MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

2KA9M23 Leverkusen, Germany. 01st Nov, 2022. Soccer: Champions League, Bayer Leverkusen - FC Brugge, Group Stage, Group B, Matchday 6, BayArena. Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso looks ahead to the match. Credit: Marius Becker/dpa/Alamy Live News

Xabi Alonso responds to next Liverpool manager claims – “I don’t have a direct answer!”

Hours after the shock news of Jurgen Klopp‘s resignation at Liverpool, the favourite to succeed him, Xabi Alonso, has commented on speculation.

With Klopp informing Liverpool of his intention to depart the club at the end of the season, a major upheaval is coming at Anfield.

Owners Fenway Sports Group are already searching for his successor, but are also tasked with replacing sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, assistants Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz and elite development coach Vitor Matos.

The role of manager is understandably the focus, and both fans and bookies alike have placed Alonso as the favourite to replace Klopp.

Alonso, 42, is currently manager of Bayer Leverkusen, who he has led to an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga campaign with 15 wins and three draws from 18 games.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, Alonso was asked whether he would be taking over at Liverpool.

“That’s a direct question,” he laughed. “But I don’t have a direct answer to that.”

Alonso reflected on the news of Klopp’s imminent exit: “Well, first of all, it was a surprise.

“But as well, I have huge respect for Jurgen, huge admiration.

“Before coming to Liverpool and during his years, it has been bigger and it has grown, what he has achieved and the way he has achieved that.

“At the moment I am really happy here, I am enjoying my work here.

“I am feeling that each day is a challenge, each game is a challenge, and we are in an intense and beautiful journey at Leverkusen.

“I am trying to give my best to help my players be ready for the next thing, that’s my goal.

“What will come next, I don’t know.”

Asked further about the deliberate pacing of his career as a manager so far – with Leverkusen his first senior job after a long stint in charge of Real Sociedad B – Alonso insisted he “doesn’t really care” yet what comes next.

“To be honest, I am not in that moment to think about the next step,” he explained.

“I’m thinking about where I am right now, and I think I am in a great place. I am enjoying it. I think it’s the right place, so that’s all I can say.”

Alonso continued: “What’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know and I don’t really care at the moment.”