Xabi Alonso left red-faced by Steven Gerrard as Liverpool set sights on Klopp replacement


Immediately, speculation has been rife that former Liverpool midfielder Alonso will be the man to replace him. He enjoyed five successful seasons with the club during his playing career and was part of their famous 2005 Champions League triumph before moving to Real Madrid in 2009.

And the Spaniard is currently excelling as a manager in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, four points clear at the top of the table and posing a serious threat to Bayern Munich’s quest to win a 12th successive title. Liverpool fans will also be well aware that back in January 2018, he voiced his ambition to one day step into the hot seat at Anfield.

Asked if he dreamt of being installed as manager, he told Guillem Balague: “Yes for sure, I have dreamt of that, but first I have to prove myself and prepare. If I decide somewhere along the way to take my chances as a manager, my link, my commitment, my passion with Liverpool is there. Why not? We will see if we can cross paths in our ways."

However, Alonso never expected to be before former teammate Gerrard in the pecking order. At the time of his comments, Gerrard was the head coach of Liverpool’s Under-18 side, and was taking the first steps in a management career that many perceived would inevitably see him takeover his boyhood club once Klopp departed.

And the 42-year-old tipped him to become Liverpool manager "sooner rather than later,” especially given he was already in the club set-up. "I think that Stevie will go earlier than me for sure, it's the natural way. Steve is already there so it's going to be sooner rather than later I guess."

Alonso’s vision for Gerrard has proved badly misplaced though. Months later, he left Merseyside for Scotland, taking over at Rangers. In three seasons with the Glasgow club he would seemingly enhance his coaching reputation, winning an SPL title in his final year.

After leaving for Aston Villa at the start of the 2021/22 campaign, his two-year deal coincided with when Klopp’s contract ran out at Liverpool, heightening the notion that he would soon land his dream managerial role. However, following a poor run of results he was sacked by the Midlands club in his second campaign, who have since been elevated by replacement Unai Emery.

After failing to land another job in England, last year Gerrard accepted a big money offer from Saudi Arabia to manage Al-Ettifaq. But his side currently lie eighth in the Pro League table having not won in nine games in all competitions, and have had to deal with the saga around Jordan Henderson quitting for Ajax.

Despite seemingly being under pressure, Gerrard this month signed a new two-year extension with the club, that runs until 2027. And the notion of him replacing Klopp this summer is now essentially inconceivable, with the 43-year-old himself stating his desire to remain in the Middle East long-term.

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