Jurgen Klopp responds after Xabi Alonso decides to remain at Bayer Leverkusen

Klopp previously backed Alonso to replace him at Anfield - but the former Reds midfielder has decided to stay at Leverkusen

Jamie Braidwood
Friday 29 March 2024 16:42 GMT
Klopp reacts to Xabi Alonso staying at Bayer Leverkusen

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he can “understand” Xabi Alonso’s decision to remain at Bayer Leverkusen next season after turning down the chance to replace him at Anfield.

Klopp labelled Alonso, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, as the “outstanding” candidate and gave the Spaniard his backing ahead of the German leaving the club at the end of the season.

But Liverpool will now have to look elsewhere after Alonso, who is only 18 months into his first professional job as a manager, confirmed that Leverkusen was the “right place to develop as a coach”.

Bayern Munich, another of Alonso’s former clubs, were also interested in the former midfielder but with Leverkusen 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, the 42-year-old has announced he will be at the same club next season.

"I can speak about a young manager being at a club where he’s doing really well,” said Klopp, who remained in charge of Mainz for seven years before moving onto his first major job with Borussia Dortmund.

“I did pretty much the same, and never regretted it. I can understand why he wants to do that."

Alonso said he has “more to do” at Leverkusen next season as he announced his intention to stay at the club next season.

Liverpool ruled out Alonso from their managerial shortlist last night, seemingly in anticipation of Alonso’s announcement.

Xabi Alonso will be staying at Leverkusen (Getty Images)

The World Cup winner said he had taken time over the international break to decide his future and informed Leverkusen of his desire to build on his work next season while continuing to develop as a coach.

"It’s been a season we have had a lot of speculation regarding my future,” Alonso said ahead of Leverkusen resuming their title bid this weekend. “Until now we have had so many games, been pretty busy and focused, and I wanted to reflect during the international break and take a decision.

"Last week I had a very good meeting when I informed of them [Leverkusen’s directors] of my decision to continue being coach of Bayer Leverkusen. For sure all the decisions you need to analyse well. I try to take the right ones, I try to take them in a natural way.

"At the moment this is the right place for me to develop as a coach, I am a young coach. Right now this is the right place. I have to thank the management. The club had been supportive and I feel respected by all departments. The fans, they have shown great support and they have reasons to believe and dream we will have a great season. I have a great staff to help me work day by day, and so for sure the players. They give me so many reasons to stay. I have so much more to do here.

Last week was my deadline for sure. All my cards on the table. I have thought about the decision because you need to reflect well. Once I took it I felt I needed to share it with everyone. It is a sign of respect. I informed the players at a team talk this morning. We have prepared in a normal way.

"You guys did a lot of speculation - even since last May! It’s part of the business, and I haven’t been stressed by it. It was important it wasn’t affecting the team and the mentality of the team was good. Everything is clear."

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