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Exclusive: John Barnes Makes Xabi Alonso Managerial Claim

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Today, we had the opportunity to speak with John Barnes, the former Liverpool winger, about the bombshell news that arrived last week following Jürgen Klopp’s confirmation that he would be leaving Liverpool Football Club this summer. Barnes discussed Klopp’s legacy and who he believes will be the ideal replacement for the German.

In this article:

  • Liverpool will want to go out with a bang after Klopp news
  • Alonso is the natural successor for Klopp
  • Alonso is intelligent and clever enough to adapt to the Liverpool squad
  • Klopp has left Liverpool with the right profile to maintain success

Liverpool Will Want To Go Out With A Bang After Klopp News

Last week witnessed the season’s bombshell when Jürgen Klopp announced his decision to step down from his role at the end of the season. Klopp used an interview with Liverpool’s official website to explain his reasons for leaving, citing a lack of ‘energy’ after eight and a half years of success on Merseyside. Barnes admitted his shock at Klopp’s departure but believes Liverpool will finish the season on a high.

“I must admit him leaving came as a bit of a shock but this happens in football and he’s been unbelievably successful at the club and the fans have taken to him like no other.

“In my opinion he’s in the top two or three Liverpool managers of all time alongside Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley. Kenny (Dagliesh) too. It is a shock and it’s sad to see him go but the club continues. Only he knows why he’s going.

“The players will now want to go out with a bang and give 100% effort for him and the club. I don’t think the news will derail our season. The players always give 100% regardless of who we play against.”

Alonso Is The Natural Successor For Klopp

Many names have already been linked to the Liverpool job, including former midfielder Xabi Alonso, Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi, Julian Nagelsmann, and Graham Potter. However, Barnes sees only one manager as the perfect fit for the job.

“Roberto De Zerbi has been at Brighton for up to a year now so I don’t think that’s the right hire as well as he’s done at Brighton. I think Xabi Alonso will be an ideal replacement. He knows the club and the fans love him so he’s already coming in with an affiliation and a successful period at the club.

“He’s been a successful manager in terms of what he’s done at Bayer Leverkusen so it’s an obvious choice.

“I don’t think there are many great candidates. Once upon a time you had the Ancelotti’s and the Mourinho’s. Ange Postecoglu is a top manager but he’s only been at Tottenham since the summer so him coming to Liverpool would be a shock. Xabi Alonso would be the natural one.”

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Alonso Is Intelligent And Clever Enough To Adapt To The Liverpool Squad

Liverpool will have become accustomed to the rock-and-roll nature of Klopp’s personality, as well as the exciting football his sides have brought to Anfield. In contrast, Alonso has taken his Leverkusen team to the top of the Bundesliga through a possession-based style. Alonso, as a coach, doesn’t believe in long passes; he prefers his team to play short, intricate passes into the half-spaces. Yet, Barnes has no qualms or concerns about Alonso’s current style and believes the Spaniard is intelligent and patient enough to adapt to the strengths of the Liverpool squad.

“Everybody has a different style to Klopp so no matter who comes in there will be an adaptation of some kind.

“For me, you either appoint from within. Someone who has worked under Jurgen and understands his way of playing football or bring in a new manager and allow him to do what he’s going to do.

“Alonso may be using this particular possession style at Leverkusen because of the players that he has. He’s intelligent and clever enough to know he has to work with the players he has.

“I don’t think he would come to Liverpool and immediately try to change the way the teams play. Nobody can be a clone of Klopp.”

Klopp Has Left Liverpool With The Right Profile To Maintain Success

Last season, Liverpool limped to fifth in the league, a huge disappointment considering the success the club had become accustomed to during Klopp’s tenure. Barnes expressed his relief that Klopp stayed on last summer to help reinvigorate the Liverpool squad with new signings as well as the promotion of their academy stars.

“Klopp is leaving the club in a successful position with good players and that’s all you can really ask of him. I’m glad he’s leaving this season rather than at the end of last season because we would have struggled otherwise.

“With the signings he’s made and the young players that are emerging in the team are at the right age and the future looks bright for Liverpool. We’ve seen other managers leave a club and the players are at the wrong end of an ideal age where they’ve needed a complete overhaul.

“Obviously, we will miss Jurgen but in terms of the quality and the age of players we have, he is going out on a high. The emergence of players such as Jarell Quansah and Connor Bradley this season, alongside Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Stefan Bajcetic, has left Barnes feeling positive about the future of the club.

“The new manager will be coming into a healthy situation in comparison to last season. We have the likes of Nunez, Diaz, Gakpo, Szobozlai, Gravenberch, Mac Allister alongside the homegrown players like Jones, Elliott, Quansah, Bradley and Bajcetic.

“They are players for the next five, six and seven years. His legacy will be the fact Liverpool have the right profile to maintain success going forward.”

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