Liverpool decide on preferred Xabi Alonso back-up manager | Football

The Spaniard is a wanted man this summer (Picture: Getty Images)

Xabi Alonso is the clear frontrunner to take over from Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, though the club have also established a preferred back-up option, according to reports.

Last month, Klopp announced he would be stepping down from his role at the end of the season due to a lack of energy and the club have already begun working on a succession plan.

Although the search is still at an early stage, Alonso has quickly been identified as the ideal candidate after a stellar campaign with Leverkusen in which he has guided them to the top of the Bundesliga table – eight points clear of Bayern Munich.

But the Bavarians will not be licking their wounds for long and have already announced that Thomas Tuchel will depart at the end of the season, with Alonso also their primary target.

Despite his links to Real Madrid, Catalan giants Barcelona are also thought to be considering Alonso as a replacement for Xavi, while los Blancos could accelerate a move for their former midfielder despite Carlo Ancelotti’s solid stewardship of the club.

With so many European superpowers potentially in need of a new manager, and Alonso the coach every team seemingly wants, Liverpool could end up missing out on the 42-year-old.

But, according to The Independent, they already have a back-up target in the shape of Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim.

Sporting coach Ruben Amorim wanted by Liverpool

Amorim is enjoying another excellent season with Sporting (Picture: Getty)

The Portuguese coach is currently in another title race despite losing a host of players over the past few seasons, with Sporting top of the league on goal difference while they also have a game in hand over Benfica.

Amorim, who won the Primeira Liga title in 2021, has impressed with his revival of Sporting and was in the frame for other recent jobs including Chelsea and Tottenham before other candidates were ultimately picked.

Although Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi has also been heavily linked as a contender for the Liverpool job, Amorim is currently viewed as the likelier option.

Brighton are a notoriously difficult club to extract players and staff from and would demand a massive compensation fee for De Zerbi, with Chelsea having forked out over £20million for Graham Potter and his staff.

With Amorim having resisted overtures from clubs in the past, Sporting are unlikely to stand in his way this time around should he asked to leave for a new challenge.

However, as is the case with Alonso, Liverpool are not alone in their appreciation of the young coach and will likely need to fight off competition for him too – though not to quite the same extent.

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