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Klopp to leave as Liverpool boss at end of season

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is to step down from the role at the end of the season, saying he is “running out of energy”.

Klopp was appointed in October 2015 and his contract was due to run until 2026.

He won the Champions League in 2019 before leading Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years in 2019-20.

“I told the club already in November,” said 56-year-old Klopp, who has announced his decision with his side top of the Premier League.

“I can understand that it’s a shock for a lot of people in this moment, when you hear it for the first time, but obviously I can explain it – or at least try to explain it.

“I love absolutely everything about this club, I love everything about the city, I love everything about our supporters, I love the team, I love the staff. I love everything. But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take.

“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”

Klopp’s key stats

Games Wins Draws Lost Goals for Goals against Win %
466 283 105 78 972 469 60.7%
  • Klopp’s win percentage of 60.7% across all competitions is the highest of any Liverpool manager with 50-plus games in charge of the club
  • Since Klopp joined, Liverpool’s Premier League points total of 671 is second only to Manchester City’s 716. Tottenham are third on 583
  • Klopp shares the joint longest winning run in the Premier League – with Guardiola’s City – with 18 consecutive victories between October 2019 and February 2020
  • He has the second longest unbeaten Premier League run of 44 games between January 2019 and February 2020, second to Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal between May 2003 and October 2004
Pep Guardiola 286 210 38 38 2.33
Alex Ferguson 810 528 168 114 2.16
Jürgen Klopp 317 199 74 44 2.11
Roberto Mancini 133 82 27 24 2.05
Antonio Conte 132 83 19 30 2.03
Jose Mourinho 363 217 84 62 2.02
Arsene Wenger 828 476 199 153 1.96
Mikel Arteta 155 88 26 41 1.87

‘I will never, ever manage a different club in England’

Klopp left former club Borussia Dortmund, who he led to two Bundesliga titles, in May 2015 to take a sabbatical before ending it when he succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in October that year.

Liverpool were 10th in the Premier League when he took over and they went on to finish eighth at the end of the 2015-2016 campaign, while they lost the Europa League final to Sevilla.

Klopp went on to become the only Liverpool manager to win the league title, European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with the Reds.

He guided Liverpool to their sixth European Cup in 2019 when they beat Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid.

They followed that up in 2019-20 with victory in the Uefa Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup and, most significantly, lifted the Premier League title.

Liverpool won a domestic cup double in the 2021-22 season, and narrowly missed out on a quadruple as they were pipped by Manchester City on the final day of the Premier League season and lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid in Paris.

The Reds failed to win any major silverware last season but are in contention for four trophies this term. They beat Fulham on Wednesday to reach the Carabao Cup final.

“It didn’t start [then], but of course last season was kind of a super-difficult season and there were moments when at other clubs probably the decision would have been, ‘Come on, thank you very much for everything but probably we should split here, or end it here.’ That didn’t happen here, obviously,” added Klopp.

“For me it was super, super, super important that I can help to bring this team back on to the rails. It was all I was thinking about.

“When I realised pretty early that happened, it’s a really good team with massive potential and a super age group, super characters and all that, then I could start thinking about myself again and that was the outcome. It is not what I want to [do], it is just what I think is 100%.”

Liverpool assistant managers Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, as well as elite development coach Vitor Matos, will leave the club along with Klopp.

Sporting director Jorg Schmadtke will leave at the end of the January transfer window, having been appointed in June.

As well as being top of the Premier League and in the EFL Cup final, Liverpool host Norwich City in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday and are through to the last 16 of the Europa League.

“Let’s squeeze everything out of this season and have another thing to smile about when we look back in the future,” said Klopp.

“If you ask me, ‘Will you ever work as a manager again?’ I would say now, no,” added Klopp.

“But I don’t know obviously how that will feel because I never had the situation.

“What I know definitely – I will never, ever manage a different club in England than Liverpool, 100%. That’s not possible.”

‘A body blow’ – reaction to Klopp’s departure

Mike Gordon, president of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group, called Klopp’s appointment “one of the greatest blessings of our time as owners”.

“First and foremost, on behalf of [principal owner] John Henry and [FSG chairman] Tom Werner, I would like to state our profound appreciation for Jurgen,” said Gordon.

“It goes without saying that we will be hugely saddened to lose not just a manager of such calibre, but a person and leader for whom we have enormous respect, gratitude and affection.

“At the same time, we fully respect his wishes and the reasons why he has decided the current season will be his last at Liverpool.”

Former Liverpool defender and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher posted on social media: “This news was always going to be a body blow to the club whenever it came. I just thought it would be another few years away. What a manager, what a man, let’s go out with a bang Jurgen!”

Former Reds striker Michael Owen echoed Carragher, posting: “All great things inevitably come to an end but I thought it would be two or three years down the line. Memories to last a lifetime. One of the greatest managers ever.”

Who next for Liverpool?

The fact that Klopp told the club in November of his intention to step down means that preparations are likely to have begun on finding his replacement.

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who played for the Reds from 2004 until 2009, would appear to be an early favourite to take over from Klopp.

The Spaniard is in charge of German side Bayer Leverkusen, who are four points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga having not lost a league game this season.

Alonso, speaking before his side’s game against Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, said he was “surprised” by Klopp’s decision but had “huge respect and huge admiration” for “what he has achieved and the way he has achieved that”. On his own future, Alonso added: “I am really happy here. I am enjoying my work here. I am feeling that each day and each game is a challenge.

“We are in an intense, beautiful journey here in Leverkusen and I am trying to give my best to help my players to be ready for the next thing, that’s my goal. What’s coming? I don’t know.

“To be honest, I am not in that moment thinking of the next thing. I think about where I am right now. I am in a great place. I am enjoying [it]. It’s the right place so that’s all I can say.

“What’s going to happen in the future I don’t know. I don’t really care at the moment.”

Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann is contracted until the end of this summer’s European Championship, while Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi and Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou are prominent names with bookmakers.

In terms of Lijnders, Liverpool said the Dutchman would be leaving Anfield “to pursue his own career in management”.

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who recently signed a new deal with Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq until 2027, would appear an outsider.

Klopp timeline at Liverpool

  • 8 October, 2015 – Klopp appointed Liverpool manager
  • 18 May, 2016 – Liverpool lose 3-1 to Sevilla in Europa League final
  • 1 January, 2018 – Virgil van Dijk joins from Southampton in £75m deal, a then world record fee for a defender
  • 6 January, 2018 – Philippe Coutinho joins Barcelona in an initial £105m deal, rising to a potential £142m, which helps the club to pay for Van Dijk and eventually purchase players including Alisson and Fabinho
  • 26 May, 2018 – Liverpool lose 3-1 to Real Madrid in Champions League final in Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 7 May, 2019 – Liverpool reach second consecutive Champions League final by overturning 3-0 semi-final first-leg deficit against Barcelona with a 4-0 win at Anfield in second leg
  • 1 June, 2019 – Liverpool beat Tottenham 2-0 in Champions League final in Madrid to win club’s sixth European Cup
  • 14 August, 2019 – Liverpool defeat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after 2-2 draw to win Uefa Super Cup
  • 21 December, 2019 – Liverpool beat Flamengo 1-0 to win Club World Cup
  • 25 June, 2020 – Liverpool win their 19th league title and first Premier League, finishing the season on a club record 99 points
  • 27 February, 2022 – Liverpool beat Chelsea 11-10 on penalties in EFL Cup final after 0-0 draw
  • 28 April, 2022 – Klopp extends Liverpool contract until 2026
  • 14 May, 2022 – Liverpool beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties in FA Cup final after 0-0 draw
  • 28 May, 2022 – Liverpool lose 1-0 to Real Madrid in Champions League final in Paris
  • 5 March, 2023 – Liverpool beat Manchester United 7-0 at Anfield in Premier League
  • 26 January 2024 – Klopp announces he will step down at end of the 2023-24 season

Analysis

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

Jurgen Klopp’s announcement that he is to depart Liverpool at the end of the season will leave the club’s supporters heartbroken and send shockwaves way beyond Anfield.

The charismatic German’s force of personality and successes have given him iconic status at Liverpool, the club he has transformed since his appointment in October 2015. Klopp can stand comfortably in the list of great Anfield managers.

The news came as a bolt from the blue, especially having signed a contract extension taking him through to 2026 as a sign of his commitment to Liverpool.

And it is even more stunning given how Klopp has rebuilt – or in his word “reloaded” – Liverpool so brilliantly this season that they are in the hunt for four trophies as Premier League leaders, in the EFL Cup Final against Chelsea, with a fourth-round FA Cup tie at home to Norwich City at what is sure to be an emotional Anfield on Sunday, as well as being Europa League favourites.

Klopp’s will be the hardest of acts to follow, not simply because of his bond with Liverpool’s fans but also the ability which makes him one of football’s greatest coaches, having brought the Champions League back to Liverpool in 2019 and their first title in 30 years 12 months later.

In the meantime, however, the game is still coming to terms with the bombshell news that Klopp is on his way out of Liverpool.

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