Xabi Alonso is pleased to see “fantastic” Jurgen Klopp working wonders at Liverpool but admits that he is “once a red always a red” and will not be ruling out a return to Anfield as a coach in the future.
The World Cup winner is taking his first steps into senior coaching with Real Sociedad’s B side, having previously spent time working in Real Madrid’s youth system.
At 37 years of age, the Spaniard acknowledges that he has much to learn.
He is fiercely ambitious, though, and having spent five years with Liverpool as a player, the 2005 Champions League winner is hoping to follow the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in forging a successful management career.
Alonso told BBC Sport when asked if he could see himself back on Merseyside at some stage: “Well at the moment they have an absolutely fantastic manager and we all as Liverpool fans are thrilled with Jurgen [Klopp], with what he's doing.
“You could feel he was the man because of the way he embraced the Liverpool culture, the way he connected with the fans - you could see that he could make a great job. Even the best expectations he has fulfilled. He's the man at the moment.
“Watching the team lifting the Champions League and watching the fans enjoy it as much as we did in 2005, it brought back a lot of memories.
“We [some of the 2005 team] were in the stadium, old team-mates gathering together again, Stevie [Gerrard], Jerzy [Dudek], Sami [Hyypia], we were together celebrating what they have achieved this year.
“It was really emotional. You know how special Liverpool is, 'once a red always a red' - and that's not a slogan, that's not a logo, it's real and we share that belonging.
“Our generation that have been playing in the Champions League for many years, we're almost taking a step back and taking steps into management.
“It's part of the cycle of football but for me it's great to follow Stevie, to follow Mikel [Arteta], to follow Frank Lampard - what he's doing and so many young managers that are already there.”
For now, Alonso will be monitoring Liverpool from afar, with it his hope that the Reds can finally end their long wait for an English top-flight title in 2019-20.
He added: “I support Mikel [Arteta] and Pep [Guardiola] a lot but my feelings are not shared at the moment. I am a Liverpool fan.
“Last season it was phenomenal, the race that both teams had. What City did, what Liverpool did, it's going to be tough to repeat but they have the project that is stable, they know what they want but the Premier League is tough. It's still early days, but why not?
“Jordan Henderson has become a figure in the changing room. I think he's so respected, so important for his team-mates - that's the sense I get from watching in the stands. For the way they play it's very important, the energy he has.
“He's able to take that step forwards, not backwards to make that pressure a bit higher. The way he connects with the three players up front, they play very direct and the way Liverpool is playing is the Jurgen way - the way they played at Dortmund with him and the way they play at Liverpool now.”