“No way” – Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna and a shock move to premier league top club

FLW’s take on the potential of Kieran McKenna replacing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool
This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which offers personal opinions from FLW writers on current news, teams, players, managers, potential signings, and more.

Darragh MacAnthony has identified Kieran McKenna as a potential dark horse to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

On talkSPORT, the Peterborough United chairman lauded the Ipswich Town boss.

“I was being laughed out of the studio by [producer] Luke – a Liverpool fan – this morning, [for tipping McKenna] as an outside dark horse [to succeed Klopp],” MacAnthony remarked.

“I enjoy his kind of football. I’ve been following him in League One since last year and impressed with what he’s accomplished.

No way” - Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna and a shock move to Liverpool

“You may call Ipswich a major club, but they didn’t go out and spend mega-millions over the summer.

“They kept a huge portion of the roster and team from League One, and they’re currently leading the Championship with five or six games remaining. It’s truly great.

The Tractor Boys are now top of the Championship standings, thanks to a stunning 3-2 victory over Southampton on Monday evening.

Kieran McKenna has won almost 50% of his games as manager of Ipswich Town since his appointment in December 2021.

Jurgen Klopp

The Northern Irishman is now seeking to lead the Suffolk club to back-to-back promotions after earning a spot in the Championship only last year.

Meanwhile, Liverpool is looking for a successor to Klopp, who announced his departure at the conclusion of the season in January.

Our FLW writers discuss McKenna’s potential fit with Liverpool.
McKenna deserved Liverpool’s notice.

Declan Harte
Replacing Klopp is a poisoned chalice, so it is no surprise that someone like Xabi Alonso has already distanced himself from the role.

David Moyes’ stint at Man United and Unai Emery’s at Arsenal serve as warnings to McKenna of what can happen if you replace a club legend.

His ties to Old Trafford could also give him some pause, having worked as a coach under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for multiple years at United.

But the work he has done at Ipswich does deserve the attention of top clubs, and Liverpool would be foolish to ignore him completely.

A lack of Premier League experience as a manager will go against him, but back-to-back promotions in the EFL would be a remarkable achievement if he can pull it off.

The last manager to do that was Eddie Howe, who has gone on to have an excellent top flight career.

McKenna’s attacking style of play would certainly be welcomed at Anfield, potentially easing his transition to a bigger club.

However, it is tough to envision him leaving Ipswich if promoted, and Liverpool will only seriously consider him if they finish in the top two, so the timing may not be perfect at this point.
McKenna’s contributions to Ipswich Town are invaluable. Taking a team from mid-table in League One to the brink of the Premier League is a significant feat, especially given the talent at the top of the Championship this season.

McKenna is unquestionably a Premier League manager in waiting. He will reach that level as early as next season, most likely with Ipswich.

However, he will not be a contender for the Liverpool post. Links to other Premier League roles are unavoidable, but replacing Klopp at Anfield is the most difficult job in football right now, and McKenna’s first Premier League job is not the appropriate fit. To be fair, it probably isn’t the appropriate calibre for Liverpool either.

It would be too much too soon for McKenna, who would be far better off doing his business in the top tier – when he gets there – with another team that is a little less well-known.


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