When the time came for Liverpool to dismiss Brendan Rodgers in the autumn of 2015, the club had a three-man shortlist of possible replacements.


Jurgen Klopp - obviously - was the man appointed by FSG and the club has never looked back, with the German becoming an icon in the city. After reaching two finals in his first full season, Klopp guided a rebuilt Liverpool to new heights, winning the Champions League in 2019 and Premier League in 2020, ending a 30-year wait for the latter.


However, it might've all been very different had the club landed on a different target.


Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League success

In a piece on The Athletic about the influence of sporting director Michael Edwards - the man behind much of Liverpool's best recruitment work of recent years - it is claimed that the Reds had three managerial targets to succeed Rodgers: Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Eddie Howe.


Ultimately, current Everton boss Ancelotti was dismissed, despite his obvious credentials, because of his transfer record of signing older players, which 'jarred with Liverpool's thinking.'


Having left Real Madrid the previous summer, Ancelotti took over as Bayern Munich coach in 2016, where he won the 2017 Bundesliga title but was dismissed in 2017 after inconsistent form.


Meanwhile, Bournemouth's Howe also made Liverpool's shortlist due to his reputation for 'developing younger players and playing attractive football'.


It is noted that Howe and Edwards also have a friendship from their time together at Portsmouth when the former was a player and the latter the head of performance analysis.


In the end, it was decided that Howe, who had led Bournemouth to a Championship-winning season in 2014/15, lacked top-level experience, with Edwards recommending Klopp to the board.


"Howe did not have the experience of competing in the Champions League whereas Klopp ticked every box in terms of achievement, transfer business and playing style," The Athletic's article reads.


"Edwards made his recommendation to Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), and left them to get on with the business of making it happen."


Five years on, Howe - named EFL Manager of the Decade in 2015 - remains in charge of Bournemouth and is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League currently.


However, the Cherries - while still enormous over-achievers - face relegation this season and are 18th in the table, level on points with Aston Villa and Watford either side of them.