Liverpool have been advised to avoid appointing Xabi Alonso as their next manager in favour of another of their former players.
Jurgen Klopp will step down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, despite previously extending his contract beyond its previous 2024 expiry date.
Liverpool will have to find a new manager who can carry on Klopp’s good work, with many pointing to the success of their former midfielder Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen as evidence that he should be a strong candidate.
But rather than Alonso, Liverpool have been urged to reconsider former captain Steven Gerrard for the job.
Gerrard previously looked like he was being primed for a future as Liverpool boss, winning the Scottish Premiership with Rangers, but his first attempt at managing in the Premier League ended up with him being sacked by Aston Villa.
The 43-year-old is now coaching Al-Ettifaq in the Saudi Pro League, where he recently extended his contract, so seems to be an unlikely candidate.
Nevertheless, former Arsenal defender William Gallas has recommended Gerrard as someone still capable of managing Liverpool.
“Steven Gerrard should replace Jurgen Klopp,” Gallas said. “He was the manager at Rangers and Aston Villa so why can’t he manage Liverpool?
“It’s not like he’s just started his managerial career, he has experience under his belt already. They have to give him that job.
“Liverpool fans respect Xabi Alonso, he’s had a great career and is having good results with Leverkusen but Steven Gerrard is a legend at Liverpool.”
Who’s more ready for Liverpool – Gerrard or Alonso?
The problem with Gallas’ theory is that legendary status might not be enough for what Liverpool are trying to achieve.
Gerrard is still relatively young for a manager and it is not impossible that he will return to Liverpool one day, but many of his peers have struggled when taking big jobs too soon, such as Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
Therefore, he seems unlikely to be seriously considered as Klopp’s successor as things stand.
While Alonso is of a similar age, his trajectory appears to be more positive than Gerrard’s. Indeed, Bayer Leverkusen remain unbeaten in the Bundesliga, which they top, this season.
Furthermore, he might be more readily available thanks to a gentlemen’s agreement his current employers have with him about the prospect of another high-calibre club targeting him.
Liverpool will surely be keeping their options open as they prepare for the post-Klopp era, but a lot has changed since people were drawing parallels between Gerrard’s Rangers contract ending in 2024 and Klopp’s at Liverpool finishing at the same time.
Now we have arrived in that year, the chances of Gerrard succeeding Klopp straight away seem to be far less realistic.
But as Gallas acknowledged, that does not untie the close bond between him and his former club.
Taking the manager’s job there would be a risk at this moment in time, though, whereas someone like Alonso – unless settled in Germany – might be able to take it more in his stride.