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Xabi Alonso – Our next manager in waiting?

So Jurgen Klopp is sadly leaving, and hopefully our personal grieving processes are moving on and we can start looking to the future.

There’s a lot of noise around Xabi Alonso, so I thought it would be interesting to look at the possibility and to discuss whether it might work for us.

Following Klopp will be an incredibly difficult act to follow. His success at our beloved club, dragging us out of mediocrity to being world-beaters, will always be remembered. His personality seems to be a perfect fit for us. He has immense passion alongside humour and warmth, put forward in a cloak of overwhelming charisma.

Following on from icons of management has always been challenging. We did ok following Bill Shankly, but Man Utd still haven’t adequately replaced Alex Ferguson. We really need to get this decision right.

I think a real pointer to potential managerial success can be over-achieving with limited resources. We’re talking Jose Mourinho at Porto, or Rafael Benitez at Valencia. Sorry to mention Ferguson again, but he broke the Glasgow domination of Scottish football with Aberdeen. Klopp himself did extraordinarily well at Dortmund who were quite average before.

So this brings me to the current time, and Xabi Alonso at Bayer Leverkusen. He would appear to be working miracles. They lie top of the Bundesliga, and demolished Bayern Munich 3-0 last weekend.

His team tends to play in a certain way. He plays five back defensively, but in possession the wing-backs get freedom to push on. We know that one really well, and have the players. Alonso left Madrid as he was desperate to learn from Pep Guardiola at Munich. You can tell some of Guardiola’s philosophy has rubbed off with the short-passing game Bayer 04 tend to utilize.

But will Anfield cope with controlled football the likes of which is seen at the Etihad? Personally, I don’t see that as being a problem. He knows our club and has learnt from so many managers including Benitez, Carlo Ancelotti and Mourinho. Hopefully a hybrid style of a controlled game with bursts of super intensity may ensue. To be honest, if it wins trophies I can cope.

Ideally, I’d have liked this opportunity to come for Alonso in a year or two. The problem is I’m not sure there are any other potential managers around who ‘get’ our wonderful club.

De Zerbi is possibly overachieving at Brighton, and Michel at Girona seems to be doing a good job, but Xabi’s connection with our club makes him the outstanding candidate in my eyes.

There’s some talk about Steven Gerrard coming in as his assistant, but I’m not so sure to be honest. He is one of the greatest players ever to have worn the red shirt, but he always did his ‘talking’ with his feet rather than inspiring with words.

So I’d be happy if Xabi Alonso were to become our new manager. We may well have to draw a mental line under the Klopp years and give him time (and money hopefully) to build a new, vibrant team to take us forward, hopefully for years to come.

If you like Dr Andy Hershon’s writing, check out his book – 15 Minutes With You: Tips on Medical Consulation and Other Musings

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