Xabi Alonso is the topic of conversation as Liverpool look to the future, and his former team-mate, Jamie Carragher, provided interesting insight on what Reds could expect from him.
Currently leading his side to the top of the Bundesliga table, Alonso is in the spotlight for more reasons than one as he looks to end Bayern Munich’s dominance.
As soon as Jurgen Klopp announced he would leave at the end of the season, Alonso’s name was straight to the top of the list of suitors and that has yet to change.
And Carragher, who played 199 times alongside Alonso at Liverpool, spoke of how he expects the Spaniard to take over at Anfield in the summer during a brilliant segment on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
Having masterminded a 3-0 win against Bayern over the weekend to stretch his unbeaten run to 31 games, Carragher took a look at Alonso’s brand of football and how it might look on Merseyside.
“When you ask if this is the perfect fit for Liverpool, what stands out for me are the number of passes and the amount that are short,” Carragher started.
“So far, 646 of their (Leverkusen’s) 683 have been short. It comes to 95 percent, which is probably not what Liverpool are right now under Klopp. It’s more reminiscent of what we see from a Pep Guardiola team.”
Using a scatter graph to show the passing profile of clubs among Europe’s top five leagues, Alonso’s Leverkusen was shown to sit alongside Man City and PSG for the most short passes.
Klopp’s Liverpool sit further down, and when it comes to moulding Alonso’s style with what is currently in place at Anfield, Carragher would expect the Spaniard to ‘merge the two styles’.
“From the company Leverkusen are keeping, we can say that Alonso’s own influence is more like Pep Guardiola, which makes sense as he’s been his manager,” the Reds’ former defender explained.
“But if Xabi Alonso was to become the Liverpool manager, I think he will, I feel Liverpool are quite fortunate that Jurgen Klopp‘s left at this time.
“The timing for Alonso to step in is pretty perfect for the job he’s doing.
“Would I expect Alonso’s Liverpool to be higher up this scatter graph? Maybe. But I would expect somewhere in the middle – like where Bayern Munich are on the graph – as he has to have his own philosophy and his own imprint.
“This team is so used to playing a certain way under Jurgen Klopp, there’s the Anfield factor with the crowd, the energy. Xabi Alonso knows that so I would expect to see a merging of the two styles if he were to get the job.
“There is no doubt that right now he’s looking like the brightest young thing out there as a manager.”
Carragher’s full analysis is well worth your time, and it is pretty clear he is sold on his former team-mate sitting in the dugout at Anfield next season!