Jürgen Klopp To Leave Liverpool At The End Of This Season

On Friday, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp announced in a 25-minute interview that he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, after almost nine years at the helm. While the German manager stated he is “healthy, as much as you can [be] at my age,” he did go on to say he is tired and that he knows he “cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”

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The news of Klopp’s departure, as well as that of his managerial team—including right-hand man Pepijn Lijnders—comes as a shock due to both its timing, with the Reds currently leading the Premier League, and the difficulty of even conceiving of a Liverpool without Klopp around after the run of success he has had at Anfield. Nevertheless, this didn’t come entirely out of the blue. There have been rumblings that Klopp would leave as recently as last season, his worst campaign at Liverpool since his first season, and even though he signed an extension in 2022 that ran until 2026, an earlier end was always a possibility. That it came in the middle of the season is surprising, of course, but this has been in the cards for some time now.

In the interview, Klopp stated that he is not leaving, at least immediately, for another job: “I will not manage a club or a country at least for a year, that’s not possible, I cannot do that and I don’t want to.” He also stated that he would never manage any English club other than Liverpool. Speaking of the club, Klopp told Liverpool about his decision back in November, so the board has had time to process the decision and start planning for the replacement search. (Side note: That this news didn’t leak over the past two months is truly a marvel in an era where every little thing is rumored and dissected for months before anything actually happens.)

In his time at Liverpool, Klopp has won all but one competition the club has competed in; his only missing trophy is the Europa League one, and the club is currently waiting to find out its opponent in the round of 16 of that tournament. Otherwise, he has won it all. He brought Liverpool its sixth Champions League title in 2019, and has made it to the final of that competition two other times, losing in 2018 and 2022 to Real Madrid. He also helped Liverpool bring home the long-awaited Premier League title in 2020, the club’s first top-division trophy since 1990. League Cup, FA Cup, Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup … his Liverpool trophy cabinet is filled to the brim.

But even more valuable than those tangible markers of successes is the way Klopp rescued Liverpool from a period in the wilderness of the early 2010s. Aside from coming in second in the 2013-14 season, Liverpool had not been a serious title contender for at least half a decade before Klopp joined. The German manager immediately helped guide the Reds to regular top-four finishes and then to almost perennial title contention. As the standard needed to win the Premier League rose in the era of Pep Guardiola and City’s dominance, Klopp helped Liverpool keep pace with the financially doped Citizens, beating them to the title once, finishing runners-up by a single point two other times, and currently leading them by five points in what will now prove the swan song of this era-defining rivalry. From where you started back when Klopp took over for Brendan Rodgers in October of 2015, Liverpool, you’ve come a long way, baby.

Where does Liverpool go from here? The rumors have already begun, with Bayer Leverkusen’s current manager—and former Liverpool midfielder—Xabi Alonso quickly emerging as the favorite. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool’s legendary captain, has long been held as a likely Klopp successor, though his failed stint at Aston Villa dulled that hype quite a bit. Perhaps another candidate will pop up in the coming months that no one sees coming. There’s uncertainty at the club with regards to the manager for the first time in almost a decade, and that’s all to do with how beloved and successful Klopp was in the role. That Klopp is leaving on his own terms, announced in his own words, is a fitting end to the best run any Liverpool manager has had in the Premier League era. Let’s see if he can take another trophy or two with him on his way out.

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