‘A lot of noise…’ – Ex-Liverpool boss sounds cautionary note over ‘intelligent’ Xabi Alonso

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Xabi Alonso would be many Liverpool fans’ pick to take over from Jurgen Klopp in the summer, although one former Reds boss has sounded a cautionary note over potentially appointing the Bayer Leverkusen boss.

The Spaniard was brought to Anfield by Rafael Benitez in 2004 and sold to Real Madrid by the same coach five years later, with the world-class midfielder now proving equally adept at management, taking his current side from the relegation zone to hot favourites for the Bundesliga title in just 16 months.

The 42-year-old has made an impression on his ex-LFC boss, who told The Athletic“When he took over last season, they needed to play a lot on the counter-attack. Now they have a team which is more of a protagonist, with a lot of pace, a lot of fast attacking.

“He is doing very good work. Xabi has been at good teams with good coaches. He is intelligent. He has picked up different things from all his coaches.”

However, Benitez warned against appointing Alonso purely as a popular choice, saying: “There is a lot of noise around Xabi Alonso at the moment, but there are lots of other good coaches not so much in the media spotlight.

“Teams have to choose not what is trending on social media, but the characteristics they need and the stability and path they want for their team.”

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While Benitez has a point in warning against clubs hiring managers solely because they’re the flavour of the month, it’s hard to think of a reasonably attainable alternative who’d be a better fit for Liverpool than Alonso.

The Anfield connections obviously help, but if that were the sole criterion for FSG appointing Klopp’s successor, then Steven Gerrard may well have been given the role already.

The 42-year-old has done an exceptional job at Leverkusen, not just domestically but also in Europe, where they represent seemingly the biggest obstacle to the Reds going the distance in the Europa League this year.

Not only does Alonso boast the Bundesliga’s second-best attack with 57 goals, he’s also responsible for the division’s best defensive record by far with only 15 conceded, 10 fewer than the next stingiest team (Bayern Munich).

Those are numbers which suggest that he strikes the perfect balance in terms of both penalty boxes, and the clamour for him to take over from Klopp is based on much more than just his status as a former Liverpool player.

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