Liverpool frontrunner Xabi Alonso distances himself from replacing Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool frontrunner Xabi Alonso distances himself from replacing Jurgen Klopp

Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso has cooled talk of himself returning to Liverpool to replace outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp.

German coach Klopp, 56, will depart Anfield at the end of the season after making a shock announcement of his decision on Friday.

Speculation has already begun on who might be installed in the Reds hotseat in the summer, with former midfielder Alonso the early bookmakers' favourite.

In five years at the club, he won the Champions League and FA Cup before leaving for Real Madrid.

“Honestly, I don't have a direct answer [about the Liverpool job]," he told a pre-planned press conference shortly after Klopp's announcement.

"I'm happy here right now, that's for sure, and only thinking about Leverkusen."

Leverkusen sit top of the Bundesliga after Alonso arrived with the team in the relegation zone in October 2022.

That has prompted the 46-year-old to be linked to Liverpool, Madrid and Bayern Munich on several occasions as the trio of huge clubs he spent the bulk of his playing career at.

"I was surprised by Jurgen's news," said the Spaniard.

"I have huge respect for Jurgen and Liverpool. At the moment I am really happy here and enjoying my work. Each day and game is a challenge. We are in an intense and beautiful journey here at Leverkusen.

"Speculation is normal, but I have great respect and admiration for what Jurgen has done at Liverpool in the last nine years, and how he's done it. He has a connection with the fans, he's done a great job, but my focus is here at Bayer Leverkusen.

"I have great motivation to do a good job here, I'm very happy with the team, with the club, with everything, so that's my focus. My focus isn't on May, it's on tomorrow ahead of our game against Gladbach and helping my players to be ready.

"But what I will say is it was surprising what happened at Liverpool with Jurgen leaving."