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Liverpool send scouts to watch Alonso in action - and two of his best players

  /  autty

Xabi Alonso has emerged as a top target for Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp leaves his post as manager at the end of the season, with Kop scouts taking in his side's weekend thrashing of Bayern Munich.

Alonso is the current favourite to replace Klopp after the impressive start he has made to his managerial career, while his status as a fan favourite at Anfield after spending five years at the club as a player doesn't hurt his cause either.

His Bayer Leverkusen side destroyed Harry Kane's Bayern at the BayArena on Saturday, to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to five points. And, as first reported by HITC, Liverpool sent scouts to the game to monitor Alonso in his biggest game to date as a manager - as well as two of his Leverkusen stars.

That duo, it's understood, are Ecuador international centre-back Piero Hincapie and Germany star Florian Wirtz.

Liverpool were first linked with left-footed defender Hincapie last summer, with the player's agent Manuel Sierra confirming the Reds' interest.

"Liverpool were interested in him, but at that time they chose to invest in the midfield," Sierra said, as per the Liverpool Echo. "It will not be less than £50million."

Sierra later clarified his comments back in October, claiming there are several other clubs also interested in Hincapie. "I was directly asked about Liverpool's interest in Piero Hincapie, and of course they like him, but I never said they made a serious offer or will do so in January," he said.

"Lots of clubs are looking at him because he's a young and interesting talent but he is focused on Leverkusen for now."

Liverpool have been keeping tabs on a number of left-sided centre-backs - something they don't currently have in their squad - as they prepare for life after Virgil van Dijk, the club captain who is into his 30s and the final 18 months of his current big-money deal.

Wirtz, who has scored eight goals and provided 15 assists in 29 appearances across all competitions so far this season was particularly impressive in the win over Bayern. Alonso has previously compared him to Lionel Messi.

"There are good players and there are players who look good on the pitch," Alonso said in January. "The player who looks good does things that are nice, but not necessarily efficient. Why is Messi so good? Because he knows how and when to play simple passes.

"Messi says: 'You're in a better position? Here, there you have the ball!' It's not always about making the most brilliant move, but the best and smartest. Florian can do that. That's why he's so good."