Gary O’Neil Liverpool ties explained after claims of ‘interview’ for new manager job

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil is among the possible contenders to take over at Liverpool, with claims that he has even been interviewed for the job.

Xabi Alonso and Julian Nagelsmann ruled out, Ruben Amorim unlikely, Arne Slot now the bookies’ favourite.

The Liverpool manager search is proving less straightforward than supporters and perhaps even those within the club would have hoped.

It has now been claimed – via DaveOCKOP, rather than the usual sources – that Wolves manager O’Neil has been interviewed as a potential candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp.

UPDATE: This Is Anfield understands O’Neil is NOT in the running for the new manager job. Full update here.

This comes amid a difficult campaign for Wolves, with a crippling injury situation throughout, in which he has led his side to 11th.

Prior to that, O’Neil gained a positive reputation for his work at Bournemouth, having initially stepped up as interim manager before earning the job permanently.

Coaching at Liverpool

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 21, 2020: Liverpool's assistant coach Gary O'Neil during the pre-match warm-up before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Southampton FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. The game ended in a goalless draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Before that, he cut his teeth as a coach with Liverpool U21s, becoming assistant manager to Barry Lewtas at the start of 2020/21.

O’Neil only spent six months on Merseyside before switching to Middlesbrough as part of Jonathan Woodgate’s backroom staff, but his ties to Liverpool run deeper.

Speculation over O’Neil possibly coming into contention for the job at Anfield have largely come from his connections to those off the pitch.

A former team-mate of Richard Hughes at Portsmouth, O’Neil was among those to grow close to Michael Edwards in his role as analyst for Harry Redknapp’s side.

Edwards returns in the role of Fenway Sports Group’s CEO of Football, and has already brought in Hughes as sporting director and David Woodfine, another who worked at Portsmouth at the time, rejoining as assistant sporting director.

Ties to Edwards and Co.

Portsmouth, England: Saturday, April 28, 2007: Liverpool's Xabi Alonso and Portsmouth's Gary O'Neil during the Premiership match at Fratton Park (Pic by Chris Ratcliffe/Propaganda)

They will lead the recruitment process when it comes to Klopp’s successor, and that would at least explain the links to O’Neil.

Whether there is truth to rumours of an interview to take over as Liverpool manager is unclear, though there is already evidence of Edwards bringing in those he trusts and has worked with previously.

It should be noted that Hughes, in his role at technical director at Bournemouth, presided over O’Neil’s controversial sacking in 2023 – but it is maintained the decision was taken by the club’s owners.

Given the assertion, via The Athletic’s David Ornstein, that the powers that be at Anfield are prepared to be “brave over popular” when it comes to their appointment, it could spark concerns over the Wolves boss arriving this summer.

Only time will tell on that front, with there at least a suspicion that many of these reports will serve as a smokescreen for the eventual hire.

UPDATE: This Is Anfield understands O’Neil is NOT in the running for the new manager job. Full update here.