Our football ambassador Phil Thompson was the latest guest on Monday’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, with the Liverpool legend taking time out of his busy schedule for an in-depth chat with Paddy Power and Ruby Walsh.
In particular, the former Reds defender gave his expert opinion on who is best-placed to take the reins once Jurgen Klopp leaves Anfield – and it’s no surprise that Rangers boss and Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard is Thommo’s leading candidate after his stellar job north of the border.
Gerrard’s men ran out 1-0 winners in the latest Old Firm clash with Celtic on Saturday, which maintained the Gers’ unbeaten record in the Scottish Premiership this season and stretched their lead at the top of the table to 19 points as they hunt for their first top-flight title since 2011.
If coming down from a first managerial appointment at Rangers to Liverpool was good enough for Graeme Souness, I would think Steven Gerrard has a fair chance of taking over after Jurgen Klopp leaves. And Rangers were in a better position when Graeme Souness went in there than where they were at the start under Stevie.
But I do fear for our time after Klopp. I know we’ve got a few more years, and when he signed that new contract with Liverpool… lo and behold, the day after Stevie Gerrard then signed a new contract with Rangers which ends the same year as Jurgen Klopp’s contract.
I was chatting with one of my sons the other day, who is nearly 30, and he said he’s never really thought about or worried about Liverpool managers who have come and gone. He has always thought “we’ll be there or thereabouts”. But I am worried about when Jurgen does go because he’s given us something extra-special.
Stevie took on a very difficult job at Rangers. It wasn’t easy going up there, considering the success of Celtic, and I think that he’s made a better job than I expected.
I feared for him because I thought they were so far behind Celtic that it would take five to seven years before you could change things around. But Celtic got a bit sloppy and I think Stevie has recruited very, very well.
He’s the obvious successor that comes to mind and he also had two years as a youth coach at Liverpool, watching how Jurgen worked, coached and trained. He had a good insight into how Jurgen does things and that will help him going forward.
Because you would not like to deviate too much from what we have now, if Gerrard does come down here. It is the most difficult time to take over, particularly if Liverpool carry on winning trophies as I hope.
Sir Alex Ferguson got it just right when he left Manchester United. He bought Robin van Persie, at the age of 30, paying £25million just to win that title before he walked out.
That was an ageing team, and it was a little bit like when Kenny Dalglish left Liverpool and Graeme Souness came in. It was a hard act to follow, but David Moyes had to take the job.
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