For Liverpool, queuing up a successor to Jurgen Klopp would be a “worry,” says Phil Thompson, but the achievements of Steven Gerrard at Rangers mean that he has a “fair chance” of treading a direction once taken by Graeme Souness.
When it comes to management transition, there is no urgent concern for those at Anfield.
Klopp, who led the club to triumphs in the Champions League and Premier League, is tied to a deal through to the summer of 2024.
The hope is that, before packing his bags on Merseyside, he will deliver even more awards, but the countdown to his imminent departure has begun.
It has been rumored for some time that Gerrard will be next in line, with an unprecedented Scottish Premiership title at Ibrox currently being hunted down by the former Liverpool captain.
Thompson expects the 40-year-old to be in the thoughts of the Reds, with Souness having proven that significant returns to Merseyside can be achieved after cutting coaching teeth in Glasgow, another ex-skipper at Anfield.
Thompson told Paddy Power’s podcast From The Horse’s Mouth, “If it was good enough for Graeme Souness to get his first managerial job at Rangers and then get Liverpool off the back of it, I would think that Steven has a decent chance of succeeding Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.”
“Rangers were in a good situation than they were under Stevie when Graeme went inside. And when Klopp signed the new contract, the next day, lo and behold, Stevie Gerrard signed a new contract with Rangers to the same year.”
“The thing about Stevie is that he took on a very tough job at Rangers. With the popularity of Celtic, it wasn’t easy to go there.”
“I was scared of him, because I felt they were so far behind that it would take between five and seven years before you could really change things. But Celtic got a little sloppy and Stevie was really good at recruiting.”
“So obviously, he is the one who comes to mind when it comes to the next manager of Liverpool. But he also had two years as a Liverpool youth coach, watching how Jurgen worked, how he coached and trained, so he had a clear insight into how Klopp does stuff, which would help him go forward, because if you came down here, you wouldn’t want to deviate too much.”
“Stevie asked me to have a word with his assistant, Tom Culshaw, who was going up to the Rangers with him before he started at Ibrox, and I told him, ‘Trust in Stevie, never let him down, never speak behind his back, not even if you don’t think he’s going to find out, you have to give him 100% trust, and he’s going to give you that back.’
“I’m afraid of Liverpool being under Klopp. I know we’ve still got the guy for a few more years. I never thought about bosses. They came and went, and I never really cared about them. We’ll either be over there or there.
“Since he gave us something extra special, I worry about us if and when Jurgen goes away. If Liverpool carries on, as I expect, winning trophies, it will be difficult to pursue Klopp.”
In the fight for domestic dominance in Scotland, though Gerrard led Rangers 19 points away from arch-rivals Celtic, Klopp saw his Liverpool side go three games without a win to enable the chasing pack of the Premier League to close in on the defending champions.