Jurgen Klopp has announced he is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season.
Klopp, who will hold a press conference at 3 pm on Friday, has explained he is “running out of energy”.
“I will leave the club at the end of the season,” Klopp said in an emotional video posted by Liverpool. “I understand that it’s a shock.”
Klopp confirmed he had told the club’s bosses about his intention to stand down back in November last year.
“When we sat there together talking about potential signings, the next summer camp and can we go wherever, the thought came up, ‘I am not sure I am here then anymore’ and I was surprised myself by that. I obviously start thinking about it.”
Former Liverpool midfielder and current Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso has been installed as the early frontrunner to replace Klopp.
“This news was always going to be a body blow to the club whenever it came,” responded Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher. “I just thought it would be another few years away. What a manager, what a man, let’s go out with a bang Jurgen!”
Klopp has won six trophies with Liverpool, including the Premier League title in 2020 and the Champions League trophy the year before.
Liverpool currently lead the Premier League and reached the Carabao Cup final in midweek, while they are still in the Europa League and the FA Cup.
Klopp had signed a two-year extension to his contract at Anfield in April 2022, which was scheduled to keep him at the club until 2026.
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! https://t.co/ajw372IEWX
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) January 26, 2024
The 56-year-old was appointed Brendan Rodgers’ replacement in October 2015, having forged his reputation at Borussia Dortmund.
Under him, Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 and he took them to the 2013 Champions League final, where they lost to Bayern Munich at Wembley.
Klopp admitted that given the Reds’ struggles last season, he may not have lasted the campaign at another club.
“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,” he added.
“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 per cent right.”
Klopp has also ruled out coaching another team in England.
“If you ask me, ‘Will you ever work as a manager again?’ I would say now no,” he added. “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.”
Meanwhile, Mike Gordon, the Fenway Sports Group president, praised Klopp’s impact at the club, saying: “I would like to take this opportunity to place on record our gratitude to Jürgen for everything he has done and continues to do for Liverpool Football Club. Thank you, Jürgen. When the time comes, you will never walk alone.
“[We will] continue the due diligence behind the scenes which will allow our football ops department to adapt to a future without Jurgen. These ambitions will be pursued in the best interests of the club and its supporters and we will update fans as and when significant developments are made.”
Klopp’s backroom team of Pepijn Lijnders, Peter Krawietz and Vitor Matos are all also set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.
In full – Klopp’s explanation for leaving Liverpool in his own words
“Yes, I have to [announce something]. I will leave the club at the end of the season. 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.
“After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth.”
Has something happened and are you OK?
“I am OK. I am healthy, as much as you can [be] at my age. Little bits and bobs, stuff like that, but nothing anybody has to be concerned about, so that’s absolutely fine. I told the club already in November. I have to explain a little bit that maybe the job I do people see from the outside, I’m on the touchline and in training sessions and stuff like this, but the majority of all the things happen around these kind of things.
“That means a season starts and you plan pretty much the next season already. When we sat there together talking about potential signings, the next summer camp and can we go wherever, the thought came up, ‘I am not sure I am here then anymore’ and I was surprised myself by that. I obviously start thinking about it. 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. For me it was super, super, super-important that I can help to bring this team back onto 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 per cent right. That’s it.”
Is there a reason you’re making this decision now, particularly given the stage of the season we’re at?
“In an ideal world I wouldn’t have said anything to anybody until the end of the season, win everything and then say goodbye. That’s not possible. In the world we are living in, it’s not possible to keep things like this secret; it’s maybe a surprise that we could keep it [a secret] until now.
“There are so many things which are influenced by it, especially personal situations. People from my staff need to know early – and especially the club needs to know early and needs to plan. You cannot plan anything and you cannot really start. You can do a lot of stuff with knowing it but not making it public, but the decisive things, a lot of things, you cannot do. That means the club needs time.”
Are you at all concerned this news could have a negative impact on the remainder of the season?
“I understand the question 100 per cent, [but] that’s up to us, I would say. I had a similar situation at Dortmund. The circumstances are completely different but it is a similar situation, you cannot deny that. It is up to us. After this announcement we will have a press conference and stuff like that. After that, I am 100 per cent in this season. We can go through it, I think in an ideal world we have kind of 30 games coming up or something like that. That is, in other countries, a full season. There are so many things to play for and there might be some ideas from the outside to disturb what we are doing, but it is all about us.
“I came here, and I said it on the first day, as a normal guy. I am still a normal guy, I just don’t live a normal life for too long now. I don’t want to wait until I am too old for having a normal life. I need to at least give it a try at one point to see how it is and will I miss it. As I said, I never really had this before so I need to give it a try and it is the right moment for me and I think it is the right moment for the club because I can’t do the job from next year on anymore as I did it before, and then I am not the right one anymore.”
What was the reaction of the club’s ownership when you informed them?
“They didn’t smash a party! We developed a really good relationship over the years, but I explained it and they know me now for so long that they know I don’t say these kind of things and leave a little bit of the door open, ‘Come on, try to convince me’ and these kind of things. As I said, we’ve known each for so long and that good. That was clear and they accepted, they just accepted it. Nobody was really happy. The few people I have told so far, who I told so far, were not really happy. I am not happy with it, I just know it’s right.
“But after this I’m completely in the Norwich game, I’m completely in the Chelsea game, in the Arsenal game, whatever game is coming up. I’m completely in that. There is no need for any farewell parties now, there is a long season to go. I want to be 100 per cent in it, and I am. I am. Nobody has to worry about my mindset. It would be really cool if you just could accept my decision as a difficult one but the right one. That’s it. Because as much as I love everything, I still think it’s the right one – that could show you it is probably the right one.”
From your perspective, after the announcement is made, in this building it’s just business as usual?
“Yeah, definitely. Business as usual, with a few sad faces for a few days. f you would have asked my younger version 10 years ago to take over this team, I would have run through a brick wall to do that. Unfortunately, I did this job for 24 years and at one time I need to have a look how life is… how life is, actually. Because I don’t know. I just don’t know. And that’s what I need to figure out before it’s too late for me, if you want. I have to try that now. And I know, I don’t know exactly when but I signed a new contract not too long ago, and I was over the moon when I did it and it was exactly what I felt in that moment. The one thing I didn’t know and I underestimated was the fact that my energy source is not endless, because I never had that issue. And when I realised that then I had to tell people. That’s what I owe you all.”
When you signed that last contract in 2022, there was a lot of talk about Ulla and her influence in making that happen. What’s her reaction to this news?
“I had to explain it, of course I had to. It was not like, ‘Oh, thank God.’ You must not misunderstand. Not at all. She asked me why and I explained it like I explain it now to you, with a few more maybe private details, but besides that it was pretty similar. And obviously Ulla wants me to do well and be fine, and when she realised that I’m really clear about that – and she knows I don’t take these kind of things lightly – she is happy for me, that I’m happy with the decision. Because that’s the truth.
“If you ask me, ‘Will you ever work as a manager again?’ I would say now no. 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 per cent. That’s not possible. My love for this club, my respect for the people is too big. I couldn’t. I couldn’t for a second think about it. There’s no chance. This is part of my life, we are part of the family, we feel home here. There’s no chance to do that. But all the rest, will I ever work again? Of course, I know myself, I cannot just sit around. I will find something else maybe to do.”
What is your message to Liverpool’s supporters?
“The message to supporters: I really would like you to accept the decision. That would be nice. And then if I can ask for one more thing, after telling you don’t sing my song too early, after telling you be loud in the stadium, stuff like this, if I could ask you for one more thing it would be: don’t make these games about me, because there’s no need. The only thing I always wanted was the full support for the team, it’s not for me.
“Let’s now really go for it. The outside world want to use this decision, laugh about it, want to disturb us. We are Liverpool, we went through harder things together. And you went through harder things before me. Let’s make a strength of it. That would be really cool. Let’s squeeze everything out of this season and have another thing to smile about when we look back in the future. Thank you.”