Liverpool’s hopes of luring Xabi Alonso back to Anfield were dashed on Friday with the Spaniard deciding to stay put at Bayer Leverkusen, who he has on course for a first ever Bundesliga title.

A Champions League winner during his time as a player at Liverpool, Alonso had been quickly installed as the favourite to succeed Jurgen Klopp after the German made his shock announcement in January that he will leave at the end of the season.

Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorim is the new front-runner with the bookmakers ahead of Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi and Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann.

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