Bayer Leverkusen chief speaks out on Xabi Alonso’s future amid Liverpool links

Xabi Alonso is ‘sure’ to stay at Bayer Leverkusen next season, the club’s sporting director Simon Rolfes has said, amid rumours that the coach could join Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp announced in January that he will leave Liverpool this summer, and Alonso – who played for the Anfield side from 2004 until 2009 – was quickly named the bookies’ favourite to replace the German.

Alonso is in vogue at the moment, having guided Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga and to an emphatic 3-0 win over champions Bayern Munich on Saturday (10 February). The Spaniard is relatively inexperienced as a coach, however, having only previously coached Real Sociedad’s reserve team, before joining Leverkusen in October 2022.

At the weekend, Rolfes was asked by Sport1 whether Alonso, 42, will remain at Leverkusen next season.

“Yes, I’m sure of that,” he replied. “The first thing is the structure of the contract.

“The other is how good he feels – his family, himself – and that he knows what he has at the club. Also, [the fact] that he has a very good team, we have very good prospects next year, and there won’t be any upheaval in the team. Next year, we’re certain to have a top team at our disposal.

“There are [always] factors, whether with coaches like Xabi or even players, which attract the interest of other clubs regardless of contracts, but many stay with us anyway.”

Rolfes also paid tribute to Alonso, whose current contract is set to keep him at Leverkusen until 2026.

“Now and then he surprises me, too,” Rolfes said. “But what we, and he, always say internally is: ‘Everyone has their role, and we have a good squad.’ Within that, everyone has the quality to play their part well.

“Xabi has this courage not only to pick the starting XI but also to sometimes say, ‘I’m adjusting the system,’ even bringing other guys onto the pitch at times. We’re not trapped in a system that dictates how we play football.”

Xabi Alonso (left) with Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes (Getty Images)
Xabi Alonso (left) with Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes (Getty Images)

Leverkusen’s win on Saturday extended their lead over second-placed Bayern to five points in the Bundesliga. The result also kept Leverkusen unbeaten in the competition this season, with 17 wins and four draws.

Leverkusen’s last major trophy came in 1993, when they won the DFB Pokal. In 2011, the club finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga for the fifth time; they have never won the trophy, which Alonso lifted three times as a Bayern player.