Xabi Alonso leads Liverpool's seven-manager shortlist in search for Jurgen Klopp replacement


Liverpool have drawn up a shortlist of seven managers in their search for a successor to manager Jurgen Klopp, though are only just beginning the formal hiring process, 90min understands.

Klopp announced towards the end of January that he would be leaving Liverpool this summer, much to the shock of the footballing world.

Liverpool also have a sporting director vacancy to fill, and 90min understands the club would prefer to find a candidate here before turning their full attention to the manager situation with that hire on board. Nevertheless, the club have had two months to do their due diligence on Klopp's replacement after he informed them of his decision privately in November.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso is the early favourite and frontrunner for the manager's job, though he is not guaranteed to get the gig due to the ongoing sporting director search.

Alonso would be interested in a return to Liverpool as manager, but he is currently focused on trying to deliver Leverkusen their first ever Bundesliga title - they moved five points clear at the top of the table with a 3-0 win against Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Liverpool are not the only former club of Alonso’s that are admirers of his work, with Real Madrid aware Carlo Ancelotti will not be around forever despite recently signing a new contract, while Thomas Tuchel's future at Bayern has been called into question even if he is safe for now.

Alonso could also continue to build at Leverkusen, though 90min understands he is aware his success so far is in part down to the quality of players at his disposal, and the club are expected to sell at least two of their stars in the summer transfer window. Joining Liverpool this year instead of waiting another season for an offer from Madrid or Bayern could therefore suit the Spaniard.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Roberto De Zerbi and Germany national team coach Julian Nagelsmann are also serious contenders, as is Tottenham Hotspur head coach Ange Postecoglou, who was a boyhood Liverpool fan. However, Spurs are completely relaxed about the Greek-Australian's situation and believe he will stay - Postecoglou may even decline an interview if approached.

Sporting CP's Ruben Amorim is admired by those upstairs at Anfield, but he is thought to be part of a wider search and not a leading contender at this stage due to his lack of experience in a top-five league. Aston Villa's Unai Emery and Benfica's Roger Schmidt have both been discussed internally at Liverpool.

Club legend Steven Gerrard had appeared to be making headway as a potential Klopp successor earlier in his managerial career after ending Rangers' nine-year wait for a Scottish title in 2021 and making a decent start to life at Aston Villa upon his move to the West Midlands, but his stock has fallen and he is now at Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq. As such, he is not a contender to replace Klopp, but Liverpool would be in mind to offer him an interview out of respect if he were to ask for one.

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