Liverpool could ruin replacement plan for Klopp by beating Real Madrid

Fabinho previews Liverpool's Champions League tie at Real Madrid

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Liverpool could ruin their own plan to succeed Jurgen Klopp by completing a remarkable Champions League comeback against Real Madrid. The Reds will attempt to come back from 5-2 down on aggregate at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening. 

Madrid stunned Liverpool at Anfield two weeks ago and have already put one foot in the Champions League quarter-final draw. But Liverpool have a history of turning round huge deficits in Europe and will hope to do so again in Spain. 

Carlo Ancelotti is under pressure at Los Blancos, with his side falling nine points behind Barcelona in the La Liga title race. According to reports in the German media, former Real and Liverpool hero Xabi Alonso is being lined up for the job should the Italian be sacked before the end of the campaign. 

Alonso has enjoyed a successful start to his managerial career. The 41-year-old’s Bayer Leverkusen side are ninth in the Bundesliga. 

Liverpool have also been linked with Alonso, and could appoint their ex-midfielder when Klopp eventually leaves. But if they overcome their three-goal deficit against Real, the Spanish side could sack Ancelotti and beat the Premier League club to Alonso’s signature.

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The former Spain midfielder has previously shunted links with Liverpool but may now be more open to replacing Klopp after developing as a manager. Back in 2021, Alonso – then coaching Real Sociedad’s B team – said of being linked with the Liverpool job: “I am here in San Sebastian and Liverpool fans, they salute me and I still feel that support.

“For me, that feeling in life is great. Right now, Jurgen [Klopp] is doing a great job, so I think that the job is fulfilled, but for sure that Liverpool is top, top club for me, very, very, special.”

Speculation over Klopp’s own future has mounted in recent months. Liverpool’s underwhelming campaign has seen the German linked with the Anfield exit, with some feeling that the Merseysiders need a fresh change of direction. 

But the 55-year-old could prove his doubters wrong by overcoming Madrid. Klopp said on Tuesday that his side will face the challenge they face in Spain head-on and attempt to reach the quarter-finals.

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“[We want to do] what we did in the first half [of the first leg] but without the goals we conceded. We probably won’t go through but 100 per-cent of the people here think we have no chance,” Klopp said.

“If I am the only one who thinks we have a little, that’s fine. Complete outsider, that’s fine. It’s football.

“We have nothing to lose. It’s a better situation than when you can lose everything. We can lose a game, we’ve felt that before, we don’t like that. You can get a proper knock here. I would prefer Carlo’s situation – to defend a 3-0 lead.”

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