Xabi Alonso to stay at Bayer Leverkusen amid Liverpool interest

Xabi Alonso has announced he will remain as manager of Bayer Leverkusen next season, effectively ending Liverpool’s hopes of appointing him as Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

The former midfielder has guided the Bundesliga side to a 10-point lead at the top of the table with eight games to play, in a so-far unbeaten season in all competitions as they also target Europa League and DFB-Pokal glory.

It had been hoped at Anfield that the 42-year-old, who played 210 games for the Reds between 2004 and 2009 and won the Champions League during his first campaign, could be persuaded to take over from Klopp when he steps down in the summer.

However, those plans have been scuppered by Alonso’s decision to stay and build on what looks to be a first-ever title for the BayArena side.

“I’m in the right place here,” he said at his Friday press conference to preview the weekend clash with Hoffenheim.

“Last week I had a meeting [with club officials] and informed them of the decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen.”

Alonso’s Leverkusen are unbeaten so far this season.

There is a chance that the two teams could meet in what would be Klopp’s final game in charge, the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22, having been kept on opposite sides of the draw for the quarter and semi-finals.

Leverkusen face West Ham in the last eight whilst Klopp’s side take on Serie A outfit Atalanta.

Alonso’s decision forces Liverpool to consider alternative candidates to succeed the German, who has won the Premier League and Champions League during his near nine seasons in charge.

Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim and Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi are the two names most strongly linked with the job.

Alonso had been courted by another of his former clubs, Bayern Munich, who are in search of a manager with Thomas Tuchel due to step down at the end of the season.

Real Madrid, with whom he won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League after leaving Anfield, had also reportedly been interested.

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