Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has predicted who will be Liverpool’s next manager.
Carragher compared Xabi Alonso’s managerial trajectory to that of Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp – and believes the Spaniard will succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
The 42-year-old is currently the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Klopp, who announced he would be stepping down from the position after an illustrious nine-year spell at Anfield.
Alonso, who spent five years as a player at Anfield after joining in 2004 and was part of Rafa Benitez’s Champions League-winning side in his debut season, has won plenty of plaudits for his work at Bayer Leverkusen since taking the managerial reins in 2022, the Germans on course for their first-ever Bundesliga title.
Leverkusen defeated title rivals Bayern Munich 3-0 on Saturday to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga and extend his side’s unbeaten run to 31 games across all competitions.
And Carragher admits Alonso’s “remarkable” job at the BayArena reminds him of Mourinho and Klopp’s underdog success at FC Porto and Borussia Dortmund before earning their big breaks in Europe.
“We’re going to look at it because I think there’s a great chance he will become the next Liverpool manager, he seems the standout favourite. When you think of the great managers and where they start, a lot of them do something pretty remarkable at maybe a lower level,” said Carragher, speaking on Monday Night Football.
“You think of what Jose did at FC Porto, winning a Champions League there, you think of Jurgen Klopp, winning two titles with Borussia Dortmund and now I think of Xabi Alonso and if actually achieves what it looks like their favourites now to achieve – to win a Bundesliga – and the result that they had at the weekend.
“I think it will be really insightful to actually see, if he is in the Premier League next season, what is his way of playing? How does he go about it and how would it be different to Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team?”
Continuing to assess Alonso’s style of play, Carragher highlighted that the Spaniard employs tactics similar to those of Pep Guardiola, who was Alonso’s manager during his time at Bayern Munich in 2014.
“Liverpool are a more direct team, they go faster, they use counter-attacks more,” added Carragher. “Bayer Leverkusen, this team and maybe his influence, is more Pep Guardiola. It’s more Manchester City – because he’s been his manager.
“But if Xabi Alonso was to become the Liverpool manager, which I think he will, I actually feel Liverpool have been quite fortunate that Jürgen Klopp has left at this time, is moving on, and the time for Xabi Alonso to step in is pretty perfect with the job that he’s doing.
“He has to have his own philosophy and put his imprint on the team. But this team is so used to playing in a certain way under Jürgen Klopp, and also the fact that Anfield, the crowd, the energy – Xabi Alonso knows that. So I actually think you’d see a merger of the two styles if he was to get the job.
“But I have no doubt that right now, he’s the brightest young thing out there now as a manager.”
Liverpool are currently top of the Premier League, into the last-16 of both the FA Cup and Europa League and will face Chelsea in the League Cup final later this month.