Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Crouch names three key Xabi Alonso traits that’ll ensure success; one problem looms

Peter Crouch and Xabi Alonso, Liverpool

Peter Crouch has endorsed Liverpool swooping for Xabi Alonso

Peter Crouch has endorsed his former team-mate Xabi Alonso taking over as Liverpool manager, with the Bayer Leverkusen boss labelled an ‘absolute class act’.

Crouch and Alonso played together at Liverpool between July 2005 and July 2008. In that time, Liverpool won the 2006 FA Cup and finished in the top four three seasons in a row.

Their time as team-mates came to an end in summer 2008 when Crouch joined Portsmouth, while Alonso left Anfield the year after to sign for Real Madrid.

But Alonso could return to Liverpool in the near future, as he has been earmarked as the No 1 contender to replace Jurgen Klopp.

The former midfielder is currently focused on helping Leverkusen win the Bundesliga, German cup and Europa League. However, he will also have one eye on the summer, when Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Madrid may all come calling for his signature.

It will be tough for Alonso to reject European heavyweights Bayern and Madrid, though Liverpool believe they are leading the pursuit.

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Crouch has now weighed in on the reports linking Alonso with the Liverpool job. He thinks the 42-year-old would be ideal as he has always been a ‘leader’, ever since his playing days.

Crouch also praised Alonso for investing himself into the English culture and style of play, while the ‘amazing’ work he has done at Leverkusen should help him win trophies with Liverpool.

Crouch lavishes praise on Xabi Alonso

“Absolute class act as a man,” Crouch said on talkSPORT, when quizzed on Alonso.

“Even at that age, he was kind of like a link between the manager and the players. It was like he was kind of the leader of the Spanish contingent that Rafa [Benitez] brought in.

“Everyone loved him as a person, absolute class act. You could see him going on to be a manager, he was just always asking questions, he wanted to know everything about English culture when he was over here.”

Crouch continued: “He’s played in Germany. He’s played in Spain. So, he’s got all this armoury and he’s done such an amazing job at Leverkusen as well. I think he’d be absolutely ideal.”

However, the former striker did express his concern that Alonso might need more experience before replacing Klopp.

“It’s just whether or not it comes too early because it is still very, very early in his managerial career,” the pundit added.

Crouch is not the only one to have praised Alonso recently. On Wednesday, Leverkusen star Alejandro Grimaldo said: “I had very good coaches throughout my career, both at Barcelona and at Benfica. But Xabi is something special. There are not many coaches like him in the world of football.”

Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro insists he has a ‘good relationship’ with Alonso, which gives him hope that the tactician will stay put this summer.

Although, Carro did admit that ‘you never know what will happen’, such is the unpredictable nature of transfers and managerial moves.

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