Former Liverpool star Glen Johnson has voiced concern that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah could follow Jurgen Klopp and leave Anfield if the German manager’s replacement is unable to quickly replicate his predecessor’s success.
The 56-year-old sent shockwaves through the footballing world last month with the surprise announcement that he would be quitting the club after nine trophy-ladened years on Merseyside.
Citing the feeling that he was ‘running out of energy’, Klopp shared that after telling the Liverpool hierarchy of his decision in November, he will leave the club at the end of the current season.
While the side are preparing to give Klopp a send-off to remember as they continue to challenge across all competitions – and sit atop the Premier League table – there are fears that a number of top players could yet decide to follow their manager and leave the club.
Johnson drew attention to the fact that both Alexander-Arnold and Salah have less than 18 months left on their contracts, and if new deals are not reached between Liverpool and their lynchpin players, they could be free to discuss potential transfers with other clubs as soon as January 2025.
Jurgen Klopp’s shock Liverpool exit could yet see a number of top players follow his lead
Both Mohamed Salah (left) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) have less than 18 months left on their deals
Former Red Glen Johnson voiced concern that a number of top clubs would be keen to snap up the two talents
Your browser does not support iframes.
‘Let’s be real, who’s not going to take Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah on the cheap,’ Johnson told the Sun. ‘I don’t believe we’ll see a big exodus at Liverpool this summer if the contract situations don’t get sorted now – which they won’t do because the players are going to want to know what’s going on.
‘If they have a bad start to next season, then a year from now we will be discussing about them having six months left on their contracts. If that happens, Liverpool will be in trouble because Trent and Mo can attract interest from any club they want.
‘They don’t have to take a risk and, if Liverpool have a bad season following Jurgen’s departure, then we could potentially see an exodus.’
The former defender – who made over 200 appearances for the Reds during his six years at the club – added that Liverpool should look to secure an eye-catching manager as early as possible ahead of the next transfer window.
f Liverpool try and sign a top player in the summer, they will want to know who is replacing Jurgen?
‘Jurgen pulls people in and Jose Mourinho did the same thing. They’re examples of managers that top players want to play for.
Klopp has a particularly strong connection with the two players and his replacement will have to hit the ground running to convince them of the new era
‘You need to excite the players to encourage them to move to Liverpool. The club is a huge draw for players in its own right. But knowing who the manager is, is also very important.’
The name linked most frequently with the vacant position is another former Liverpool icon, Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso.
The ex-Bayern Munich and Real Madrid midfielder is enjoying an impressive season with the Bundesliga side, who he has been working with since October 2022.
Leverkusen sit two points clear at the top of the German top flight and are unbeaten in the league since the start of the season.
On Tuesday, they sealed a spot in the semi-final of the German Cup after beating Stuttgart 3-2, and last year qualified top of their group to progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Reports in France this week claimed that Alonso was contacted in November about taking over at his former club, despite publicly stressing that he has full focus on this season with Leverkusen.
Johnson said that Alonso would ‘certainly be a good choice’, but added that the ‘right choice’ for the club remained to be seen.
Xabi Alonso has been tipped to take over at Anfield amid blistering run with Bayer Leverkusen
The former Liverpool midfielder would likely be given ‘more time’ by the fans due to his connection with the club
‘He’s doing a fantastic job at Bayer Leverkusen and he has got the minerals for it. But the right choice is something that nobody knows right now,’ the former England international continued.
‘Whichever manager comes next is going to be in for a super-hard job and they’re going to need time. Any manager that goes in next is essentially putting their head in a guillotine.
‘Being a legend of the club and a fans’ favourite will mean that Xabi’s given time – which doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to be successful.
‘But the fans will have more patience with him and give him more leeway than they would with a manager that doesn’t already have an affiliation with the club.’