Ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso remains the frontrunner to succeed Jürgen Klopp at Anfield this summer as his Leverkusen side continues to lead the way in Germany.
Leverkusen which is yet to taste defeat, made it 16 wins from 20 Bundesliga matches on Saturday against SV Darmstadt 98.
Alonso is only in his first senior role but has worked under some of the very best managers in the world, including Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola. His stock is on the rise and he is the clear choice among Liverpool fans to step into the breach this summer.
Dimitar Berbatov, who played for Leverkusen before moving to England with Tottenham, believes Alonso has all the attributes to become a successful Premier League manager.
“Alonso is showing so far that he can handle everything,” Berbatov told Betfair.
“Going to Liverpool, it’ll be even more challenging for him, but he’ll have the confidence he can do it based on what he’s doing right now. He’ll bring that style of play.
“It’ll fit Liverpool because there’s not much difference in the way they play to Leverkusen. They press high when they need to press, they control the ball, play from the back, playing brave passes.”
The former Manchester United striker also suggested an Anfield return may prove too much to turn down, despite Alonso being on the brink of leading Leverkusen to a first-ever Bundesliga title. He said:
“I bet Alonso has started thinking about the Liverpool job. Maybe someone has contacted him already. Let’s say he makes Leverkusen champions, he completes that unbelievable journey and then going to Liverpool will be the next step in his development.”
Berbatov also applauded Alonso for creating a positive change in Leverkusen’s team mindset.
“With Alonso coming, I saw the way the players played on the pitch. Not so much how they played football, but how they carried themselves. You can see the change in their body language, they believe that they’re playing for a really big club.
“They’re playing with confidence and no fear. Even when they’re facing bigger teams like Bayern Munich, they feel they can beat them. They’re not afraid to make mistakes because they know they’re good enough to correct the mistakes.
“The fear factor is not there. They play bravely and that’s what I like to see. Many managers will say they’re perfect for different teams, but it doesn’t always work like that. Alonso is a major candidate for the Liverpool job.”