Blow for Liverpool as manager target Xabi Alonso decides to stay in Germany

Staying put - Xabi Alonso is staying at Bayer Leverkusen Credit: PA Images

Liverpool's bid to replace Jurgen Klopp with former player and Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso has ended in disappointment.

The Spaniard has announced he will remain manager of Leverkusen next season, with the club currently unbeaten in all competitions and 10 points ahead of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga with eight games to play.

Hopes had been high at Anfield that the 42-year-old, who played 210 games for the Reds between 2004 and 2009 and won the Champions League during his first campaign, would take over from Klopp when he steps down in the summer.

However, those plans have been scuppered by Alonso’s decision to stay and build on what looks to be a first-ever title for the BayArena side.

“I’m in the right place here,” he said at his press conference to preview the weekend clash with Hoffenheim. “I’ll stay with Bayer.

“My job is not over here. Putting everything together, I’ve taken this important decision. I am convinced it’s the right one.

Alonso was warmly applauded at Anfield during a recent Liveprool Legends game Credit: PA Images

“This is my first full season as a manager. I still have a lot of things to prove and to experience. Right now, I have situation where I feel really stable and happy.

“We’re in a situation we have to enjoy. There are still two months to go, it’s going to be really intense and demanding, but enjoyable, hopefully. We’ll go full gas for the big goals we have ahead of us. Let’s see how far we can go, but our wish is clear.”

There is a chance that Leverkusen and Liverpool could meet in what would be Klopp’s final game in charge, the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22, having been kept on opposite sides of the draw for the quarter and semi-finals.

When asked about Alonso’s decision at his own press conference, Klopp said: “One part I can speak about is that he’s a young manager at a club where he’s doing really well.

Jurgen Klopp said of Alonso: ''He's doing really well.'' Credit: PA Images

“The club are doing an incredible job there. Leverkusen have a good team, probably will keep their team together, I think that’s possible this year as well, it’s not all years like that. So I understand that he wants to do that. And for the other stuff (the links to Liverpool), there’s nothing I have to say about that.”

The development forces Liverpool to consider alternative candidates to succeed the German, who has won the Premier League and Champions League during his near nine seasons in charge.

Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi are the two names most strongly linked with the job.

De Zerbi(left) and Amorim are strong contenders for the Anfield hot-seat Credit: PA Images

Alonso had been courted by another of his former clubs, Bayern Munich, who are in search of a manager with Thomas Tuchel due to step down at the end of the season.

Real Madrid, with whom he won two La Liga titles and the Champions League after leaving Anfield, had also reportedly been interested.

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