Succession Plan: Could Graham Potter Follow Jurgen Klopp At Liverpool?

Steven Gerrard seems like the obvious choice when Klopp's contract expires in 2024, but Potter should be considered
09:35, 12 Mar 2022

When Liverpool visit Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday lunchtime, they will find a lot of commonality in approach. Both sides have clear ideas on the way football should be played. Both have coaches that have built the club in their respective image, while reaching icon status with the fanbase. Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter give the impression of being cut from the same cloth. It is this cloth that Liverpool may wish to return to if, as expected, Klopp leaves the club when his contract expires at the end of next season.

There is a feel of inevitability that club legend Steven Gerrard will take the Anfield helm when Klopp ends his glorious tenure on Merseyside. The club’s most prevalent modern great, ex-captain Gerrard now manages Aston Villa. The move over from Rangers, whom he steered to their first title in a decade, seemed to be at least partly motivated by a need to prove himself in the Premier League. 

Gerrard is the easy option. Klopp will be a tough act to follow, with perhaps only Pep Guardiola of Manchester City being as ingrained and successful at a European club currently. Bringing the former midfielder back to Anfield would buy the players and the management a grace period they would not get otherwise. But recent seasons have shown that bringing a club legend back home is not a formula for success. Particularly when there might just be a better match out there for Liverpool’s next phase. 

Graham Potter has done a sterling job at Brighton, turning them from relegation battlers to being in the running for their highest ever top flight finish. The Seagulls’ early season form saw them emerge as outsiders for a European place. While their form has since levelled itself out, Potter has still done brilliantly at a club with limited resources.

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His efforts have not gone unnoticed, and there have been links of varying veracity connecting him with Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Manchester United and Newcastle United this season. These teams have all experienced varying degrees of flux this season, which makes the fact Potter was quick to quiet any speculation understandable. But Liverpool have a clear structure in place, and it is a structure that would suit Potter’s skillset.

While the continental model of football management is gaining increasing prevalence in English football, with even long-term holdouts like Manchester United appointing football and Technical Directors in the past year. But Liverpool and Brighton were both early adopters of this method, at a time where there was still a jingoistic scepticism surrounding the idea. 

Potter worked under respected Technical Director Dan Ashworth for the majority of his spell on the south coast, and has thrived as part of a club with a clear remit on how the club is run. There has been a clear effort at Brighton over a number of years to provide a framework within which the coach can work. It is an approach familiar to Liverpool fans.

Michael Edwards has spent ten years at Liverpool, eventually moving up into the role of sporting director. His time in charge has taken in an period of huge success, with the Premier League and Champions League trophies finding their way into the Anfield cabinet. Similar to how Brighton work, having replaced Ashworth with assistant technical director David Weir, Liverpool have opted for a continuity appointment. Assistant Julian Ward will take over the big job in the summer, and is likely to be the man in the hot seat when the time comes to replace Klopp.

Klopp and Potter share an ability to thrive at a club that prides itself on its identity and holistic approach. Both play attractive, attacking football on the pitch. The two coaches share an ability to both excite and unite a fanbase. Liverpool’s eventual hiring of Steven Gerrard may feel like an inevitability, but a lot can happen in a year or two. If Klopp departs as expected in summer 2024, the Merseyside club could do a lot worse than look at Graham Potter to replace him.

Brighton/Liverpool Match Betting via Betfred

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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