Jurgen Klopp reacts to Xabi Alonso snubbing Liverpool and gives Roberto De Zerbi verdict


Alonso was expected to be a front-runner to replace Klopp at Anfield next season thanks to his success in Germany. But Klopp says he can see why the 42-year-old former midfielder wants to stay at his current club, who he has only coached since October 2022 in what is his only senior role to date.

Klopp told a press conference on Friday: "A young manager being at a club that is doing really well, I was in a similar situation [at Mainz], I did pretty much the same. I never regretted it. That's pretty much everything I can say about Xabi.

"He's doing an incredible job there. Leverkusen has a good team and will probably keep their team together [in the summer transfer window]. That's possible. It's not in all years like that. I understand that he wants to do that. For the other stuff, I have nothing to say about it to be honest."

He added of Bayer: "If you watch them, it's really impressive. He put an idea on the pitch and they stick to it. They are incredible. On top of that their mentality is really special. It's crazy how many games they've won late."

The Reds return to Premier League action after the international break against Brighton this Sunday, who are managed by Roberto De Zerbi. The Italian is now among the leading candidates for the Liverpool job after Alonso's decision.

Klopp has been impressed by his work with the Seagulls who competed in Europe for the first time in their history this season. De Zerbi has managed two wins and two draws in four meetings against the Merseyside club since taking over at Brighton two years ago.

The German continued: "We all know how difficult it is against Brighton. Roberto's doing obviously an incredible job there. It's a different game against Brighton, definitely.

"I think we've improved over the 18 to 20 months since he's there and we've played them. The first game was surprising, we were the first opponent after he took over and we had no clue what to expect. We knew how he played at his former clubs.

"We knew what Graham [Potter] did [at Brighton before De Zerbi] but nobody knew how it would look. It was quite impressive how quick he got the team [playing] in his way. Since then it only got better. It's pretty impressive.

"It's a different way of playing football. We want possession, they want possession and we really need to have more possession than we've had in recent games against them. It's the best way to defend them.

"When they have the ball, you have to be ready to suffer. It's not a normal pressing game. They play it in a different way and it goes a bit against our rhythm. We have to break their rhythm. It will be super interesting.

"It's a really different way, I couldn't coach how they play. It goes against my personality. But it's a good watch! It's very demanding for the players, clear positioning, pass in the right position and in the right moment.

"He's a top coach. He's doing really well and it's super interesting to see. I like watching them to be honest. That makes it tricky [for us]. It's possession-based but even more structured from a positional point of view of each player than maybe Man City or whoever. They do really well and on their day, they can beat any team.

"I'm really looking forward to it. We will give it a try. This part of the season is obviously the one where we brought ourselves in the position where we are in a position to fight for everything. That's what we want to do."

Alonso held a press conference of his own on Friday and used it to explain why he will not be leaving Leverkusen. He said: "[Liverpool and Bayern] are clubs I respect, I played there, I have strong links to them, but it's not correct for me to speak about them right now.

"It's more about the conviction I have that I am in the right place, at Bayer Leverkusen, that I want to keep growing with the club and the players.

"I am at this stage of my young career as a coach, it's too early to talk about these things. Right now, I have a situation in the club where I feel really stable, really happy with the club."

Adblock test (Why?)