'Discussions to follow' - Xabi Alonso's preference as Liverpool get head start on Bayern Munich for top target

Liverpool have already made their first approach to Xabi Alonso, who is 'keen' on a move to England, according to reports.

The 42-year-old Spaniard, who spent five years on Merseyside as a player between 2004 and 2009, is the frontrunner to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager at the end of the season.

Alonso, as well as his connection to Anfield, is one of the brightest young coaches in European football and has led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga table this season.

The German side are currently unbeaten and eight points clear of Bayern Munich, who they beat 3-0 in an attention-grabbing performance earlier this month.

Klopp recently described Alonso as a 'standout' coach of the new generation, in what many have viewed as a tacit endorsement of his potential successor.

However, Liverpool are unlikely to get a clear run at Alonso, who is also being coveted by Bayern Munich.

The German champions are set to part ways with Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season after a poor run of form that has left them in danger of failing to record any silverware for the first time in 12 years.

Thomas Tuchel Xabi Alonso

Thomas Tuchel Xabi Alonso

Due to his success in Germany, Alonso — who also played for Bayern — is also the top candidate for the Munich club, who are prepared to wait until the summer to get their man.

Advantage Liverpool?

However, according to Foot Mercato journalist Santi Aouna, Liverpool may have got the jump on Bayern, having already made their initial approach.

He also claims that Alonso is 'keen' on a move to England, while the Reds are ready to 'send a bid' to Leverkusen in the coming weeks.

The report follows comments from other sources that indicate that Liverpool may be in pole position over their rivals to land Alonso.

German outlet Fussball Transfers claim Alonso is 'leaning towards Liverpool', while journalist Ben Jacobs speculated to CaughtOffside that the Reds believe their former midfielder, whose son was born in Liverpool, would prefer a move back to England given the choice.

He is quoted as saying: “Xabi Alonso is one of the big favourites to be the next Liverpool manager. Liverpool’s plan is to find a sporting director first, and quickly, then have them input on Jurgen Klopp’s replacement.

“Bayern’s poor form is not likely to influence the process. This is partly because Bayern’s board are sticking with Thomas Tuchel for now. But even if he is fired, Liverpool feel Alonso prefers a Premier League move should he be offered the job and decide to leave Leverkusen.”

Barcelona and Real Madrid have also been suggested as other options for Alonso, while Leverkusen chiefs — at least publicly — remain adamant he will stay put for the time being, having signed a contract extension last year that runs until 2026.

Fabrizio Romano has commented that while Alonso's contract doesn't have a break clause, he will not be stopped from leaving this summer, with 'discussions to follow'.

In addition to Alonso, Liverpool have been linked with a host of Leverkusen's top stars including Florian Wirtz and Piero Hincapie, as well as sporting directors past and present Tim Steidten and Simon Rolfes.

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