Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp replacement has already argued with 'incredible' Anfield ace

Roberto De Zerbi is being tipped as a potential Jurgen Klopp replacement, and if he is given the Anfield job, the Italian will have already come to blows with one Liverpool ace. The current Brighton & Hove Albion boss has impressed since arriving in the Premier League, with De Zerbi considered one of the most likely candidates to take over from Klopp this summer.

Following news that front-runner Xabi Alonso had committed his future to Bayer Leverkusen for another season at least, attention switched to who might take the reins from Klopp when the legendary coach departs Anfield. Naturally, given his splendid work with Premier League overachievers Brighton, De Zerbi’s name was thrown into the mix.

While there’s still plenty to sort out between now and the end of the season, should De Zerbi be appointed as Klopp’s successor, the Brighton chief will already be acquainted with Liverpool star Alexis Mac Allister. The 2022 World Cup winner spent last season working with De Zerbi, but the 44-year-old has previously spoken about an argument he had with Mac Allister over the midfielder’s playing time.

Speaking to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier in the campaign, De Zerbi said: “Before a match with Newcastle [last season], I told him: ‘Alex, you need to rest tomorrow, so you’ll go on the bench.’ He replied: ‘If you want to lose, make me rest.’”

He added: “I hit back smiling and saying: ‘I am surely not second to you in terms of personality, now go out of my office.’ The following day, he was on the bench. We suffered a heavy defeat, but we had been playing three games a week and the lad had a physical problem.”

Of course, the decision to bench Mac Allister was for the greater good, with the pair having shared a strong relationship at Brighton. The Argentine played 34 times under De Zerbi last season, with Mac Allister’s showings for the Seagulls earning him a £35million move to Liverpool. And since arriving in Merseyside, his game has gone to another level.

So much so, both Klopp and De Zerbi hailed the midfield maestro following Liverpool’s weekend win over Brighton, with the latter saying post-match: “I think he became a great, great player. The assist for the second goal was incredible. I’m happy, I’m proud for him because I worked with him, he deserves to be an important player in a big team.”

With Klopp adding: “I saw a lot of special performances today. Yes, Macca was incredible, absolutely incredible. But when you have that kind of talent, when you have that kind of character, then you should show that. That is Macca, he can do that so do it.”

Mac Allister has stepped up in the big moments for Liverpool this term, with his arrival considered one of the signings of the Premier League season. And while Klopp’s departure brings about the end of one era, the emergence of Mac Allister as Liverpool’s go-to midfielder could represent the start of an illustrious Anfield career.


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