No Covid suspension for Premier League – reports
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Steven Gerrard would likely face tough competition for the Liverpool job in 2024 when the club will have the daunting task of replacing Jurgen Klopp as manager. The Reds icon will undoubtedly be in the picture, given his legacy at Anfield and success in coaching so far, but there could be an internal frontrunner for the role.
Pep Lijnders, 38, is a highly-rated coach whose reputation has skyrocketed since arriving at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers in 2014.
He’s been central to helping the club’s academy players transition into senior football and has a huge admirer in Klopp.
In 2018, he became the German boss’ assistant at Anfield, and now his role even entails taking press conferences for Carabao Cup games.
Given his current responsibilities, and by the time 2024 rolls around, he will have been at Liverpool for a decade, Lijnders seems the natural choice to succeed Klopp.
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And ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final against Leicester City, Lijnders admitted that he plans to become a manager “when the time comes”.
He told reporters: “That’s the plan [to become a manager], it is the plan, yeah.
“You asked management, and Jurgen knows this. But this is not the time to speak about these things because I have a contract until 2024, and we are in the middle of this project this beautiful project.
“When the time comes, I will sit down with my management and I will see the options I have, and after that we will decide. So definitely, that’s the plan.
“Liverpool manager? I just responded to that. This is not the moment to speak about these things.
“I will sit down with my management in 2024 and then we will see all the options that are on the table.”
Liverpool’s owners’ desire to maintain consistency in the club’s analytical approach that has worked wonders in recent years will also play into his favour during their next manager search.
But Gerrard will want to force himself into their thinking by enjoying a successful stint as Aston Villa manager.
After guiding Rangers to their first Scottish Premiership in 10 years last season, Gerrard replaced Dean Smith as Villa boss in November.
He’s made an applaudable start to life in the Midlands, ending the club’s barren run of five straight defeats under Smith by winning four of his opening six in charge – with two one-goal losses coming to Manchester City and Liverpool.
If Gerrard can progress Villa and flaunt his abilities in the next three seasons, his boyhood club will undoubtedly consider him for their managerial position.
But Lijnders is an incredibly strong candidate, and he may make Gerrard wait a little longer for his dream job.
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