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Surprise name who was sacked by Bayer Leverkusen emerges on Liverpool manager shortlist

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Liverpool are still on the lookout for their Jurgen Klopp replacement.

Liverpool have reportedly compiled a four-man managerial shortlist after Xabi Alonso confirmed he would stay at Bayer Leverkusen – and it features a former Leverkusen boss.

Alonso was considered a leading contender to take over from Jurgen Klopp once the German leaves his position this summer.

But following talks with his current club, former Reds midfielder Alonso confirmed that he would be staying with Leverkusen next season.

He said: “After a lot of talks about my future, I used the break to reflect and make my decision. This is the place for me.

“My job at Bayer is not over. I want to help the club, help the players to develop. The board is great – it’s all fantastic here.”

Now, according to The Times, Liverpool have a new four-man shortlist to replace Klopp, featuring Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi, Lens boss Franck Haise and Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim.

But perhaps the most intriguing name on the reported shortlist is that of Benfica boss Roger Schmidt.

The German boss has guided his side to be key contenders in the race for Portugal’s Primeira Liga, with 20 wins and just two losses from 26 games prior to Friday’s clash with Chaves.

Benfica won Portugal’s top flight last season, with Schmidt having left Dutch giants PSV – where he won two trophies in two seasons – in the summer of 2022.

Prior to that, he spent two years in China with Beijing Guoan, where he won the Chinese FA Cup in 2018.

Schmidt took that role months after being sacked by Leverkusen, with the side in ninth place in the Bundesliga. In what was a difficult season, the German coach’s final game in charge saw his side thrashed 6-2 by Borussia Dortmund.

But before then, Leverkusen had recorded third and fourth-placed finishes under Schmidt, which meant they twice qualified for the Champions League.

The third-placed finish was all the more impressive in 2016/17 after the club lost key players such as Gonzalo Castro and Son Heung-min in the summer.

He was previously linked with taking the job at Arsenal to replace Arsene Wenger, while Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has also cited him as an option for the Anfield role.

Speaking to RedmenTV earlier this year, Carragher said: “There’s the guy at Benfica that I’ve heard mentioned, Roger Schmidt, who I think has got that link to the Red Bull school.

“I think when people are mentioning him, it’s almost sort of the style is similar to Klopp’s style. So you think, ‘Okay, would that be a good fit, and would you have to change that much?'”

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