Jurgen Klopp details Liverpool exit reasons, why he won't pick next manager and what he will do next

The fatigued Anfield boss will bring down curtain on exceptional reign in the summer – but not even a quadruple will bring about a U-turn

Jurgen Klopp caught the whole footballing world off-guard on Friday morning by announcing his shock resignation from Liverpool when this season ends – and he has vowed not to do the same in the summer regardless of how the rest of the campaign pans out.

Liverpool could win the quadruple, given they lead the Premier League by five points, are in the Carabao Cup final, remain in the FA Cup and are one of the favourites to win the Europa League. Yet even such a feat will not precipitate a U-turn. Klopp is fatigued, drained by being the Liverpool manager for almost nine years. His reign at Anfield has been exceptional but he feels he does not have the energy to go on past 2024.

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His communication just after 10.30am revealed the reasons for his planned exit and he met the media later in the day to expand on his decision. Klopp, 56, has restored Liverpool to the very top of world football. Just look at his honours list: Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Super Cup, as well as the FA Community Shield. All in nine years. He has elevated Liverpool from being a nearly club to serial winners, living up to its storied past. But he has never hid from the fact that he throws everything – absolutely everything – at his job.

Jurgen Klopp speaks to the media after announcing he will leave Liverpool this summer.Jurgen Klopp speaks to the media after announcing he will leave Liverpool this summer.
Jurgen Klopp speaks to the media after announcing he will leave Liverpool this summer.

He won’t be doing a Fergie. Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement in the summer of 2001, only to backtrack at the end of the season and remain Manchester United boss. The German will not be moved from his stance, whether his team win it all or finish empty-handed. “No! Alex Ferguson did that? I respect Alex a lot and I don’t know what drove him,” said Klopp. “I really thought a lot about it and because of our relationship – mine with the club – the situation is always clear.

“I have to make the decision at one point, because nobody else will, because of the trust and respect we have for each other and the owners knew I would take the decision. I don’t want to hang around and do the job somehow. I thought it through properly. I want everything this season, but it wouldn’t change my mind – and if we don’t win anything it wouldn’t change my mind. It’s a decision I made independent of any kind of results.”

After finishing fifth last term, during which Klopp looked physically and emotionally drained, the Liverpool manager returned after the summer insisting he was re-energised and refreshed. But as soon as plans started to be made for transfer targets and the next pre-season, the former Borussia Dortmund boss knew something was not right. “My managerial skills are based on energy and emotion and that takes all of you and needs all of you. I am who I am and where I am because of how I am, with all the good and bad things, and if I cannot do it any more, stop it,” he said. “You have to be the best version of yourself, especially for a club like Liverpool. I cannot do it on three wheels, it is not allowed, and I have never wanted to be a passenger. It was not my idea (to quit prematurely) when I signed a new contract, I was 100 per cent convinced we would go until 2026. I under-estimated or judged it wrong because I thought my energy level was endless because it always was – and now it is not. Then we have to change.”

A lot of the talk has already turned to who will succeed him in the summer. Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso has emerged as the early favourite to succeed Klopp, with his attractive Bundesliga pace-setters giving Bayern Munich a real challenge in the title race. Another former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, currently at Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, has also been linked, and there was a time when he was at Rangers that many believed he was heir to the throne. Alonso played it cool when asked about the Liverpool job. “Speculation is normal. My focus is here in Leverkusen,” he told a press conference ahead of his side’s match with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Klopp guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2019.Klopp guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2019.
Klopp guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2019.

Klopp will play no part in the appointment, but is confident Liverpool will secure a “top manager”. The club are currently without a sporting director but in 2015 Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon led the recruitment of Klopp. A similar scenario is in place this time around but Klopp will not offer his input, saying: “No, why should I? The last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out who tells them ‘By the way, make sure you bring him in’. I will definitely not do that. I don’t want to be the passenger who is disturbing that process. They will get a top manager here, there will be good football.”

What next for Klopp? He plans to take a year off and then see how he feels, but has ruled out a return to management in England. He will leave an incredible legacy. His rock n’ roll gegenpressing football that won him the crux of his titles took English football by storm and influenced many other coaches. He has cultivated some of the best footballers in the world – just look at Mo Salah, a monster under his watch. Scotland have benefitted too, with Andy Robertson developing into one of the world’s most dangerous attacking left full-backs. The national team captain, like many of his team-mates, has much to thank him for. “Whatever will happen in the future I don’t know now, but no club, no country, for the next year, and no other English club ever,” he said. “I can promise that, even if I have nothing to eat that will not happen.”

Klopp is sure to get the warmest of receptions from an emotional Anfield on Sunday, when Liverpool take on Norwich City in the FA Cup. Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan vowed Klopp’s decision will not disturb matters on the pitch. “It is not to be a distraction,” he said. “This is about making sure this campaign continues and the team continues to perform.” You would not bet against his final months culminating in a trophy haul.