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Why Liverpool can have success after Jurgen Klopp – like Barcelona after Pep Guardiola


Pepijn Lijnders has compared the task of replacing Jurgen Klopp this summer to the situations faced by Liverpool and Barcelona upon losing Bill Shankly and Pep Guardiola.

But the Reds assistant boss is convinced that Fenway Sports Group are capable of making the right decisions to ensure a successful transition into a new era.

Klopp will call time on a near-nine-year stint at Anfield this summer, prompting fears among fans that a difficult, less trophy-laden period awaits.

However, Lijnders has insisted it is more than possible to replace a club legend, and cited examples from both Liverpool’s history and that of Barcelona recovering from the loss of Guardiola, among others.

He said: “No one can replace Jurgen Klopp, no? I think the past showed already a few difficult transitions and what was the most difficult transition in this club? Shankly saying ‘that’s me’ and then Paisley stepped up.

G67ADK Hands across the FA Cup as new Liverpool manager Bobby Paisley (left) receives the good wishes of club chairman John Smith (centre) and retiring manager Bill Shankly after his appointment had been announced at the club's AGM. Paisley, a former Liverpool wing-half, has been Shankley's assistant for three years. July 1974. (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

“What I’m trying to say is that Paisley was completely different than Shanks.

“It shows that we as a club have to search for someone who wants to grow, has the mindset to develop, but it’s not for us, that owners can make good decisions about that.

“I think we did the right thing by announcing early so the club has real time to make this transition smooth, but the past already showed that it’s really possible.

“The best team, say the Guardiola team of Barca, he says out of nowhere ‘that’s me’, and then Tito [Vilanova] took over and has the highest win ratio ever. That was probably the most difficult transition in the last 15 years.”

Guardiola won 14 trophies with Barcelona over four seasons, but the Catalan giants did not falter after his departure.

Vilanova won the league in his first and only season, and a further five LaLiga titles have followed in the last 10 campaigns – in addition to domestic and European trophies.

Lijnders added: “I was at Porto when Villas-Boas won four trophies, the Europa League in Dublin, a championship away at Benfica, and then Vitor Pereira took over.

“Vitor was completely different to Andre and became champion the year after and, for Porto, that year was the biggest year ever.

“What I’m trying to say is that they don’t have to replace Jurgen, they have to find a good, good manager, because nobody will replace Jurgen.”

Liverpool certainly have a positive experience replacing the irreplaceable following on from Shankly’s shock departure, though, with Paisley going on to lift 20 honours in nine seasons.