How Liverpool could line up under Xabi Alonso next season

The Xabi Alonso saga is set to rumble on for some time. 

The former Liverpool midfielder has been marked as the successor to Jurgen Klopp at Anfield this summer, although the Reds are not the only club battling for his services.

Another of his former employers Bayern Munich are also sniffing around the current Bayer Leverkusen coach and it looks set to be a straight tug-of-war between the two sides for his signature.

Xabi Alonso remains Liverpool's first-choice candidate for the Anfield hot seat and he will offer a different personality and tactical approach to Klopp.

If the Spaniard returns to Merseyside, possibly with a Bundesliga title to his name, he would be able to orchestrate a new era at Liverpool.

With a transfer window behind him, here is how Alonso could line up a Liverpool team.

GOALKEEPER & DEFENDERS

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Alonso has favoured a three at the back system during his time at Leverkusen, most frequently opting for a 3-4-2-1 that uses three orthodox central defenders.

Should Alonso arrive on Merseyside this summer, he may well plump for the same formation that has brought him so much success at the BayArena. However, with fairly limited experience at the elite level, it's tough to predict exactly what changes the Spaniard would make at Anfield.

One thing is for certain, however, and that's that Alisson would be starting in between the sticks. The Brazilian is one of Europe's best goalkeepers, if not the best, and any manager in world football would be grateful to have the Liverpool stopper at their disposal.

Given their immense performances this season, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate would also be irreplaceable in the starting XI, with Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah useful rotation options.

Alonso could lean on his Bayer Leverkusen connections to recruit a new left-side centre-back - a position Liverpool are already targeting this summer - with Piero Hincapie a name that has been frequently linked with Anfield.

Leverkusen even turned down a Liverpool approach for the Ecuadorian during the January transfer window and the Reds are expected to pursue the versatile 22-year-old again at the end of the current campaign.

MIDFIELDERS

Martin Zubimendi

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Alonso technically operates with four midfielders, although the players on both flanks tend to function as wing-backs. At Leverkusen, those roles are occupied by the relentless Jeremie Frimpong and Alex Grimaldo, both of whom have been in electric form bombing down the wings this season.

However, Liverpool have some pretty impressive attacking full-backs of their own, with Trent Alexander-Arnold a sure-fire starter at Anfield no matter the next manager.

The Englishman could operate on the right-hand side and offer Liverpool necessary width, while Andy Robertson. who has always been a stronger performer when granted more tactical freedom, could line up on the left flank.

Central midfield would cause some selection dilemmas for Alonso given he tends to favour just two players in the engine room, especially given the wealth of options the Reds now have in the middle of the pitch.

Dominik Szoboszlai could operate as the more offensive-minded central midfielder capable of playing in a box-to-box role, while Martin Zubimendi, who has worked with Alonso at Real Sociedad, could be drafted in.

Anfield Watch understands that Liverpool are willing to trigger the Spanish midfielder's £51m release clause, with the 25-year-old deep-lying playmaker a coveted target heading into next summer's window.

With the likes of Curtis Jones, Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch in reserve, Liverpool would be incredibly well-stocked in central areas - even if dropping several of those players following this season's performances seems extremely harsh.

FORWARDS

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Alonso would utilise a front three at Liverpool if he were to persist with the formation currently employed by Leverkusen, with two attacking midfielders supporting a traditional striker.

However, those number tens would also have the freedom to drift into wide positions, sometimes operating as inside forwards - a role that would suit Mohamed Salah perfectly.

The Egyptian is simply undroppable for the Reds and could function off the right flank, filling pockets of space in central areas. This would allow him to do what he does best: create chances and score goals.

Another Leverkusen star that could follow Alonso to Anfield would be Florian Wirtz, the highly-rated attacking midfielder having rediscovered his best form under the Spaniard after a long-term injury.

It's hard to believe that the German international is still just 20, with Wirtz boasting unbelievable talent for a player of his age profile and experience.

And, of course, the Reds would need a number nine capable of causing chaos under Alonso, with Darwin Nunez the prime candidate for that spot up top.

The likes of Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz would offer Liverpool fantastic depth up front, as well as incredible versatility given the range of functions they can perform.

POTENTIAL LINEUP UNDER XABI ALONSO

(3-4-2-1): Alisson; Konate, Van Dijk, Hincapie; Alexander-Arnold, Szoboszlai, Zubimendi, Robertson; Salah, Wirtz; Nunez. 

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