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Liverpool faces familiar problem over Jürgen Klopp successor and Jude Bellingham knows why

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A clear favorite has emerged to eventually take over from Jürgen Klopp when he leaves Liverpool, although the Reds could encounter a familiar problem before then.

Jürgen Klopp’s eventual departure from Liverpool is a moment the club’s fans would rather not think about.

The German’s influence at Anfield is simply remarkable. He has turned what was once a club struggling to rediscover its former glories amid an ongoing descent into mid-table obscurity, into an all-conquering behemoth, all while contending with a much more restricted budget than Manchester City — and some of the sides that have regularly finished below the Reds for that matter.

Liverpool faces familiar problem over Jürgen Klopp successor and Jude Bellingham knows why

There are very few, if any, managers Liverpool could call upon to make a similar impact, which makes 2026 a daunting prospect.

That is of course when Klopp’s contract is set to expire, and having surprised many with his decision to extend his stay last year, it does feel as though that may be the final time he makes such a call.

Numerous candidates have been touted as possible successors, although one familiar name seems to have emerged as a leading option among some supporters.

Xabi Alonso is certainly making all the right moves as a manager. Having taken over at Bayer Leverkusen last year, he guided the German side away from the relegation zone and to a sixth-place finish, as well as a Europa League semi-final.

And he’s picked up where he left off last season, with his side sitting top of the Bundesliga table after seven games, having won six and drawn one.

It’s no surprise then that Leverkusen tied Alonso down to a new deal in the summer, with the former Liverpool midfielder’s new deal set to expire in 2026 — the same time as Klopp’s.

And even more intriguingly, SportBILD (via FourFourTwo) now claims there is a clause in the contract that would allow him to leave for certain top clubs — namely Liverpool, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.

That might well lead to some Liverpool fans getting excited at the prospect of Alonso eventually succeeding Klopp at Anfield, but that clause could also prove to be a major barrier for the Reds.

The problem is, Bayern and Real are far more likely to be on the lookout for new managers before Liverpool. Thomas Tuchel perhaps hasn’t had long enough to prove himself at the former, and he did win last season’s Bundesliga — albeit thanks to a major collapse from Borussia Dortmund on the final day — so he may well get longer in Bavaria.

But Los Blancos are a much different proposition. Reports on the continent have suggested Carlo Ancelotti will leave the Bernabéu next summer, regardless of whether he wins any silverware this season (Globo Esporte, via Football Espana). Even if he doesn’t leave of his own volition, a season without a trophy has proven to be enough for Real to dispense of its managers in the past.

Alonso therefore might become a wanted man very soon, especially if he continues with his success in Germany. And when Real Madrid comes calling, invariably the Spanish giant gets what it wants.

Liverpool knows that better than most. Just in the last year, it missed out on Aurélien Tchouaméni and Jude Bellingham as the pair made the move to the Spanish capital, and even Alonso made the move from Anfield to the Bernabéu during his playing days.

Real of course knows the draw it has over other clubs. José Manuel Otero, a member of Madrid’s board of directors, said as much when discussing a conversation with Manchester City about Bellingham.

“They told us this the other day at lunch with [City Football Group-owned] Girona,” he said on a Twitch stream (via Football Transfers). “People from Manchester City came to eat and told us that they had been talking to Bellingham.

“They said that the father had entertained them a little by giving them hope, but Jude said no, he wanted to play for Real Madrid. That is happening with many players. When the prospect of signing for Real Madrid opens up to them, they forget everything else. Madrid is the best way to achieve glory.”

Alonso would be something of a dream appointment as Liverpool manager, especially now that Steven Gerrard’s chances have suffered serious damage.

As Otero says though, if Real Madrid comes calling before the Reds, they might have no other choice but to watch yet another slip from their grasp.

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