Benitez on the brink - Lampard and Rooney in the mix to replace the Spaniard at Everton

Everton’s loss to Liverpool on Wednesday marked the eighth game in a row without a win for Benitez and he’s now favourite to be the next Premier League manager sacked.

It's a miserable time to be an Everton fan. Rafa Benitez' appointment in the summer was understandably met with concern in view of his legacy at city rivals Liverpool and he's done little since to silence his critics.

The Toffees did start by winning three of their opening four games, but it's swiftly gone downhill since and they now sit 16th while watching Liverpool mount another title challenge.

Frankly it was a match made in hell for the Evertonians when Benitez was appointed, and the Spaniard now seems set to be the next Premier League manager handed his P45 - he's 1/7 to be sacked next.

But with Benitez out the door, and Everton needing to quickly climb the standings, who could succeed him at Goodison Park?

Kasper Hjulmand

Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark

The current favourite to take the reins is Danish manager Hjulmand, who currently takes charge of the Denmark national team.

After reaching the semi-finals at Euro 2020 it's not a surprise that Hjulmand is in high demand, but the rest of his managerial career may leave Everton fans a bit wary.

Following a humble playing career in Denmark, Hjulmand joined Lyngby and then Nordsjaelland, where he won the side their first Danish Championship.

He then replaced Thomas Tuchel at Mainz in 2014 and hit the ground running, going undefeated in his first league games and guiding the side to the top of the Bundesliga. However, they then went on a torrid run and he was sacked in the February after his side slid down to 14th.

A further three years back at Nordsjaelland followed before he took charge of the Denmark national team in 2020.

Known for creating well organised and hard-working teams, Hjulmand's style is perhaps not too dissimilar from Benitez'. While that could have a good impact on the side upon his arrival, it's hard to see whether he's the long-term fix the club need.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo

After being sacked by Tottenham on November 1, Nuno could find himself back in charge of a Premier League side after just a month out.

Of course, his recommendation for the job will be based mostly off of his success at Wolves rather than his failings in north London.

However, there was plenty disrupting Nuno's time at Tottenham, including Harry Kane's ongoing rumoured move to Manchester City. It was blindingly clear that he wasn't Spurs' first choice for the job, and so it wasn't really a surprise to see it not work out.

But at Everton, Nuno will likely be backed more, given more time, and has less pressure on his shoulders. Sure, he'll have to pick up the team and get some fairly quick results, but he'd certainly be a more wanted figure than Benitez ever was.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney Derby County Oct21

After being born locally and rising through the ranks of the club's academy, it seems fitting that one day Wayne Rooney will take charge at Goodison Park.

It's just a matter of timing it well, though. Still only 36 years old, Rooney's only coaching experience has been at Derby County. While he's done superbly well to simply keep the club afloat, the Premier League offers a whole new number of challenges.

Frank Lampard found the same thing when he stepped up from Derby to Chelsea, so Rooney will be cautious of making the same mistake.

However, with the current financial situation, the Rams seem like a sinking ship, and Rooney will surely want to move on soon. It's an easy route into Premier League management, and he'll be given time by adoring Everton fans.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard on the sidelines with Chelsea Jan21

After being sacked by the Blues of London, could Frank Lampard return to management with the Blues of Liverpool?

The 43-year-old seemed nailed on to take charge at Norwich in early November, but decided against the move. That could turn out to be a fantastic decision if he instead takes over the blue half of Merseyside.

There's far more talent for Lampard to work with at Goodison than at Carrow Road, and while Everton will demand results, his attractive playing style will appease the fans and also afford him time to progress as a manager.

Duncan Ferguson

Duncan Ferguson, Rafa Benitez, Everton, manager

After representing the Toffees as a player and then as an interim manager in 2019, Ferguson has stuck around the coaching staff ever since, and could be given a shot at the full-time role.

It's not as if he didn't do well during his short spell as interim. His first game in charge saw his side beat Chelsea 3-1, while his passion on the touchline was warmly greeted by the fans.

He's a far more likeable figure than Benitez around Everton, the only issue is whether he'll have enough experience or tactical nous to meet their expectations in the league table.

He's been mentored by the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Marco Silva during his time as assistant manager, but whether that's enough to gift him the keys to the manager's office is yet to be seen.

Graham Potter

Graham Potter, Brighton, Premier League

Potter has done excellently at both Swansea City and Brighton as a manager, and it only seems a matter of time until he takes a step up.

Especially after recent events which saw Potter question Brighton fans' decision to boo him and his team after their goalless draw with Leeds United.

Frankly he's exceeded expectations to lead the Seagulls up to ninth, and if he's feeling unappreciated for his hard work, he'll soon look elsewhere.

The 46-year-old has had great success when given time to implement his own style, so he's a perfect long-term option for Everton, who would also back him better financially than Brighton are able to.

The vacancy is a good fit for both sides, it's just a matter of whether Potter would want to jump ship midway through a season.

Daniel Farke

Daniel farke Norwich Aug21

Fresh from his sacking at Norwich, Farke will look to return to the Premier League soon and he's well in the running for the Everton job.

Despite getting relegated with Norwich, Farke received plaudits for sticking with his expansive style of play, even with an inferior squad.

It's a style that saw the Canaries dominate the Championship and return to the top flight at the first time of asking, and even though Norwich started poorly in 2020/21, Farke ended on a high with a 2-1 win over Brentford.

It's intriguing to think how he would manage in the Premier League at a club with better resources, and perhaps that's why the Everton board have jotted him down as a contender.

It'd make a change from the defensive, rigid soccer under Benitez, and that's all that most Everton fans are asking for at the minute.

READ MORE: Eight things you didn’t know about potential Everton manager Kasper Hjulmand

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