfield player, Xabi Alonso, is the firm favourite to take over at the end of the season, given the affection he holds for his old club and the remarkable first full season being enjoyed at Bayer Leverkusen. Though a release clause appears not to have been inserted into the contract at his current post, the German side does seem to have a gentleman’s agreement with the Spaniard, that would be honoured if certain conditions were met. As a world-renowned footballer who excelled at Real Sociedad, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, the consensus is that if any of the 42-year-old former teams were to approach the Bundesliga side (for his managerial services), some form of release would be engineered. I suspect a fair compensation package would need to be negotiated, with the goodwill perhaps extending to future alliances between the respective clubs. To continually attract young and exciting coaches (and players), certain mid-level clubs must accept their place in the food chain and be willing to be that stepping stone to greater opportunities. Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are other examples of such an endeavour, which has in part been replicated by Brighton in the Premier League. It is Brighton & Hove Albion and their current manager that has me more intrigued than any other. After the ill-fated departure of Graham Potter (to Chelsea) 18 months ago, it was Roberto De Zerbi who took over the south coast seagulls, before guiding them up another footballing level entirely.

Roberto De Zerbi’s Impressive Track Record

Roberto De Zerbi
Age – 44 (DOB – 06/06/1979)
Current Club – Brighton
Appointed – September 2022

Previous Managerial Positions;
Shakhtar Donetsk – May 2021 – June 2022
Sassuolo – June 2018 – May 2021
Benevento- October 2017 – June 2018
Palermo – September 2016 – November 2016
Foggia – 2014 – 2016
Darfo Boario – 2013 – 2014

Brighton Statistics
Matches – 70
Won – 33
Drawn – 18
Lost – 19
Win Percentage – 47.14 (Career – 41.33)

After viewing Luton comfortably beat Brighton 0-4 on Tuesday night, many Liverpool supporters may be concerned to see De Zerbi’s name still mentioned as a potential Jürgen Klopp replacement. To limit one’s view to those individual games, would be shortsighted and misleading. The former attacking midfielder and footballing journeyman remains a revolutionary coach who has transformed a mid-table team into an exciting and expansive entity. His track relevant track record is close to exemplary, and he has the determination to succeed. This is a manager that has lost the following key players since was appointed by Tony Bloom in September 2022, which does not include those that left in the summer just before his arrival.

Moisés Caicedo – Summer 2023 – Chelsea
Alexis Mac Allister – Summer 2023 – Liverpool
Robert Sánchez – Summer 2023 – Chelsea
Leandro Trossard – Winter 2023 – Arsenal
Enock Mwepu – Retired

For any club to lose that amount of key assets over two transfer windows and still sit 8th in the Premier League (above Manchester United and Chelsea), is astonishing. The style and approach of the overachievers are also completely different from that which was incorporated under Potter, which allows insight into the desired brand of exciting football. With a limited squad and a frenetic fixture list, the side of the former Sassuolo boss will always lose certain games (for more vulnerable teams) given the patterns of play and lack of real defensive brilliance needed to maximise his ideals. At Liverpool, the Italian manager would walk into an environment that has Alisson Becker, Ibrahima Konaté, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Jarell Quansah. These superb defensive players are merely part of a brilliant squad, that would take the former Napoli player’s methods to completely different levels. To marginalize and pick fault when the deck is so heavily stacked against the man, is ignorant to his obvious talents.

De Zerbi’s Connection with Mac Allister

The one advantage that the 44-year-old may hold over Xabi Alonso, Rúben Amorim, and Zinedine Zidane, is that he was the first team coach to Alexis Mac Allister before the Argentina World Cup winner moved to Merseyside in the summer of 2023. His elevation was in part due to the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi, who built a bespoke system designed to get the best out of key individuals. The new Liverpool number 10 was absolutely part of what was best about Brighton last season, who outplayed Liverpool in all their encounters. I can imagine that any managerial search may see senior players brought into discussions, to gather all views ahead of a decision that could shape the next ten years of the club. In that instance, the current BHA manager may have someone who would love to play under him once more and push his chances of becoming the next Liverpool manager.

Steven Smith

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