By SHAUN CUSTIS
Published: 10 Dec 2007 (The Sun exclusive... so? the truthness of it is a whole different story, isn't it?)
JURGEN KLINSMANN is in the frame to become Liverpool boss — if Rafa Benitez gets the sack.
Klinsmann is keen on returning to Europe from California, where he now lives.
And, though he turned down Chelsea, the chance to boss the Reds holds huge appeal for the former Tottenham striker and ex-Germany coach.
SunSport understands Kop owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks like the wholesome profile Klinsmann has.
And, though Klinsmann is very much his own man, he would be easier to keep in line than Benitez.
The Spaniard’s relations with the American pair remain fragile — the manager wants to establish transfer targets in the January window but feels Gillett and Hicks have been dragging their heels.
But Liverpool are feeling the squeeze and it is more likely Benitez will lose players rather than gain any.
They may not be able to turn Javier Mascherano’s complicated loan deal into a permanent transfer.
And Peter Crouch could also have to be sold without a replacement coming in.
This is a critical week for Benitez. Having been beaten 3-1 at Reading on Saturday, Liverpool face a make-or-break Champions League game away to Marseille tomorrow which could see them knocked out of the competition.
The Merseysiders also host Manchester United on Sunday and Benitez is poised to have crunch talks with his bosses over the direction of the club.
Though both sides have tried to play down the rift between them, relations remain on a knife-edge.
Klinsmann has also been touted as a candidate for the England post — a job which interests him.
Over in the States, there is a belief he is preparing to move back to Europe and give up the Californian sunshine.
Klinsmann wanted a break after taking Germany to the World Cup semi-finals on home soil last year.
But he is now fully refreshed. A source close to Klinsmann said: “Jurgen is ready to get involved in football again.
“He loves it in California but, when you are such a big figure in the game, you cannot stay away from it for ever.”
Kop striker Crouch insists his team-mates have the character to hit back against Marseille after losing to Reading.
He said:: “The belief is still there. It was a blip against Reading.
“If you look at the last few games we’ve played some great football, scored a lot of goals and won games convincingly.
“We have enough characters in the dressing room that can bounce back from this and get a great result against Marseille.”
The French side warmed up for tomorrow’s Euro clash with a 2-0 win over Monaco.
And midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, who scored the only goal when the teams met at Anfield in October, admitted: “We have to beware of Liverpool.
“We caught them cold last time. We will be vigilant.”