Alonso Will Be An Ideal Replacement For Klopp

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Jamie Redknapp has voiced his opinion that Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso is the ideal candidate to take over from Jürgen Klopp as Liverpool’s manager at the conclusion of this season. He is among a number of football personalities endorsing Alonso as Klopp’s successor. In light of this, we spoke with Liverpool and England icon John Barnes to explore the implications of appointing Xabi Alonso, to consider what might be on the horizon for Jürgen Klopp, and to assess the performances of Ryan Gravenberch and Cody Gakpo.

In this article: 

  • Alonso will be an ideal replacement for Klopp
  • Barnes quashes Klopp links to Barca and Madrid 
  • International football doesn’t suit Klopp 
  • Criticism of Gakpo and Gravenberch unfair

Xabi Alonso, currently at the helm of Bayer Leverkusen, has been warned that stepping into Jürgen Klopp’s shoes at Liverpool could well be a recipe for disappointment. The Spanish manager recently guided his team to a commendable 3-0 triumph against Bayern Munich, thereby extending their lead to five points at the top of the Bundesliga. Amidst speculation, there’s a notion that the Liverpool managerial position could become a poisoned chalice once Klopp departs. Despite such concerns, John Barnes remains optimistic about Alonso’s prospects, crediting Liverpool’s strategic squad development in recent years as a solid foundation for success.

“Of course it will be tough for Alonso to take over from Klopp but he’s not setting himself up to fail at all because Liverpool are in a very healthy state with the young players they have.” 

“Look at the age and the profile of the players. The characters.” 

“If you have ambition that can’t scare you.” 

“Successful managers are always a difficult act to follow. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.” 

“If you have faith in your ability and a good squad, with good characters you have a great chance.” 

Barnes holds the view that, although succeeding a manager who has achieved considerable success with a club poses its challenges, Alonso—or any other candidate who might take over from Klopp—will likely face minimal difficulties. The challenges of such transitions have been clearly illustrated in recent history, as seen with Manchester United following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and Arsenal after Arsene Wenger stepped down. 

“I don’t think Alonso is setting himself up to fail at all.”  

“I think Xabi Alonso will be an ideal replacement for Klopp. People will support him. It’s always going to be difficult but the club moves on.”

“He’ll bring in one or two of his own players but I don’t think Liverpool need an overhaul and players already at the club will be respectful enough to know he’s the manager.” 

“I can’t see any manager coming in having an issue even if it’s not Alonso.” 

Suggestions have been made that the sheer intensity and passion Jürgen Klopp invests in managing Liverpool have contributed to his decision to part ways with the club. Klopp’s approach to management is characterised by high energy and involvement, extending beyond the pitch to the day-to-day operations of the club. This has become even more pronounced following the departures of key figures like Michael Edwards and Julian Ward in recent times. According to Barnes, while Klopp is likely to take a sabbatical from football, he possesses the attributes to excel in any coaching role he opts for in the future.

“Anything can happen in football but the Klopp to Barcelona rumours are people putting two and two together.” 

“I think Klopp is going to take time out and who knows what he does after.” 

“I don’t think he’s even thought about what he’s going to do after leaving Liverpool.”

“Klopp could go anywhere with the qualities that he has.” 

“Look at his character. It has to be reflective of the club. Would he suit a Real Madrid or Barcelona? I’m not so sure because look at the clubs he’s been at. There’s always been a situation where he’s the person with the main power.” 

“Is that the same at Bayern Munich or Real Madrid? I don’t know.” 

“He could definitely do a job at Real Madrid if player power and the Galacticos aspect is no longer an important thing to Madrid and Perez.” 

“In terms of international management he seems better suited to club football.” 

International Football Doesn’t Suit Klopp 

The German national team managerial position, regarded as one of the most prestigious roles in football, has been associated with Klopp. However, the relatively infrequent day-to-day engagements that come with managing a national team may not align well with Klopp’s managerial philosophy and vibrant personality, as Barnes suggests. Klopp’s hands-on approach and passion for constant interaction with his team could mean that the less frequent pace of national team management might not be the best fit for his style.

“As an international manager, these are not your players and you don’t have a true authority on the style of play compared to club football.” 

“You only have the players for five days before you play a match and then you don’t see them for two months so how much can you influence a style from a managerial perspective?’ 

“Is that suited to Jurgen Klopp?” 

“Most players that are picked for international football are influenced by their clubs.” 

“Klopp is such a demanding and all encompassing coach. You have to play his way.” 

“But Klopp is good enough and respected enough to do well at International level.”

Criticism Of Gakpo & Gravenberch Unfair

There has been some scrutiny over the recent performances of Cody Gakpo and Ryan Gravenberch, with both Dutch players facing criticism, especially following the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates two weeks ago. Both have been part of the recent Liverpool rebuild post Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Despite this, the former England winger contends that singling out the two Dutchmen is unjust.

“Everybody has to improve in the squad but at the end of the day, we’re top of the league and have lost to Arsenal and Tottenham.” 

“Before the Arsenal loss we were five points clear at the top of the league so why do they need to improve.” 

“You always want players to improve things like work rate but I don’t think it’s fair to pick out Gakpo and Gravenberch as players that need to improve.” 

“Liverpool have lost two games all season and the Tottenham game we shouldn’t have lost.” 

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