Arne Slot appears to be at the front of the queue to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

Klopp confirmed in January that he would be leaving the Reds at the end of the season.

Xabi Alonso, who has led Bayer Leverkusen to their first Bundesliga title, was swiftly established as a leading candidate to take the helm at Anfield, where he starred as a player for the Reds between 2004 and 2009.

The 42-year-old, however, is staying put in Germany, and Liverpool's search for Klopp's successor has taken them to Feyenoord's door.

Slot has been previously linked to jobs in the Premier League. Leeds United wanted to appoint him last season before their relegation to the Championship, while he was targeted by Tottenham before they appointed Ange Postecoglou.

The Dutchman intimated when linked with Spurs: "A normal next step would be to go abroad and I've always said that the best league in the world is the Premier League."

Ideally, Liverpool will be aiming for a coach who can come close to replicating Klopp's style of play, and in particular has a flair for working with and developing young players.

Slot has enjoyed fantastic success in Rotterdam. He became Feyenoord head coach in December 2022, after leaving AZ, and went on to win the Eredivisie title in 2022-23, having reached the Europa League final in the previous season.

The 45-year-old has a 64.4 per cent win record from 146 games in charge, winning 94, drawing 29 and losing just 23.

His Feyenoord team have scored 329 goals, an average of 2.2 per match, conceding 147 in return. Slot's points per game is a hugely impressive 2.13.

Feyenoord are, though, set to relinquish their Eredivisie crown, as they trail leaders PSV by nine points. They have, however, won the KNVB Cup this term. 

As there is no break clause in the Dutchman's contract, it has been reported that a compensation fee in the region of €10million (£8.5m) could prise him away from Feyenoord.

Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is another coach who has been heavily linked with the Liverpool job, albeit he is reportedly in talks with West Ham.

Thomas Tuchel admitted Bayern Munich are out of Bundesliga title contention after a 2-0 defeat in Der Klassiker left them 13 points adrift of league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Karim Adeyemi struck early on before Julian Ryerson sealed a 2-0 win for Borussia Dortmund, their first at the Allianz Arena since 2014, as Bayern’s bid for a 12th league title in a row was left hanging by the thinnest of threads.

For Tuchel, who will leave the Bavarian giants at the end of the season, the matter has already been settled. When asked if they were out of the running for the league crown, he told Sky: “Obviously, yes.

“After this game there is no more need to count points. How many is it now? Congratulations to Leverkusen.”

Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen’s head coach, this week rebuffed speculation linking him with former clubs Bayern or Liverpool as the Spaniard publicly committed his future to his current employers.

They looked set for a first defeat in 39 matches in all competitions after going behind at home to Hoffenheim as Maximilian Beier gave the visitors a 33rd-minute lead they held until the closing stages.

Robert Andrich equalised with two minutes left, lashing home a bobbling effort, and Leverkusen sealed a 2-1 win in added-on time, as Patrik Schick reacted fastest to volley home Nathan Tella’s cross before their hopes of a maiden league title were given a further shot in the arm by Bayern’s setback.

Raphinha’s second-half goal helped Barcelona edge out 10-man Las Palmas 1-0 to close the gap on LaLiga leaders Real Madrid to five points.

Barcelona saw two goals chalked off for offside and Robert Lewandowski hit the bar but Las Palmas had goalkeeper Alvaro Valles red carded for a crude challenge on Raphinha outside his box after 25 minutes.

Xavi’s side were unable to initially capitalise on the extra man but Joao Felix came off the bench and provided a delicately-weighted ball over the top for Raphinha to head into the net in the 59th minute.

AC Milan extended their winning run to six matches with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina in Serie A on an emotional night at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

There had been tributes before kick-off to Fiorentina general manager Joe Barone, who collapsed in the team hotel just as they were preparing to travel to the stadium for the match against Atalanta and later died in hospital.

The Rossoneri produced a clinical display with second-half goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao either side of Alfred Duncan’s equaliser to consolidate second place in the table.

Third-placed Juventus slipped six points behind Stefano Pioli’s team after losing 1-0 to Lazio, who sealed all three points thanks to Adam Marusic’s strike three minutes into stoppage time.

Lazio claimed both the three points and also struck a psychological blow ahead of Tuesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg between the two teams in Turin.

Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso has committed his future to the Bundesliga leaders for another season to quash talk of a potential summer switch to Liverpool or Bayern Munich.

The 42-year-old former Reds midfielder has guided Leverkusen through an unbeaten season so far as they boast a 10-point advantage over reported suitors Bayern, with Liverpool also having been linked with the Spaniard in their search for outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

But speaking at his Friday press conference, Alonso said: “This is the right place for me to be. I will stay at Bayer.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he is relieved to have finally made the decision to leave the club at the end of the season.

The German’s standing at Anfield meant it was unlikely he would have ever been sacked and, having already extended his contract two years beyond the seven he served at both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, there would probably have been an expectation on him to go beyond 2026.

Klopp could have gone last summer after being physically and emotionally drained by a difficult season which saw Liverpool finish fifth, but he chose to stay on in order to put things right.

With the club top of the Premier League and fighting on four fronts he has done that in remarkably quick time but even by November, the 56-year-old knew he had to get out.

“The relief was there when I made the decision for myself. I didn’t know that would be the case,” he said.

“Today it (the feeling) is mixed. I am not as emotional as I will be.

“I have to make the decision at one point, because nobody else will, because of the trust and respect we have for each other, and the owners knew I would take the decision.

“I don’t want to hang around and do the job somehow. I thought it through properly.

“I want (to win) everything this season, but it wouldn’t change my mind – and if we don’t win anything it wouldn’t change my mind.

“It’s a decision I made independent of any kind of results.”

In his first press conference as Liverpool boss in 2015 Klopp declared himself the ‘normal one’ and he maintains that is who he is despite his high profile.

He insists he has no regrets about any decisions he has taken at Liverpool, with whom he has won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup among a host of titles, but admits he has missed out on life away from football.

“I arrived here like a normal guy and I never lived that,” he added.

“It is three or four weeks in a summer which somehow is fine. Whatever will happen in the future, I don’t know now.

“I don’t know how normal life is so I have to find out.”

Klopp plans to take a year off and then see how he feels but has ruled out a return to management in England.

“Whatever will happen in the future I don’t know now, but no club, no country, for the next year, and no other English club ever,” he said.

“I can promise that, even if I have nothing to eat that will not happen.”

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has emerged as the early favourite to succeed Klopp.

The former Liverpool midfielder insists his focus was solely on his current role and that he was in “the right place”.

Jurgen Klopp will play no part in appointing his successor at Liverpool but is confident they will secure a “top manager”.

The club are currently without a sporting director but in 2015 Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon led the recruitment of Klopp.

A similar scenario is in place this time around but Klopp will not offer his input, saying: “No, why should I?

“It looks like I do all the work but I don’t, I can’t. That means all what we built in the last eight and half years is an incredibly strong structure behind the scenes so everything goes in the right direction.

“That’s the good news. That is one of the reasons why I can leave.

“My responsibility was so big that my idea was always to put everything in place to help with everything that this club gets stronger and stronger and we did that not to perfection but as good as we could.

“So many people work here with only one idea: to find a perfect solution for Liverpool and I am pretty sure that will happen.

“And the last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out who tells them ‘By the way, make sure you bring him in’. I will definitely not do that. I don’t want to be the passenger who is disturbing that process.

”They will get a top manager here, there will be good football.”

Former Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso – the current boss at Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen – has emerged as the immediate front-runner to take over from Klopp.

Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan accepts it is a pivotal decision but believes they can get it right again.

“We will go through that process as we have done in the past and the same process that brought us Jurgen almost nine years ago,” he said.

“It is something we will do in private with the people here, with Mike Gordon in particular and when we get to a place when we have further news we will discuss it at that point but it won’t be a running commentary.

“We prefer to operate when we are ready to talk about things. Until that point, we won’t talk about other people or get into the name game.”

Hogan would also not commit to a timescale.

“From our perspective, I wouldn’t want to set an expectation,” he added.

“Number one because this is a process we have to go through and have done in the past.

“We make sure we look at all the information and all the data, we’ve done our proper due diligence and then make a decision and have an announcement at that time.

“I can’t commit to a timeline on it. It will go on in the background and we will ensure we are doing everything possible to make sure we make the right decision for the future of this football club.

“It is not to be a distraction. This is about making sure this campaign continues and the team continues to perform.”

Jurgen Klopp has promised Liverpool fans he will never manage another English club after he leaves Anfield in the summer “even if he has nothing to eat”.

The 56-year-old German has shocked the football world by announcing he will stand down as Reds boss after nearly nine years in charge at the end of the season, having steered the club to six major trophies including the Premier League title in 2020 and the Champions League in 2019.

At a press conference on Friday he also:

:: Said he would play no part in choosing his successor.
:: Insisted he would not make a U-turn on his decision to quit as Sir Alex Ferguson once did at Manchester United.
:: Talked about how he could not sustain the energy levels needed for top-level management beyond this season, insisting “you have to be the best version of yourself”.

Klopp allayed any concerns among Liverpool fans that he could return to manage one of their rivals.

“Whatever will happen in the future I don’t know now, but no club, no country, for the next year, and no other English club ever,” he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“I can promise that, even if I have nothing to eat that will not happen.”

Speculation has already turned to who could succeed Klopp at Anfield, with Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso – a former Reds midfielder – installed as the early bookmakers’ favourite.

Alonso insisted on Friday his focus was solely on his current role and that he was in “the right place”. Former Reds captain Steven Gerrard, currently with Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq, has also been linked.

Klopp insists he will have no input whatsoever to Liverpool’s recruitment process to find his successor.

“The last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out, telling them ‘make sure you bring him in’ or whatever – I will definitely not do that,” Klopp said.

“I wish this club the very, very, very best.”

Bayer Leverkusen returned to the Bundesliga summit with a 3-0 win at Werder Bremen to ensure boss Xabi Alonso enjoyed a memorable 42nd birthday.

Bayern Munich had taken over at the top on Friday night with a narrow victory at Cologne, but Alonso’s unbeaten team provided the perfect response.

An own goal by Olivier Deman broke the deadlock after nine minutes and then it was all about the visitors’ wing-backs.

Jeremie Frimpong made it 2-0 before half-time with a thumping finish from close range and Alex Grimaldo wrapped up a comprehensive win with Leverkusen’s third in the 76th minute to make it 12 league games without defeat.

Stuttgart are third in Bundesliga after goals at either end of the first half from Deniz Undav helped them to a 2-1 victory away to Frankfurt.

Borussia Dortmund make up the top four after they fought back from two down to beat Borussia Monchengladbach in a thriller.

Goals from Rocco Reitz and Manu Kone put Monchengladbach 2-0 up inside 28 minutes, but Marcel Sabitzer started the comeback before further efforts by Niclas Fullkrug, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Donyell Malen inspired an excellent 4-2 triumph for the hosts.

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg got the better of RB Leipzig 2-1 and Union Berlin started the post-Urs Fischer era with a 1-1 home draw with Augsburg.

Barcelona lost more ground in the LaLiga title race after they were forced to settle for a point at Rayo Vallecano.

Unai Lopez fired Vallecano ahead six minutes before half-time with a superb strike from range and Xavi’s side struggled to make their dominance count until the 82nd minute when Florian Lejeune put through his own net.


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Barca substitute Raphinha had strong penalty appeals turned down in stoppage time as it finished 1-1.

Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Barca to move into third after a 1-0 victory at home to Mallorca.

In-form Antoine Griezmann grabbed the only goal of the game with 64 minutes on the clock when he headed home Mario Hermoso’s deep cross to send Diego Simeone’s team into the top three.

Mason Greenwood found the net in Getafe’s 2-1 win at home to Almeria, while Rafael Benitez celebrated a point on his return to Valencia after his Celta Vigo side battled to a goalless draw.

AC Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A against Fiorentina thanks to a Theo Hernandez penalty on a historic night at the San Siro.

Hernandez won a spot-kick in first-half stoppage time and converted from 12 yards to end a four-match winless run in the division for Stefano Pioli’s team.

Pioli helped Milan make history with seven minutes of the match remaining when he introduced 15-year-old forward Francesco Camarda for Luka Jovic to make the teenager the youngest ever player to appear in Serie A.

Napoli got the Walter Mazzarri reign under way with a 2-1 win at Atalanta after goals by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Eljif Elmas, but Lazio suffered a surprise defeat by the same scoreline at Salernitana.

Ciro Immobile put Lazio ahead in the 43rd minute but Grigoris Kastanos’ equaliser and Antonio Candreva’s long-range rocket earned Salernitana a first league victory of the season at the 12th time of asking.

Patrick Vieira’s Strasbourg held Marseille to a 1-1 draw in Ligue 1, while Lens claimed an excellent 3-0 win at Clermont where both teams finished the match with 10 men.

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