Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has discussed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and spoken about our German boss in glowing terms.
The legendary Spanish midfielder left Liverpool in 2009, and has since gone on to enjoy a wonderful career with Real Madrid and now the German champions.
Now 34, Alonso’s chance of a return to Anfield is probably over, with the MLS the more likely destination, but he’s taken time to praise Klopp.
“It’s important to find the right man [for the Liverpool job]. I think that so far, in just a few months, he has embraced the Liverpool culture, what the club means, how the fans are, the passion you need to have to represent Liverpool,” he told ESPN, reported by the Echo.
“He’s a special character, I think, and that’s why he’s loving it so far. Hopefully, in the new season he can turn those good feelings into something more.”
We’d have loved to see Alonso back at Liverpool previously, but accept his lack of pace or physicality centrally doesn’t directly suit Klopp’s style. Our manager needs big, powerful midfielders with engines and bite – that’s why he signed Marko Grujic and Gini Wijnaldum instead of more cultured deep-lying playmaker like Alonso.
Bar Steven Gerrard, Alonso, for us, is the best central midfielder we’ve had in the Premier League era. Javier Mascherano and Didi Hamann were more destructive, but Alonso’s ability to control tempo and play passes from deep was unrivalled.
Rafa Benitez’s biggest mistake, without a doubt, is trying to sign Gareth Barry as Alonso’s replacement, which forced Xabi out of the club a season later.