Ever since Jürgen Klopp announced he would be stepping down as Liverpool manager at the end of the 2023-24 season, there has been one name at the top of every list. One manager presumed to be the strong favourite to take over. Xabi Alonso.
The former Liverpool midfield star has impressed massively in his second season with Bayern Leverkusen after getting his start with Real Sociedad B—who unlike English reserve teams play in the third tier of Spanish football—and in many ways seems the perfect fit.
According to one French report, at least, he was also one of the few people outside the Liverpool hierarchy who knew that Klopp was departing back in November, with Foot Mercato claiming the club reached out immediately after Klopp decided.
If there’s any truth to the claim—and Foot Mercato claim sources though seem an unlikely vector, being a French outlet covering a Spanish coach at a German club potentially courted by an English side—it certainly would reinforce Alonso’s favourite status.
Whether Liverpool in fact contacted Alonso quietly in November, the ex-Red has shown flexibility in his time at Leverkusen and currently is topping the German league with a heavy press-and-possession approach that has some overlaps with Klopp’s Liverpool.
There are differences—both in team shape and that Alonso favours control following turnovers, looking to pull opponents apart with possession first before striking quickly, rather than countering instantly—but the ideals and approach are not miles apart.
Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi have been the most frequently named options after Alonso, while Brentford’s Thomas Frank and German national team coach Julian Nagelsmann have also been mentioned as possibilities.