Premier League - Paper Round: Reds want Pep talk
It is the day before the Champions League final, but rumours of who will be the next Liverpool boss remain the biggest story in town.
There is a lot of crossover between the various publications: a number of them are reporting that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is the shock top target of Liverpool's American owners.
As the Telegraph points out, the move for Guardiola, who recently announced his decision to quit Barca at the end of the season to take some time out from the game, is "staggeringly ambitious" - but the Sun notes that while " the Kop owners Fenway Sports Group accept their chances of tempting Guardiola are slim they feel it would be a huge mistake not even to sound him out".
To say Liverpool are drawing up a "shortlist" would appear to be an understatement as there are a total of 11 names linked with the position across the different papers.
Wigan have already confirmed that their manager Roberto Martinez has been cleared for talks with the Reds and it is also understood that Swansea City's Brendan Rodgers has been invited to interview. Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has also been sounded out.
You can also add Borussia Dortmund's Jurgen Klopp, Marseille's Didier Deschamps, Ajax's Frank de Boer, Norwich's Paul Lambert, Newcastle's Alan Pardew and former England boss Fabio Capello to the list of people linked in the papers. Interestingly, Liverpool fan favourite Rafael Benitez is not linked.
The list should shorten soon as a few of the names seem unrealistic targets. Capello is likely to go elsewhere and has actually put himself forward for the Chelsea job, according to the Telegraph.
The paper notes that "although Chelsea are not treating Capello as a leading candidate at present, the club are understood to have divulged information about their training ground and facilities".
It is thought that if Capello does not get the Chelsea job then he could instead accept a lucrative position as coach of the UAE national team.
Roberto Di Matteo of course could win the Champions League with Chelsea on Saturday, but again the Telegraph says that he does "not hold out much hope that he will be given the job on a full-time basis and is being linked with a move to the Italian club Lazio".
Klopp is also unlikely to move to Anfield, with the Independent saying that "the view from Germany last night was that it would be profoundly difficult to attract him to Anfield. The 44-year-old is under contract until 2016, totally wedded to the club and next season's Champions League campaign, and Dortmund would not release him for any price".
The same paper also says getting Rodgers from Swansea could be difficult as the Welsh club put a £5 million release in his contract that they are unlikely to budge on. Later on Friday morning it was reported that Rodgers had turned down the chance to speak to Liverpool.
No doubt this story will continue to play a prominent part in Paper Round until the new manager is finally named.
Away from Anfield and a quick round-up of the transfer rumours in today papers.
Chelsea and Manchester City will battle Inter and Paris St Germain for £20 million Napoli attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi. (The Sun)
Roberto Mancini has also targeted Italian hardman Giorgio Chiellini to toughen up his defence next season. The Manchester City boss has already contacted Juventus to offer £16m for the 27-year-old centre-back. (Daily Mirror)
Chelsea are battling it out with Barcelona for Benfica’s hot prospect Nelson Oliveira. The 20-year-old has earned himself a full Portugal call-up after an impressive season and now Chelsea and Barca are scouting him. (Daily Mirror)
Reading are lining up an audacious raid for Liverpool outcast Joe Cole as the Royals start planning for life back in the Premier League. The former West Ham and Chelsea midfielder spent last season on loan at French side Lille after falling out of favour with ex-Reds boss Kenny Dalglish. (Daily Mail)
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is ready to snap up Crystal Palace’s young right-back Nathaniel Clyne - then take any prospective deal to a tribunal. Clyne is out of contract at Selhurst Park and Pardew wants him at the Magpies this summer - where he has a chance of going straight into the first team. (Daily Mirror)
Liverpool may rekindle their interest in CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia once they find a manager. Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham have also shown interest in the Ivorian. (Daily Mail)
Salomon Kalou has issued a plea to his former club Feyenoord that he sees his future in the Eredivisie after his Chelsea contract expires this summer. Besiktas and Tottenham had been in the frame to capture the free agent in the coming weeks, but the Ivory Coast international wants to head back to Holland. (Daily Mail)
Finally, Jussi Jaaskelainen is waiting on a move to West Brom - as he makes his exit from relegated Bolton. The veteran Finn's contract is up and the Baggies, who had on-loan Birmingham keeper Ben Foster between the sticks last season, are interested, but cannot commit until they find a new manager. (Daily Mirror)