“Obvious Standout” – Neil Jones On ‘Best Candidate’ For Liverpool Role

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Liverpool sit one point clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table ahead of tonight’s fixture against Luton Town. The Reds put in a good display away to Brentford last Saturday, with the returning Mo Salah getting himself on the scoresheet.

The was blighted by serious-looking injuries to Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones, both of whom will be missing for Sunday’s EFL Cup Final. LFC’s treatment room is looking unfortunately busy at the moment, with Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai all unlikely to feature for at least the next week or two.

Away from the pitch, the club’s search for a manager goes on, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso still strong favourite to land the role. Current boss Jürgen Klopp was full of praise for the Basque tactician, describing him as the ‘standout’ of the next generation of elite managers.

Possible rivals for Alonso’s signature have emerged in the form of Bayern Munich, who lost ground in the Bundesliga race following a 3-2 defeat to VfL Bochum. Die Roten boss Thomas Tuchel is widely expected to lose his job amid criticism from club legends such as Lothar Matthäus.

On the latest episode of our Journo Insight show, we asked experienced LFC reporter Neil Jones for his thoughts on the Alonso to Bayern links.

Should Unai Emery be on Liverpool’s shortlist to replace Jurgen Klopp?

Neil said:

“It’s pretty obvious Tuchel won’t be in charge of Bayern next season. There’s a lot of doubt – it seems – that he’ll even last this season.

“That would be a very ‘old school’ Bayern thing to do. Their model used to be, ‘Who’s the best of our rivals? We’ll have him, we’ll have him, we’ll have him.’

“They’ve done it with Leverkusen in the past quite famously, with Michael Ballack and Zé Roberto at the same time… Lúcio. So they’ve got history for it, but it would be whether they changed tack in that regard.

“It would also be whether they’ve already left it too late and other people have stolen the march on them. You would hope that if Xabi Alonso is Liverpool’s man, he’s already learnt that fact.

“I think he’s the obvious standout. I don’t think he’s a flawless appointment or an appointment that can’t go wrong or whatever, but I think he’s by far the best candidate that’s out there for Liverpool.

“Would he choose Bayern Munich over Liverpool? Maybe, because he played for them. And don’t forget that he’s got an affinity with the club.

“You would also say if he wins the Bundesliga this year, the lure of Bayern Munich would only necessarily be dominance of the Bundesliga and obviously a shot at the European Cup.

“Whereas with Liverpool – Guardiola, Arteta, who’s obviously his good mate. Big clubs. If your mind is that I’m one of the best managers in the world, or I want to be one of the best managers in the world, or I’m going to be one of the best managers in the world – that’s your challenge, isn’t it?”

Why Jurgen Klopp Needs a Break from Football – w/Sports Science Expert Peter Brukner

Redmen Reacts

If Xabi Alonso wishes to prove himself as one of the world’s great young managers, it would make more sense for him to move to Liverpool than Bayern Munich. If he wins the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen this year, he will have already ‘ticked off’ the trophy from the list of those available. Anything other than repeated title wins would be considered a failure at Bayern Munich, whereas he would not necessarily be expected to win the Premier League immediately given the strength of the competition in England.

Liverpool historically tends to go through managers at a much slower rate than many other big European clubs. The opportunity to manage the Reds may not align so perfectly again for Alonso. If he wishes to repeat the journey he took in his playing career as a manager, the top job at clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tends to be available more frequently than at Anfield. At the age of just 42, he has plenty of time to manage both of those sides in the future if he wishes.

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