Xabi Alonso is the early frontrunner to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager but his club, Bayer Leverkusen, are not resigned to losing him, according to reports from Germany.
Klopp shocked the football world on Friday with the revelation that he would step down as Reds boss at the end of the season.
The 56-year-old had been on a contract until 2026 and his decision to depart Anfield stunned club staff and players alike.
It means the search for a successor begins in earnest and Alonso’s name is firmly in the frame.
Since ending his playing days at Bayern Munich in 2017, the 42-year-old has carved out a burgeoning reputation as manager.
Having replaced Gerardo Seoane with Leverkusen second from bottom of the Bundesliga in October 2022, he has overseen a stunning resurgence.
Leverkusen are currently top of the Bundesliga, ahead of Bayern by four points, playing electric football and attracting the plaudits.
Alonso agreed a two-year contract extension last summer, amid reported interest from Tottenham Hotspur, when Leverkusen bosses moved quickly to tie him down.
And although the former Real Madrid star has been tipped as a Liverpool manager in the making, Leverkusen remain optimistic that he will honour the terms of his deal.
“Bayer 04 Leverkusen is aware that Xabi #Alonso is on FC Liverpool's list,” wrote Sky Sport journalist Florian Plettenberg on X, formerly Twitter.
“However, at this stage they remain optimistic and assume Alonso won't leave the club in the summer | #LFC
“One reason: Alonso is already fully integrated into the squad planning and is building the squad for the 24/25 season… His contract is valid until 2026.”
Alonso faced the press on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Bundesliga clash with Borussia Monchengladbach, where he fielded questions over the soon-to-be vacant hotseat at Anfield, stating he is content at the BayArena but cast doubt over his long-term future.
“First of all it was a surprise,” he said of the Klopp announcement. “But as well, I have huge respect for Jurgen, huge admiration. Before coming to Liverpool and during his years it has been bigger and it has grown, no? What he has achieved and the way he has achieved it.
“At the moment, I'm really happy here. I'm enjoying my work here, I'm feeling that each day is a challenge, each game is a challenge. We are in an intense and beautiful journey here in Leverkusen and I'm trying to give my best to help my players be ready for the next thing and that is my goal.
“What is coming next, I don't know.”