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I have followed Xabi Alonso’s managerial career since Day 1 – what he really thinks about Liverpool matters

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The second part of John Aldridge’s ECHO column on the job Liverpool-linked Xabi Alonso is doing at Bayer Leverkusen.

I’ve noticed a lot more Liverpool fans are invested in the results of Bayer Leverkusen since Jurgen Klopp announced his decision to step down at the end of the season.

Xabi Alonso has the German side absolutely flying and their 3-0 win over Bayern Munich on Saturday was a real sit-up-and-take-note sort of result, wasn’t it? The manner of the victory against the top team in the Bundesliga was stunning and if there were still some fans who hadn’t seen what the former Reds midfielder was capable of then they are aware of it now.

Xabi’s side are unbeaten all season and now have a five-point lead over Bayern at the top of the table. There might still be some twists and turns in that one but imagine how high his stock will rise to if he can become the first manager since a certain Jurgen Klopp to beat Munich to the German title.

A lot of fans are now paying closer attention to Alonso’s managerial career than ever before but I’ve been watching him from day one, when he took over at Real Sociedad’s B team.

Of course, as a former Sociedad striker, I’ve always kept an interest in how my old side have been getting on and he became the first man to take them to the second tier of Spanish football for the first time in over 50 years back in 2021.

As a player he learned from some of the best managers around and won absolutely everything with club and country across a decorated career with the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Spain. All that knowledge has been on display this season at Leverkusen.

He’s looked like a class act from the start and I know him fairly well too, he is a top guy. He absolutely loves Liverpool as well, by the way. That matters.

Of course, whoever comes in to replace Klopp will be a gamble, won’t it? He is the best manager in the world and Liverpool fans wouldn’t swap him for anyone after so long here and with the success he’s had. So whoever comes in will have big shoes to fill.

Look at what happened when Alex Ferguson left Manchester United over 10 years ago now. They fell off a cliff and haven’t really got back to where they want to be since after a number of managers. I think Liverpool are in better shape as a squad than the team David Moyes inherited but whoever comes in is a gamble.

But let me say this, I’ve watched Alonso from his days with my old club Soceidad and he looks the real deal. So why not?

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