Xabi Alonso has previously admitted it is his dream to manage Liverpool, but he is currently focused on his job at Bayer Leverkusen.
Jurgen Klopp announced on Friday morning he will leave Liverpool at the end of the 2023/24 season, and though a successor has not yet been named, several high-profile managers have been linked with the position already.
One of the supposed frontrunners for the job is former Reds midfielder Alonso, who is attracting praise from across the world for his work at Leverkusen.
Alonso’s side sit four points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga and are the only unbeaten team in Europe across all competitions this season, all while playing an entertaining brand of football.
At a press conference on Friday ahead of this weekend’s clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, Alonso was quick to quieten any ‘speculation’ linking him with a move back to Liverpool.
“I was surprised by Jurgen’s news. I have huge respect for Jurgen and Liverpool. At the moment I am really happy here and enjoying my work. Each day and game is a challenge. We are in an intense and beautiful journey here at Leverkusen,” he said.
“Speculation is normal, but I have great respect and admiration for what Jurgen has done at Liverpool in the last nine years, and how he’s done it. He has a connection with the fans, he’s done a great job, but my focus is here at Bayer Leverkusen.
“I have great motivation to do a good job here, I’m very happy with the team, with the club, with everything, so that’s my focus. My focus isn’t on May, it’s on tomorrow ahead of our game against Gladbach and helping my players to be ready. But what I will say is it was surprising what happened at Liverpool with Jurgen leaving.”
When asked if he could rule out becoming Liverpool manager next season, Alonso laughed and replied: “Honestly, I don’t have a direct answer! I’m happy here right now, that’s for sure, and only thinking about Leverkusen.”
In a previous interview with Guillem Balague for talkSPORT back in 2018, Alonso said he would love to return to Liverpool as a manager one day. At the time, he expected Steven Gerrard – then a youth coach but now outcast at Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia – to be ahead in the queue.
“Yes for sure, I have dreamt of that, but first I have to prove myself and prepare,” Alonso said.
“If I decide somewhere along the way to take my chances as a manager, my link, my commitment, my passion with Liverpool is there. Why not? We will see if we can cross paths in our ways.
“I think that Stevie will go earlier than me for sure. It’s the natural way. Stevie, he’s already there so it’s going to be sooner rather than later, I guess.”
Following retirement from playing, Gerrard took up a role coaching in Liverpool’s youth setup, working alongside Klopp at their training base.
Gerrard’s first senior management role followed in 2018 when he was approached by Rangers, and he helped them win their first Scottish title in nearly a decade during his final full season in charge. A move to the Premier League with Aston Villa came in 2021, but he was sacked after a year at the helm and has since found a new home in Saudi Arabia with Al Ettifaq.
Alonso’s managerial career is proving to be far more successful than that of his former midfield partner. He began life with Real Madrid’s youth teams and then coached the B side of hometown club Real Sociedad before being poached by Bayer Leverkusen in 2022.
What we know
- Liverpool on lookout for new manager after shock departure of Klopp
- German to leave his post at end of 2023/24 season after nine years
- Xabi Alonso linked to job and has already revealed his feelings on managing Liverpool.