The Reds head coach will step down from his role at Anfield at the end of the current season after eight-and-a-half years in charge. The news was announced on Friday, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso has already been heavily linked with the job.
However, Liverpool must get their next managerial appointment right if they want to build on Klopp’s success rather than start lagging behind their rivals.
The uncertainty on Merseyside has caused Van Dijk to question his future at the club.
The Dutch international has just 18 months left on his current contract and his recent comments suggest that he will not commit to a new deal just yet.
Following the Reds’ 5-2 FA Cup win over Norwich on Sunday, Van Dijk admitted: “That’s a big question. I don’t know,” when asked if he will remain at Anfield once Klopp departs.
“The club will have a big job on their hands, that is well known,” he continued.
“To replace not only the manager but the whole staff, there are so many things that will change.
“I’m very curious which direction that will go in but when that will be announced we will see our situation. I can’t say much about it. It will be the end of Klopp’s era and I am still part of it.
“That’s why I don’t like to talk about it. That is my main focus. We will see at the end of the season, hopefully we will have the success we all dream of and by then probably there will be more clarification about what the club wants for the future and then we will see.”
Although Van Dijk hasn’t revealed that he will be looking for a new club this summer, his comments suggest that an exit isn’t off the table.
As a result, FootballTransfers have used SciSports’ player comparison tool to list five players that Liverpool could sign to replace Van Dijk if he does leave, using the following stipulations.
– Under 25
– At least 100 SciSkill rating
– At least 80% similarity to Van Dijk
Nine players in world football fit that criteria and we have narrowed the list down to five potential Van Dijk successors.
Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)
Alessandro Bastoni has been linked with a Premier League move for several seasons, but he remains an Inter Milan player for now.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have both shown interest in the past, and Liverpool could pounce if Van Dijk leaves.
The Dutchman always plays on the left and while Bastoni appears settled at San Siro, the opportunity to join Liverpool could be one he finds hard to turn down.
Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)
Just like Van Dijk, Marc Guehi specialises as a right-footed centre back who tends to play on the left. The adaptation to life at Anfield would be fairly seamless in regards to his position as a result, and his form at Crystal Palace is deserving of a big move.
Liverpool have even been linked with the England international during the January transfer window and Guehi could be a prime candidate to replace Van Dijk.
Furthermore, he has worn the captain’s armband on numerous occasions for Palace and would be able to replace the leadership qualities lost by Van Dijk’s potential exit too.
Ronald Araujo (Barcelona)
Barcelona have set an €80 million asking price for Ronald Araujo, which may be out of Liverpool’s budget, but they spent a similar fee to sign Van Dijk from Southampton and could be inclined to splash the cash in order to acquire his replacement.
Araujo has been touted to leave Barca in recent weeks, amid interest from Man Utd and Bayern Munich, meaning an approach from Liverpool could persuade him to jump ship.
The Uruguayan’s one-vs-one ability is reminiscent of Van Dijk and he could help the Reds maintain their current style of play without worrying about a drop-off in quality at centre-back.
Jean-Clair Todibo (Nice)
Jean-Clair Todibo is one of the most sought-after defenders in world football and for good reason.
The Frenchman has recovered from a poor stint at Barcelona and he’s been one of the best centre-backs in Europe this term. Tottenham and Man Utd have both been linked, and Todibo seems destined to leave Nice this summer.
Todibo is brilliant on the ball and would be able to replicate Van Dijk’s quality in build-up as a result. Liverpool would be wise to pursue a move for Todibo, especially considering Nice are likely to sell in 2024.
Odilon Kossounou (Bayer Leverkusen)
With Alonso deemed the most likely candidate to take over at Anfield, signing one of his current stars would be a wise move and Odilon Kossounou fits the bill.
Liverpool are reportedly interested in his team-mate Piero Hincapie, but the Ecuadorian international is not a regular starter at Bayer Leverkusen, whereas Kossounou is.
The Ivorian has enjoyed a brilliant campaign so far and looks destined for a fantastic career at the top level if he can maintain his current form. Alonso may implement a back three if he joins Liverpool and that would suit Kossounou perfectly.