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Jurgen Klopp: Xabi Alonso is the standout manager of his generation of bosses

Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso is one of the favourites to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool at the end of the season; Leverkusen are top of the Bundesliga after defeating Bayern Munich 3-0 last Saturday

Xabi Alonso

Jurgen Klopp has hailed Xabi Alonso as the "standout" manager from the new generation of bosses.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder has been linked to the upcoming opening at Anfield after Klopp announced last month he will step down at the end of season.

Alonso guided Leverkusen from near the bottom of the Bundesliga to a five-point lead at the top within 16 months. The 42-year-old coach secured a spot in the German Cup semi-finals and notably defeated serial champions Bayern Munich 3-0 last weekend.

"Xabi is doing an incredible job," Klopp said on Friday.

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Dave Kidd from The Sun and David Ornstein from The Athletic reflect on departing Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp's comments on Xabi Alonso potentially being his successor

"If you would have asked me eight weeks ago about Xabi Alonso, I would have gone 'Oh my God!' Always what I said, the dinosaurs if you want, Ancelotti (Carlo), Mourinho (Jose), Guardiola (Pep), maybe me, we will not do it okay, maybe Mourinho - but all the rest will not do it for the next 20 years.

"The next generation is already there and I would say Xabi is a standout in that department... Former world-class player, from a coaching family as well which helps a little, he was like a coach already when he was playing. The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did, it is absolutely exceptional."

Klopp added that he is not involved in the search for his successor as that is to be decided by the owners of the Merseyside club.

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The 56-year-old, who has had his fair share of achievements in the German league from his time at Borussia Dortmund, praised Alonso's immediate but potent implementation of strategies despite only taking on the role in October 2022.

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Jamie Carragher analyses Bayer Leverkusen's style of football under Xabi Alonso, and predicts how Liverpool would play if he was to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield

"How quick his team is that well tuned, for the time it's taken, he's put his proper stamp on it," Klopp added.

View from Germany: What makes Alonso so special?

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Sky Germany reporter Felix Fischer outlines why Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso is held in such high regard

Sky Germany's Felix Fischer:

"He does such a tremendous job. He is not only a genius tactician and in terms of how he prepares his team, but he is a gentleman. Everything he does, he does right.

"After the game, the fans wanted to celebrate with him but he spoke with his assistants and coaches to make sure they also joined him in the celebrations. He didn't want to celebrate it alone which shows the respect he has for his entire team, for the fans and for the entire club.

"I imagine he will be the Liverpool coach one day but Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes said on Sunday that he is really sure that Alonso will still be the coach next season.

"All the top teams do have an eye on him. The boss of Bayern Munich will have an eye on him for some day, as well as Real Madrid. It's going to be a race for Alonso. I don't think it'll take place in the summer, but the season after that."

Carragher: Timing for Alonso is perfect

Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher:

"If Xabi Alonso was to become the Liverpool manager, which I think he will, I feel they are quite fortunate given that Jurgen Klopp has chosen this moment to move on.

"The timing for Alonso to step in is pretty perfect given the job he's doing.

"There is no doubt that right now he's looking like the brightest young thing as a manager."

Salah back in contention but Alisson misses Brentford

Klopp said Mohamed Salah is fit, back in full training and in contention to return to the team for Saturday's lunchtime trip to Brentford.

But goalkeeper Alisson has been ruled out after picking up an injury during training.

The Brazil international did not travel to London with the rest of the squad, remaining in the north west to undergo further medical checks to assess the injury.

Salah, meanwhile, returned early from the Africa Cup of Nations with a hamstring injury but now looks set to play again for Liverpool for the first time since scoring twice against Newcastle on New Year's Day.

"Mo is back in full training that brings him automatically into contention, of course," said Klopp about his leading scorer, who has 14 goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season.

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