Liverpool will not struggle once Jurgen Klopp leaves in the same way Manchester United did following Sir Alex Ferguson's exit, according to Stephen Warnock.

The Reds are still coming to terms with last week's announcement that Klopp is to depart Anfield at the end of the season, ending a hugely successful nine-year period at the club.

Parallels have been drawn to when Ferguson stepped down as United manager in 2013 and when Arsene Wenger left Arsenal five years later.

However, ex-Liverpool defender Warnock believes there is enough quality - and longevity - in the current squad to help the new manager pick up from where Klopp leaves off.

"There's a big narrative around filling people's shoes," Warnock told Stats Perform. "We look at Alex Ferguson, we look at Arsene Wenger, and we look at the replacements for them and go, 'Well, they didn't work.' 

"It's taken them years. People will argue Manchester United still haven't recovered from that, and they haven't got the appointments right. Some big, big names have gone in there. 

"But don't forget, Manchester United were on the decline. They were in a club that was always going to struggle. 

"When you actually sit back now and look at it, even a year away from what happened, you could have gone, 'Do you know what, [Ferguson] walked away at the right time'.

"That's completely different to what Liverpool are now. I'd say Arsenal were in a similar situation where the club behind the scenes wasn't in a great position."

Warnock believes the structure behind the scenes under Fenway Sports Group (FSG) will also help with the continuity, as long as the new manager can adapt to the owners' way of working.

"FSG are arguably one of the best-run football clubs in world football," said Warnock, who made 67 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions.

"Yes, they get the critics for not going out and spending £150 million on a player, but we don't hear Jurgen Klopp complaining about it. He totally understands why they work like that, what they do. 

"The next manager who comes in is going to have to understand their process, their logic behind the thinking, how they run as a football club. And they've got to buy into that straight away."

Klopp's coaching staff will also leave Anfield at the end of the campaign, while Jorg Schmadtke is to step down from his sporting director role later this week.

In the view of Warnock, that could prove to be the biggest challenge Klopp's successor faces - improving players who are not necessarily world-class when they arrive.

"One of the things that Jurgen Klopp did was improve players, him and his staff," he said. "They were a group of coaches who were able to improve players. 

"The next manager is also going to have to be a manager who brings in younger players who can improve those players and make them better. 

"I think what we often look at when we look at Jurgen Klopp and his recruitment and Michael Edwards and the team that was there was Liverpool never really bought. 

"People might argue and say Virgil van Dijk, but they never bought a world-class player. They made world-class players. And that's the remit behind the scenes for Liverpool, putting value into players."

Former Liverpool favourite Xabi Alonso is the frontrunner to take over from Klopp, having won many admirers at Bayer Leverkusen this season, while Roberto De Zerbi is another who has been regularly mentioned.

Warnock added: "You look at Alonso's record and you say 'phenomenal, absolutely incredible'. Then you look at De Zerbi.

"I think he's a manager who understands he works within the constraints of what Brighton do and they have a process of how they want to do things. He works within that.

"He never moans, he certainly improves players and the style of football is quite breathtaking at times."

Mohamed Salah will be the Liverpool player to watch as Jurgen Klopp leaves the club, with Stephen Warnock wondering if the superstar winger's sale might represent "an opportunity" in the Anfield rebuild.

Hugely popular Liverpool manager Klopp announced last week this season will be his last at Liverpool, departing after almost nine years on Merseyside.

Klopp's coaching staff are following him out of the club, while sporting director Jorg Schmadtke is to exit at the end of the January transfer window.

The shock announcement of Klopp's decision leaves Liverpool with lots to do before the next campaign, and calls may have to be made around some of the key men who have made the manager's tenure such a success.

For Warnock, who played for the Reds under Rafael Benitez, Salah's situation is particularly interesting.

The prolific winger has previously been linked with a move to the Saudi Pro League, and his contract expires in 2025.

"I think more so Salah than anyone," Warnock told Stats Perform. "Just because of the age, the Saudi interest... what does he now do?

"Who comes into the football club as manager? What do they see this position as? Do they think it's an opportunity to cash in and maybe rebuild a little bit more and add more quality to the quality that's already there?"

Liverpool might consider their options, but the same is true of Salah and his team-mates, who Warnock expects to be "absolutely devastated" by Klopp's announcement.

"There's not many more managers that you'd want to work for," he added. "If you could have a choice of managers to pick the phone up, he's in your top five, isn't he? Of managers in world football, arguably your top two.

"So, when you look at it like that from a player's point of view, they'll be absolutely devastated, because they know they're working with arguably one of the best managers in world football, then who comes in to replace him?"

That is a concern for the end of the season, though, and in the meantime, Liverpool have the opportunity to send Klopp out on a high as they pursue four trophies, including another Premier League title.

"There is a job to be done," Warnock said. "It's not a swansong and just a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. This is you going for a Premier League title.

"But you're also going up against top teams. You're going up against Manchester City, who've got arguably one of the best managers in world football and probably the best squad and team of players.

"So, there's a job at hand to do as well. Whether it inspires the team or not, we'll never know, because they were in the race anyway, but it might just give them that little extra boost that they need."

Jurgen Klopp must be considered as a Liverpool manager as great as the likes of Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly.

That is the opinion of former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, who was left shocked by the news that Klopp would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

Klopp confirmed in a video released via Liverpool's media channels on Friday that he would be calling time on his nine-year stint at Anfield.

In that time, Klopp has led Liverpool to a Premier League title, a Champions League crown, an FA Cup, EFL Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and Community Shield.

The Reds are top of the Premier League as it stands, and his tally of five major trophies ranks him fourth on the all-time list for Liverpool, after Shankly (six), Kenny Dalglish (six) and Paisley (13), with the Reds still competing for four competitions this season.

Klopp is the only Liverpool manager to win each of the top-flight, European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup, and EFL Cup with the club, meanwhile. 

And while Shankly and Paisley are considered as club legends, Warnock believes Klopp deserves to be ranked alongside them and the club's very best managers.

Warnock told Stats Perform: "Shankly and Paisley will go down as arguably the two biggest influencers of managers, Shankly more so than Paisley because of the way he transformed the club.

"But then Paisley's success on the pitch was second to none. It was quite remarkable what he did. You could also look at Dalglish's time as manager.

"But where Liverpool were and what they were doing when Jurgen came in, he goes into that table of greats, that pool of greats.

"There are some great managers for Liverpool over the years, but he goes into the top three, top four."


Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, and as well as winning almost every trophy available to him, has led Liverpool to multiple other finals.

The Reds have finished as Champions League runners-up twice, losing to Real Madrid in 2018 and 2022, while also pushing Pep Guardiola's Manchester City close in numerous Premier League title tussles.

And Warnock credits Klopp with not only revolutionising how Liverpool played, but also how teams in the Premier League followed suit.

"I think they were eighth in the league when he took over," Warnock said. "And people wondered how quickly he could have an effect on the team.

"Straight away, we saw that heavy metal football and the way he wanted to press. It was so different to what people had seen within the Premier League. 

"You start to see the changes in personnel and the way that the football club started to move forward as a whole."

Liverpool's ownership – FSG – have come under some criticism for a perceived lack of investment in the club, but Warnock believes Klopp unified everyone involved.

"He connected the team, the club, the ownership. I think he managed to be that guy, the glue of the club, and who held things together," Warnock added.

"That's a personality trait that we don't often talk about, a huge skill of his to be able to do that.

"But the only thing he will be judged on was success on the football pitch, and to win a Premier League title, Liverpool's first Premier League title, and the first league title after 30 years, was quite remarkable.

"That's what he set out to do. He achieved that. Probably not in ideal circumstances with the pandemic and not having the fans to be able to celebrate it with them, but the position they were in was quite incredible."

Warnock thinks Klopp might have seen the end of the season as the best possible way to go out on a high note, with Liverpool still in with a chance of Premier League glory.

"It's not often you see a manager walk away when the club's on an incline, when it's on the way up - because they are on the way up," he said.

"This is a Liverpool 2.0, as he's called them. And I think that's why it's surprising. They've re-energised him with this team, they gave him that buzz back of being the manager.

"That's what's surprising to everyone. But maybe he has just thought, 'This is the best way to go out!'"

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