2T6YXJ1 Lisbon, 12/11/2023 - Sport Lisboa e Benfica hosted Sporting Clube de Portugal this evening at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, in a game counting for the eleventh round of the Primeira Liga 2023/24. Ruben Amorim (Pedro Rocha / Global Imagens) Credit: Susana Jorge/Alamy Live News

Former Liverpool defender ‘knows Ruben Amorim well’ – would be “major signing”

Former Liverpool defender Abel Xavier has spoken glowingly over managerial target Ruben Amorim, whom he worked closely with when working towards their UEFA coaching badges.

The club are denying any reports stating a deal has been agreed with the Sporting manager, but he is currently considered the leading candidate after Xabi Alonso dropped out of the race.

At 39 and having only managed clubs in Portugal, Amorim has been an unknown quantity for many, and any testimony to what he could offer Liverpool proves intriguing.

And Xavier, who played 21 games for Liverpool and became the 75th Red to score on debut, knows his national compatriot well and described him as a potential “major signing” for the post-Klopp era.

He told the BBC: “I know him very well. We finished the professional [UEFA coaching] license course together and Ruben impressed me a lot. He is very humble, discreet and has a very clear mentality.

“Liverpool’s philosophy was never signing the best players in the world. They can afford it, but if you saw under Klopp, they want to have the best collective team in the world.

“I think Ruben’s approach is very similar. I played at Liverpool, and I know the exact mentality and identity.

“With a lot of respect to Sporting Lisbon, I would like to see Ruben Amorim at Liverpool, and I think he will be a major signing considering the importance of finding the correct person after Klopp.”

Similar Klopp qualities

At Sporting, Amorim has won one league title and two Taca da Ligas, and he is on track to lift both again this season – and he’s already said he “can’t guarantee that I’ll stay” beyond the summer.

The Portuguese has brought success back to the club, and Xavier’s explanations of his strengths are not too dissimilar to what Klopp injected at Anfield.

Xavier said of his success: “In the beginning, there is a president who believed in him. He came from Braga. At Braga, we saw an immediate impact because with the same squad, with the same players, he transformed the team.

“He changed the dynamic and he created empathy – and, of course, a big club like Sporting Lisbon paid to have him.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 21, 2022: Liverpool's Abel Xavier during the pre-match warm-up before the MUFC Foundation friendly 'Legends of the North' match between Manchester United FC Legends and Liverpool FC Legends at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The first thing this president said was: ‘We believe the money I’m paying for Ruben Amorim is going to prevail and he’s going to create value in the youth development players and also get results’. And he was correct.

“Ruben is the type of coach who must be integrated in the structure with decision-making people. He likes to be involved in the decisions.

“We are not talking about [financially], but the profile of the players.”