• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Alonso ruled out of contention for Liverpool manager job

Alonso (1)

Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso is reportedly unlikely to be on Liverpool’s shortlist to replace Jurgen Klopp as the Merseyside club doubt if the Spaniard will be available this summer.

Alonso has long been considered the front-runner to replace Klopp since the German’s shock announcement that he is quitting Anfield at the end of the season. But the club are pressing ahead in considering alternative candidates after it emerged that Alonso plans to remain at Leverkusen.

That means Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim and Brighton and Hove Albion’s Roberto De Zerbi are now the outstanding remaining candidates for the imminent vacancy at Anfield as Liverpool look to whittle down the contenders in the coming weeks.

De Zerbi will get his chance to impress on Sunday when his Brighton side face Klopp’s in the Premier League at Anfield. Amorim, meanwhile, has many admirers having ended Sporting’s 19-year wait to be Portuguese champions and having won three domestic cup competitions in an impressive start to his coaching career.

The prospect of Alonso, a former player and Champions League winner, returning to Anfield to build on Klopp’s work appealed to the romanticists who recall the elegant Spaniard pulling the strings in Liverpool’s midfield between 2004 and 2009.

Even Klopp seemed to be on board with that idea, giving the impression that Alonso was ‘the anointed one’ with his extravagant praise of the Leverkusen coach last month.

“The next generation is already there and I would say Xabi is the stand-out in that department,” Klopp said. “A former world-class player, obviously coaching family as well which helps a little bit. He was like a coach already when he was playing.

“The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did – it was exceptional. Obviously, when you look through the Europa League, Leverkusen is one of the favourites there as well so that could be the season for Leverkusen.”

From Liverpool’s perspective, the 42-year-old had front-runner status thrust upon him externally immediately after Klopp announced that he would leave.

Since Klopp’s statement, Liverpool have appointed a new sporting director, Richard Hughes, who will take over in June, while Fenway Sports Group have reunited with former sporting director Michael Edwards, who is the American owners’ football chief executive.

They will have their ideas on a successor, while the club’s data analysts, led by Will Spearman, have already been compiling dossiers on those most suitable for the post.

Alonso was under strong consideration alongside others, and would naturally have had a strong claim for the job if he felt the time was right to move to England.

His seeming lack of availability is undoubtedly a blow, especially to the supporters who made him their No 1 choice, but Liverpool are sure there are others capable of moving the squad forward in the full-throttle style which has become the norm under Klopp.

Despite incredible success at Leverkusen, where his side are still unbeaten in all competitions this season and on the verge of winning the Bundesliga title, it would appear he is determined to work to his timeline rather than jump into one of the world’s biggest clubs at the first opportunity.

As Liverpool consider alternatives, the only guarantee is that Klopp’s replacement will be obliged to play in the same attacking manner which has brought every major honour to Anfield since 2019.