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Liverpool £17m candidate to replace Klopp is highly rated by Guardiola | Football | Sport

One of the potential candidates for Liverpool to replace Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season is admired by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Sporting’s Ruben Amorim is one of the most exciting young coaches in Europe and will be in the pool of options as the Reds look to find a successor for Klopp.

The Merseyside giants are scouring for a coach who can help ensure they remain a major player in the Premier League and in the Champions League, to which they will almost certainly return next season. Amorim fits the bill of being a successful young coach who utilises a dynamic attack-minded approach. His Sporting side, captained by former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates, are by some margin the highest scorers in Liga Portugal right now.

Since his appointment in March 2020, Amorim – who won the Taca da Liga (AKA the Portuguese League Cup) in a short spell with Braga before taking the Sporting job – has worked wonders. He delivered their first league title in 19 years in 2020-21 and won the League Cup the same season, retaining it the following year.

After taking the Lions to just their second ever Champions League last 16 berth in 2021-22, the man with a near 70 per cent win percentage is eyeing another league and cup double this term with the Taca de Portugal. Still only 39, Amorim has generated a lot of hype and excitement during his time in Lisbon.

The coach, who shares an agent with Luis Diaz, has even been given the seal of approval from City tactician Guardiola. The Catalan said in February last year: “From my point of view, their coach is one of the best at the moment.”

So highly regarded is Amorim, though, that it would cost £17million to get him out of his Sporting contract which runs until 2026. He cost Sporting £8m when they robbed him from Braga four years ago. And he was labelled “one of the best coaches in the world” by club president Frederico Varandas when he extended his deal in late 2022.

Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha say Amorim’s release clause is not a sticking point for Liverpool. But other reports from his home country say that the coach has no ambition to discuss taking another job until the current season is complete.

It is unclear what that will mean as Liverpool look to line up a new manager in anticipation of Klopp leaving. Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso – a former midfielder at Liverpool – is another strong candidate with Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi and Julian Nagelsmann the current Germany head coach other fancied contenders.

But Amorim has already confirmed if Sporting don’t win the league this season, he will walk away – making the £17m clause redundant. “If we don’t win titles, I will leave on my own. Two years in a row without winning cannot happen to a team like Sporting,” he said, despite the club’s lengthy title drought before his arrival.

That kind of mentality will appeal to the Anfield decision-makers, as will his dominant attacking style of play. Though he uses a 3-4-3 formation, it emphasises high-pressing and stamping an authority over the opponents. The fact he is also regarded as a strong communicator is another huge tick against his name.

Having a powerful personality and a strong leader could go some way to filling the chasmic void left by Klopp’s departure. Braga’s head of recruitment Paulo Meneses told The Athletic of Amorim two years ago: “Ruben is destined to join a top club in the ‘Big Five’ leagues. It will have to be an ambitious project.

“He is an extremely ambitious coach. There will be nothing to excite him other than the ambition to win big trophies. Due to the leadership he demonstrates and the quality with which he works, I have no doubt that he will be an unavoidable name in European football in the coming years.” Maybe, just maybe, it will be with Liverpool where he makes his name a household one.

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