“Ready for any job” – Why Roberto De Zerbi is on new Liverpool manager shortlist

Though Xabi Alonso is the overriding favourite to become next Liverpool manager, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi is another convincing candidate. We find out why.

Since the announcement that Jurgen Klopp will be stepping down from his position at the end of the season, speculation has been ongoing over his successor.

Liverpool began the process in November, when Klopp first told Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon he would leave, and a number of candidates have already been drawn up.

Among those are Alonso and De Zerbi, who have been presented as the most realistic successors to a truly legendary manager.

Many now seem to be all-in on Alonso as the next Liverpool manager, but there is no guarantee the Spaniard will take over – and there is another prominent option over at the AMEX.

This Is Anfield spoke to Albion Obsessed (@AlbionObsessed) to learn more about De Zerbi’s work at Brighton – and whether he is ready to step up to become Liverpool manager.


Firstly, should De Zerbi be among the candidates for Liverpool?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi before the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

My Albion side says no, because of course I’d love him to stay at this club for a very long time and build on the success he’s already achieved with us in the last year-and-a-half.

The realistic side of me says yes.

De Zerbi has all the makings of an elite coach, all you need to do is look up what those who work closely with him have said about his standards.

The guy lives and breathes football, it is his obsession. If I was Liverpool he would be right at the top of my shortlist.


What can you tell us about his style of play? How does it compare to Klopp’s Liverpool?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 14, 2023: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

De Zerbi football is high risk, high reward.

Possibly high risk at the moment given we don’t have a defensive midfielder who can plug the gap that Moises Caicedo left when he left for Chelsea last summer.

I think, if he was to get the Liverpool job, it would be a style of football the Liverpool players would really enjoy to play.

It’s similar in the sense that in the majority of Liverpool’s games, you see the majority of possession, but I think there would be an increase of tempo and pressing that the Liverpool players would need to adjust to.


Does he get involved in transfers or would he be more of a ‘head coach’?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 1, 2022: Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He certainly has a say.

He’s mentioned in a lot of press conferences that the club ‘know his idea’ with regards the players he feels he needs to push this group of players to the next level.

He played a very vital role in the loan signing of Ansu Fati. He seems to sell the club and the project very well.

I’m not sure he would need to do much selling with regards players coming to Liverpool, but it’s clear to see the respect the Italian has within the game.

Players would be extremely excited to play under him.


How about his man-management?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Brighton & Hove Albion's manager Roberto De Zerbi speak after the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

De Zerbi doesn’t stand for any bad eggs, that’s for sure. A few examples being Leandro Trossard and Robert Sanchez.

Before Leandro’s move to Arsenal last January, there were reports of a few run-ins with Roberto and the rest of the squad.

He wanted his move so bad that he decided to leave for Belgium and go on strike until the deal was done. I think De Zerbi was relieved he was kept away.

Robert Sanchez, very much a similar situation. He was dropped for Jason Steele and after a few weeks decided that he wouldn’t play for the club again.

For the latter part of the season he was kept away, whilst we clinched European football for the first time in our history.

As soon as De Zerbi gets the sense that a player doesn’t want to play for the club anymore, they’re gone.


A lot of the Liverpool job is how a manager speaks, so is De Zerbi a PR man or more of a Klopp type?

Roberto certainly hasn’t watched his mouth a few times during his tenure.

He’s had his say on the officials, and doesn’t seem to hold back. He is also very honest with the press about his relationship with his players.

He will always give his honest opinion about where players are at with regards their form, progress and potential.

Many times he has mentioned what players can improve even if it seems, at least from a fan’s perspective, that said player has had a near-perfect game.

One of my favourite things that has come from De Zerbi’s straight talking is a fans chant of “De Zerbi’s right, the refs are shite.”


Finally – is he ready for the Liverpool job?

New Brighton and Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi during the press conference at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, Brighton. Picture date: Tuesday September 20, 2022. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

I think he’s ready for any job in world football.

So many have spoken about De Zerbi as the natural successor to Pep Guardiola when he moves on from Manchester City, which is a huge testament to the job he has done for us.

As I said at the beginning, I truly hope he stays with us for a long time, but I know that’s not how football works, especially at a club outside of the ‘big six’.

• Thanks again to Albion Obsessed for their insight on Roberto De Zerbi. Follow Albion Obsessed on Twitter @AlbionObsessed and subscribe to their YouTube channel.