It was the news that no one expected on Friday morning as Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp announced to the media that he would be stepping down in his role come the end of the season, waving goodbye to Merseyside after eight-and-a-half years.
The club also announced that key members of Klopp’s backroom staff, assistants Pepijn Lijnders, Peter Krawietz and elite development coach Vitor Matos, are also due to move on.
Liverpool post-Klopp will now be labelled as the ‘impossible job’ for any manager. The German has won almost everything there is to win in England and whoever is to succeed him, will certainly have big boots to fill. For many Reds, that man should be ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.
During his playing career, Alonso learnt from the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafael Benitez, some of the best to ever manage at the top level. Alonso may not have the experience but some things he does have are the relationship between himself, the club and the fans relating back to his playing days at Liverpool between 2004-2009.
The World Cup winning midfielder took his first steps into management at Real Sociedad B in June 2019 and his main aim was all about developing youth. After two seasons, Alonso left the Basque Country to join German outfit Bayer Leverkusen in October 2022, replacing Gerardo Seoane.
In his first season, Alonso took Die Schwarzroten to a sixth-place finish despite the side sitting second bottom when he arrived. Fast forward to this season, Leverkusen sit top of the league unbeaten at the halfway stage and look set to end Bayern Munich’s 11-year dominance of the Bundesliga.
In the eyes of many Kopites, he is the only man they believe can continue what Klopp has built from the very beginning and what he started over the summer with this ‘new’ Liverpool.
Arguably, this is the most important decision of Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Groups, 14-year tenure and potentially the most important in the club’s history. Many fans have compared this news to the same feeling that was felt when Bill Shankly announced his retirement in 1974.
Alonso is currently the hot favourite, but if the Liverpool hierarchy do not decide to name the Spaniard as Klopp’s successor, then Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi and Julian Nagelsmann of the Germany national side are also on the shortlist.
When Klopp graces the Anfield touchline for the final time this summer, Liverpool fans will hope the legacy he leaves will stem them well for the future, no matter who is in charge.