Liverpool managerial target Xabi Alonso enhanced his reputation even further on Saturday evening when his Bayer Leverkusen side cruised to a 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich. His side now sit five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on 56 points after 21 matches.
Following Jurgen Klopp’s announcement that he will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, speculation has been rife about who will succeed the former Borussia Dortmund manager in the Anfield dugout.
Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim have both been linked with the summer vacancy, though Alonso remains the Reds’ favoured option and the front-runner for the position.
The Spaniard has only been in management since 2019 but he has thrived since joining Leverkusen, with his side unbeaten this season with 17 wins and four draws in 21 Bundesliga matches. Alonso’s side’s latest victory is the most notable of all, asserting themselves as firm favourites for the title at the expense of Bayern.
Leverkusen opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a well-worked team goal which saw Josip Stanisic, ironically on loan from Bayern, tap home from close range. Left wing-back Grimaldo then doubled the home side’s lead with a strike into the roof of the net after 50 minutes, taking his tally to eight goals and nine assists in 21 league appearances so far this season.
Bayern then threw numbers forward in the hope of halving the deficit, though their strategy proved even more costly as Leverkusen put the icing on the cake through Jeremie Frimpong. With Manuel Neuer instructed to push forward for a corner in the 95th minute, the ball was cleared to the Dutch international out wide, who managed to beat his man and fire into the back of the net to send the BayArena into a frenzy.
Liverpool villains Thomas Tuchel and Harry Kane, who have both gained reputations for being able to get results over Jurgen Klopp and the Merseyside outfit, were both left stunned by the thumping, knowing that it will take a drastic swing of events for them to retain their Bundesliga title.
Alonso’s tactical performance against Bayern will have caught the eye of Liverpool given that he tweaked his system slightly to allow for a more direct, aggressive style of play rather than trying to build-up slowly and work through the lines – and it proved incredibly effective given the nature of their three goals. Leverkusen are more than aware that it will be tough to fend off suitors of their boss this summer, but Alonso bowing out by delivering a league title would certainly soften the blow.