Home News Xabi Alonso a “standout” manager praises Jurgen Klopp: “An incredible job”

Xabi Alonso a “standout” manager praises Jurgen Klopp: “An incredible job”

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Jurgen Klopp was understandably full of praise when asked about Xabi Alonso’s management career, saying that the Spaniard has Bayer Leverkusen playing “absolutely exceptional” football.

Alonso, 42, is a frontrunner to replace Klopp this summer when the German departs Anfield after almost nine years in charge.

And while Liverpool themselves have said that they will conduct their new manager search privately and without a running commentary, Alonso’s name is the one that most media and bookmakers have as the favourite.

And that is for good reason, with Alonso’s Leverkusen side impressively beating Bayern Munich 3-0 last week to move five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, while also progressing in the German Cup and the Europa League.

“Xabi is doing an incredible job,” Klopp praised when asked by media on Friday afternoon.

“That’s ­completely independent [of reports linking Alonso to Liverpool]. If you would have asked me eight weeks ago about Xabi Alonso, I would have gone: ‘Oh my God.’”

Alonso, of course, played for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern, being coached by Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 27, 2008: Liverpool's manager Rafael Benitez and Xabi Alonso during the UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg match against Royal Standard de Liege at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The dinosaurs, if you want – [Carlo] Ancelotti, [Jose] Mourinho, [Pep] Guardiola, maybe me – we will not do it for the next 20 years,” said Klopp.

“The next generation is already there and I would say, at the moment, Xabi is the stand-out in that department.

“[He is a] former world-class player, from a coaching family as well which helps a little, he was like a coach already when he was playing.”

Klopp himself won’t be involved in selecting his successor, with that decision being primarily made by FSG president Mike Gordon, Liverpool’s director of research, Will Spearman, and club CEO Billy Hogan.

But Klopp has certainly given Alonso his endorsement.

“The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did, it is absolutely exceptional,” Klopp praised.

“I played a long time in the Bundesliga and it is super impressive. Not only the points tally but the way they play.

“Leverkusen has a very good chance to win the cup. When you look through the Europa League, Leverkusen is one of the favourites there as well so it could be the season for Leverkusen. Really crazy.”

Among the discord around Alonso’s coaching capabilities is some questions over his style of play, but as Klopp rightly notes: “Nobody knows if that is always the way he wants to play or if it’s the way this team specifically plays.

“He is not long enough in the business to tell, but obviously the coaching part is exceptional. That is clear.”

Klopp could yet get to see Alonso’s coaching up close this season, with a potential meeting between the two managers in the Europa League.

“When you look through the Europa League, Leverkusen are one of the favourites there as well,” said Klopp, “so this could be the season for Bayer Leverkusen. Really crazy.”