Bayer Leverkusen chief rules out Xabi Alonso joining Liverpool this summer


Bayer Leverkusen director Simon Rolfes has affirmed that he is "sure" that Liverpool-linked Xabi Alonso will still be at the club for the 2024-25 season.

Ever since Jurgen Klopp publicly announced his decision to step down from the Reds at the end of the current campaign, Liverpool fans have urged the hierarchy to roll out the red carpet for Alonso.

The erstwhile Liverpool midfielder - a member of their 2004-05 Champions League winning-squad - quickly emerged as the leading candidate for the Anfield post thanks to his remarkable exploits since taking over at Leverkusen in October 2022.

After taking Die Werkself to the semi-finals of the Europa League during his first campaign in charge, Alonso has masterminded an exceptional Bundesliga run for Leverkusen, who lead the way at the top of the pile with 55 points from 21 games.

The Spaniard's side opened up a five-point lead over perpetual champions Bayern Munich with a dominant 3-0 win over Thomas Tuchel's men on Saturday, but whether he will continue to lead Leverkusen for the 2024-25 season and beyond is another question entirely.

Alonso was inevitably pressed on links with the Liverpool job after Klopp dropped his resignation bombshell, and while he has insisted that he is happy in Germany, he has refused to completely shut the door on returning to Anfield in a managerial capacity.

It has been claimed that Liverpool have already made contact with the 42-year-old, but two more of his former clubs - Bayern and Real Madrid - could also make a play for him if Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti leave their posts.

However, Alonso is still contracted to Leverkusen until the end of the 2025-26 season, and speaking to SPORT1, Rolfes expressed confidence that he would remain on the BayArena touchline this summer.

When asked if he was hopeful of retaining Alonso's services, Rolfes responded: "Yes I'm sure. One is contract constellations. The other thing is how comfortable he feels, the family, himself and that he knows what he has in the club.

"He also has a very good team, we will have a very good perspective next year and there is no change in the team. We will definitely have a top team available next year. These are all points that, in addition to contracts, coaches like Xabi but also players who arouse interest from other clubs often keep us with us."

Rolfes also talked up Alonso's tactical acumen and ability to adapt to on-field situations, adding: "He surprises me every now and then. What we and he always say internally: Everyone has their role, and we have a good squad. Everyone has the quality to play a good role.

"Xabi has the courage to not only commit to an eleven, but also to say: I'll adapt the system and bring other guys onto the pitch. We are not trapped in the system that is based on how we play football."

Alonso - who coached in the youth systems of Real Madrid and Real Sociedad before heading to Germany - has now taken charge of 68 matches for Leverkusen, achieving 44 wins, 14 draws and 10 defeats in all tournaments.

Liverpool's board have been on the hunt for a successor to Klopp since November, having been informed privately that the German would be stepping down after nearly nine glittering years at the helm.

Klopp's achievements on Merseyside include winning the Reds' sixth European Cup and first-ever Premier League, while they are still in contention to win an unprecedented quadruple this season.

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