Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Jurgen Klopp swats off major Xabi Alonso fear as FSG near brilliant triple coup

Xabi Alonso is tipped to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager

Xabi Alonso is tipped to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager

Departing Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed growing theories about Xabi Alonso stepping into his shoes at Anfield by offering the Spaniard some words of comfort, while club owners FSG are edging closer to three appointments that will revolutionise the Reds.

The charismatic German manager is now in the final three months of what has been a truly successful and memorable stint at Liverpool, having announce in January that this would be his last season on Merseyside. Klopp has won seven trophies so far during his near-nine years at the helm, while his spell could end with up to three more pieces of silverware.

Klopp’s side are currently top of the Premier League, where they face a crucial showdown with three-times reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday, through to the FA Cup quarter-finals, and also are well placed to reach the last eight of the Europa League, having crushed Sparta Prague 5-1 away from home in their first leg.

And with the Carabao Cup already safely locked away in the Anfield trophy cabinet for this season, Klopp’s final season in charge promises to be his most-successful yet.

While FSG do not want to distract Klopp and his players from their task in hand, big moves are being made behind the scenes on the appointment of a new manager.

Their number one target has emerged as former player Alonso, who has Bayer Leverkusen firing and in with a great chance of a first Bundesliga crown in their history.

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However, competition for Alonso’s appointment is tough, with Bayern Munich – another of the Spaniard’s former clubs – also tracking his appointment, having also confirmed the exit of their manager in Thomas Tuchel this summer.

Next Liverpool manager: Klopp addresses Xabi Alonso fears

However, TEAMtalk were the first to break the news last month that Alonso is willing to reject Liverpool over fears that stepping into the Anfield hotseat, and in particular replacing Klopp, was too big a job for him at this stage of his career.

Furthermore, with Alonso’s family settled in Leverkusen, and with the Spaniard in no hurry to abandon a club he has very quickly established as title favourites, it’s been suggested FSG may have to turn their attention elsewhere.

With Klopp regarded by many as one of greatest managers in Liverpool’s history, suggestions that his shoes are simply too big to fill for Alonso have also been put before the German.

However, he is adamant that Alonso – or whoever steps in – is more than capable of making a huge success of the job, having dismissed claims he himself is something of a irreplaceable figure.

“I really think it is the perfect moment for a new manager and not the wrong one because we didn’t win everything, we left spaces. Go at City after Pep Guardiola and you need to be champion 10 years in a row to achieve the same,” he said of their push for glory this season.

“Maybe it was good for that reason that we didn’t become champion with 97 points!”

Klopp also believes Liverpool managers are wired differently and expects his successor to be equally as tuned in and also has every chance of success.

“The people here are different. The people gave Bill Shankly the chance, and what came after Bill Shankly, and they are all bigger than we are, and the people will understand in the end that this was a fantastic time and we all enjoyed it like hell.

“What a ride. But I am 100 per cent sure that what they learned over the years is if we trust and we push then everything is possible. This team will attract top class managers, 100 per cent.”

FSG close on triple appointment

Reflecting on his own arrival at Anfield back in October 2015, Klopp added: “I came in at the right moment because it got lost a little bit and maybe I was the one who helped everyone to understand again how important it is.

“The club is special. Not because of the buildings – other clubs have nice stadiums – but because of the people.”

Klopp missed out on the title twice to City and Guardiola in 2019 and 2022 after two tense battles, and he believes those challenges have pushed him to raise his own standards.

“It made me definitely a better manager, to find solutions against these teams to win these games,” he said ahead of Sunday’s clash against City.

“In this moment, I just got told now, I have a positive record against Pep. I have no clue how that happened, to be honest! But it is all fine.”

Meanwhile, before the confirmation of their next manager, the Liverpool Echo has confirmed that FSG are confident of a big double appointment behind the scenes of both Michael Edwards and Richard Hughes.

Former sporting director Edwards has been convinced to return to the club in an as yet unspecified directorial role following positive talks in the United States last week with FSG.

And the club has also reportedly struck a deal to make Richard Hughes their new sporting director, with the 44-year-old Scot leaving his role as technical director at Bournemouth at the end of the current season.

Those appointments could be made official in the coming days, and with a new manager to follow, FSG have good reason to believe the post-Klopp era at Anfield will not be as fearful as some make out.

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