Inzaghi continues to impress with Inter: Could he be the man to replace Klopp at Liverpool?

The continued success of Inter under Simone Inzaghi has him linked with a move away, but could the Italian replace outbound Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp this summer? We've looked at his suitability for the job.

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With a first Scudetto imminent for Inter coach Simone Inzaghi and a hat-trick of Coppa Italia medals also boosting his coaching CV already, the former Lazio boss is being linked with several high-profile jobs across Europe, but the Nerazzurri will hope he remains at the club to build a dominant dynasty in Italian football.

Taking Inter to the 2023 Champions League final, where they narrowly lost 1-0 to Manchester City, alerted many outside the peninsula to the 47-year-old’s talents. The way he has since guided Inter to an unassailable lead at the top of the Serie A standings has strengthened his credentials as one of the leading coaches of the modern era.

As Gazzetta Dello Sport have reported, the above has led to Inzaghi being amongst the candidates to replace outgoing Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp this summer, but just how suitable is the Italian tactician for taking on the German’s legacy at the Premier League challengers should he leave the Nerazzurri?

Simone Inzaghi taking training ahead of Inter’s Champions League clash against Porto. [@Inter_en]

Would Inzaghi’s tactics work at Liverpool?

An immediate concern for Inzaghi would be whether the 3-5-2 formation he has used almost exclusively with Lazio and Inter work with the nucleus of a squad that has excelled in a 4-3-3 setup at Anfield since 2016. Although, the inverted full-back role of Trent Alexander-Arnold and previous function of defensive midfielder linchpin Fabinho suggest it could.

The former Lazio striker has always looked to utilise the flanks and Klopp has often sought to use his full-backs aggressively, almost as wingers, first with Fabinho dropping back to make a three-man backline, as the wandering full-back roamed the right and Andrew Robertson did the same on the opposite side. Now, Alexander-Arnold moves infield, allowing Mohamed Salah to occupy the right side.

Where Inzaghi might have a bigger issue if he were to move to Merseyside would be evolving an interchanging attacking five of Salah, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo into a more traditional striking partnership, rather than a front three currently in operation.

The Inter players celebrate their victory in the 2023 Supercoppa Italiana final (@Inter).

Could Inter coach Inzaghi work at Liverpool?

With the financial strength of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea, one of the key criteria for the Liverpool owners is finding a coach who can make the most out of a playing budget that at times cannot compete with their rivals, even if there are often funds for key personnel, like some relatively recent big-money signings Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Nunez.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi takes charge of training. [@Inter_en]

At Lazio, owner Claudio Lotito only decided to spend when forced to and Inzaghi delivered a Coppa Italia in his second season in Rome, and an eighth-place finish probably highlighted his inexperience in Serie A. Within 12 months, the Biancocelesti ended the season fourth to qualify for the Champions League, before falling back to sixth the following season.

After Inter splashed the cash to secure the Serie A title in 2020/21, the Nerazzurri tightened their belts, and Inzaghi came in to succeed Antonio Conte.

Inzaghi then delivered a Coppa Italia trophy, but the remains of an expensively assembled squad should have won the Scudetto that year, and certainly would have expected to push Napoli closer the following season.

Those shortcomings will concern the Liverpool hierarchy.

Does Inzaghi develop youth players enough for Liverpool?

Another crucial aspect of Liverpool’s data-driven approach to finding their next coach is the candidates’ record of bringing young players into the first team. This was no more evident than when Klopp lifted the 2024 English League Cup with an average age of just 24, including eight players coming from the youth academy.

Inzaghi gave first-team debuts to 22 players under the age of 23 at Lazio, but mainly as resources limited his options, and defender Luiz Felipe was the only one who became a household name with the Biancocelesti. At Inter, the figure drops to just seven, and Kristjan Asllani and Yann Bisseck of those were brought in for significant transfer fees.

During nearly three years with the Nerazzurri, an average playing age hovering around 29 years old suggests that the Inzaghi doesn’t trust enough in youth. It could be argued that he has been lucky with senior availability or restricted by a lack of quality within the Primavera ranks, but this fact will still raise questions at the Premier League title hopefuls.

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