Why Alonso staying in Leverkusen could be a blessing

Xabi Alonso
[Getty Images]

A decorated and highly popular former player who looks likely to wrest the Bundesliga title from Bayern Munich with a club from a town the size of Harrogate.

He has played under - and presumably learned from - a roll call of the greatest managers of the last 20 years.

But, with Xabi Alonso looking set to stay in Germany, it is actually fair to suggest he would not be the best choice to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool anyway.

Alonso may have been looking at his Leverkusen squad and, assuming the club - funded by pharmaceutical giant Bayer - assure him it will stay together, fancy a crack at the Champions League.

Indeed, another of his former clubs in Real Madrid may well be looking for a new manager in 2025 and they quietly seem on the brink of creating a young squad for the ages.

Alonso staying in Germany will disappoint many Liverpool fans and understandably so. He seemed the perfect fit.

It might be a blessing though. He has just 14 months' experience as a manager and managing Leverkusen is not like managing Liverpool.

He would arrive on a wave of goodwill and emotion, but that would be no good when you are 2-0 down to Brentford at Anfield on the back of two draws.

There would be 55,000 eyes trained on him to see if a man with just 17 months' experience as a manager to fall back on - and none of it in adversity - was the equal of Klopp.

It's well known Alonso inherited the team that sat second bottom of the Bundesliga, but they were a good squad that had had a bad start; they finished third the year before.

He has them playing compelling, efficient football - they are unbeaten all season - and while the Bundesliga is weaker than usual, it is incredibly impressive.

But so was, for example, Andre Villas-Boas' one season at Porto in 2010-11. He was undefeated in the league - which Porto won by 20 points - and also won the cup and Europa League.

That, too, was his second season as a manager. His third was at Chelsea and the rookie was found wanting.

Liverpool will provide a different environment, but succeeding Klopp is patently a mammoth task.