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Liverpool players ‘pick who they want to replace Jurgen Klopp’ as Xabi Alonso overlooked

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Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season after nearly nine years in charge of the Anfield club, with the German citing exhaustion as a driving factor in his decision.

Liverpool players want Jurgen Klopp’s number two Pep Lijnders to replace the German as boss – not current favourite Xabi Alonso.

That’s according to talkSPORT duo Alan Brazil and Dean Saunders, who claim they have behind-the-scenes information that the Reds squad are keen for Klopp’s assistant to take the reins to reduce disruption.

Klopp rocked the footballing world in January when he announced he would be walking away from Liverpool at the end of the season after nearly nine years in charge of the Anfield club.

The German cited exhaustion as a driving factor in his decision to quit, adding that he believes Liverpool are in a good place for a new boss to come in and hit the ground running.

Discussing what’s next for Liverpool, Brazil said on talkSPORT: “I am told the players wouldn’t mind the number two, Pep taking over.” Saunders added: “I heard that as well. At least Lijnders knows what’s going on there. It’s difficult, who do you give the job to? That club is that big.”

Lijnders joined Liverpool back in 2014 and initially worked alongside Brendan Rodgers. Klopp kept him on when he took the reins in 2015, but three seasons later the Dutchman left Liverpool to manage NEC in the Netherlands.

After a year in his homeland, Lijnders returned to Anfield in 2018 and played a key role in Liverpool winning both Champions League and Premier League titles.

It is unclear what the future holds for Lijnders beyond this season, with Bayer Leverkusen boss Alonso ahead of him in the pecking order to replace Klopp in the Liverpool hot seat.

Lijnders has also suggested he wouldn’t want the top job at Liverpool, and that he will leave the club with Klopp. He said: “Nobody will replace Jurgen. I was clear, to be honest, when we had the talk a long time ago – for me it was clear and it made it easier for me.

“We knew in the summer, ‘OK we are going towards the end of this project’. It’s too much about me… we play in a final in 48 hours. I understand, so I think I have given answers in interviews.

“I always got offers and my heart says yes, but my loyalty to Mike [Gordon] and Jurgen said no. So we agreed to finish this project together and it is the right way to do it.

“They will find a new coach with ideas and I am excited to manage to find the right club. But until the last final of the season, I am focused on Liverpool and that is why we have agents, no?”

Alonso, who played for the Reds between 2004 and 2009, has guided his Leverkusen side to the top of the Bundesliga – seven points clear of Bayern Munich with a game in hand.

But the Spaniard is also attracting attention from Bayern, who are in the market for a new boss come the end of the season after announcing Thomas Tuchel will step down.

Alonso has been coy about his future when quizzed on Liverpool and Bayern Munich’s interest in him. “Right now I’m assuming that [I’ll be Bayer Leverkusen boss next season].

“Right now I’m the coach and that’s certain. Regarding the future, I have nothing new to say. We’ll see. It’s normal that there are questions, but this is not the right moment to talk about that.”

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