The Blaugrana coach has come in for severe criticism following the team’s 4-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, and with his contract up in the summer, speculation is rife over a possible exit. According to John Richardson of the Sunday Mirror, Klopp is on the club’s shortlist of replacements.
“Klopp has his admirers within the Camp Nou, especially for his work at Borussia Dortmund,” the piece continued. “The German is a huge fan of Barcelona’s football and took his Liverpool players to watch Barca’s Champions League game against Borussia Monchengladbach in December.”
According to Richardson, Klopp is on an “extensive list” of candidates, which also includes Everton manager Ronald Koeman, who is a legendary figure in Catalonia having excelled as a player with the club.
“Koeman is the favoured option if Barcelona go down the route of recruiting a former playing hero to become their coach,” it’s noted.
Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015 and has been a big hit at Anfield.
The German has a reputation as one of the best managers in world football, something that was forged primarily during his time as Dortmund. He guided the team to two Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League final in 2013.
Additionally, Klopp endears himself to plenty with his charismatic approach to the game, while his teams play an aggressive and incisive brand of football. As noted in the report, Liverpool recently tied their boss down to a six-year contract, meaning he’d prove to be very difficult to prise away from Anfield.
Although the managers of the two Merseyside clubs are said to be under consideration for this illustrious post, others are also reportedly in the frame. Indeed, according to Miguel Delaney of The Independent, Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli and Athletic Club’s Ernesto Valverde are the favourites to take over from Enrique.
Sports journalist Rafael Hernandez believes Sampaoli would be the ideal candidate to galvanise Barcelona:
Any manager in world football would have to think things over if the Blaugrana came calling and as a result these reports will be of minor concern to Liverpool supporters. However, Klopp is in the middle of a project at Anfield; it’d be a big surprise if he ended up at the Camp Nou as a result.
Should Enrique depart, the new man will be challenged with rebuilding an ageing squad and energising a group of players that have looked laboured at times this season. Based on his success with Sevilla this season, his style of football and his vibrant demeanour, Sampaoli is the ideal candidate as things stand.