Last week, Klopp sent shockwaves around the footballing world with his announcement confirming that he will step down as Liverpool’s head coach in the summer after nine trophy-laden years at the top.
Klopp will go down as an all-time Liverpool great after steering the Reds to six major trophies across his tenure – including the Champions League and the Premier League – and the 56-year-old will be desperate to add to this tally when he bows out at the end of the season.
It leaves enormous shoes to fill in the Liverpool dugout and work is now underway to find a successor to the former Borussia Dortmund boss, with Xabi Alonso the bookmakers’ favourite to take over the reins after a barnstorming start to life in management at Bayer Leverkusen.
Carragher believes Alonso has all the credentials to succeed on Merseyside but knows it will be no mean feat given the extraordinary job Klopp has done in transforming the club’s fortunes to compete with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Speaking on The Overlap, Carragher also explained just how highly former Manchester United boss Ferguson rated Klopp when the German took over from Brendan Rodgers eight-and-a-half years ago.
‘I’m not sure you can replace him. The big thing about Klopp is, I’ve seen him in private at times, or little meetings, and he is exactly what you see on TV – it’s not an act, it is him,’ the ex-Liverpool and England defender said.
‘Whoever comes in must be themselves – they can’t be Jurgen Klopp.
‘I always go back to a testimonial at Manchester United, I think it was for Michael Carrick. I was playing in it, and Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager of one of the teams and he was coming round the dressing room. Klopp had been announced as Liverpool manager two weeks before, and he said to me “You’ve got a manager”.
‘It was to do with those UEFA meetings, when all the top managers in Europe come together. He is just being himself – he was only at Borussia Dortmund then.
‘I always remember when Klopp came on Monday Night Football, and I asked him about these meetings. He said he only went twice, he said “I just wanted to check if I was as good as them, and I was, so I didn’t need to go again!”
‘I thought he was very confident, very comfortable in his own skin.
‘He’s a god in Liverpool – who knows what’s going to happen this season. When I got the news, I couldn’t process it!’
Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann agrees with Carragher that Alonso is the outstanding candidate to take over from Klopp in the summer, though hopes to see the Spaniard stay on for another season at Leverkusen.
‘Well, the story coming out of Leverkusen, he extended his contract earlier in the season but I’m sure they’ve got an agreement so that if he wants to leave in the summer, he can go,’ Hamann told The Stand with Eamon Dunphy podcast.
‘As a football romantic, I would love to see him do another season at Leverkusen.
‘But the problem might be, can they keep the team together? They’ve got some outstanding players and I think one or two will leave which obviously will harm their chances next season.
‘I think if Liverpool come calling, I think it’s very hard to turn down, even though he follows in Klopp’s footsteps. But the thing is, sometimes the big clubs, they only come once.
‘If somebody comes in in the summer and does well, the job might not be on offer for five or six years, or maybe nine years if they find another Klopp. So, I think if Liverpool come calling, I think he’ll take it.’
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