After eight-and-a-half years, the search is on to find Liverpool’s next manager after Jurgen Klopp announced his decision to leave the club at the end of the 2023/24 season.
The German has been at the helm at Anfield since October 2015 and has led the club to a host of honours since, including the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Super Cup, as well as the FA Community Shield.
However, Klopp announced on Friday that he will step away from the role despite his ‘love’ for Liverpool and their supporters, citing ‘running out of energy’ as the main reason behind his decision.
“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,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“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.
Jürgen Klopp has announced his decision to step down as #LFC manager at the end of the season, having informed the club’s ownership of his wish to leave his position in the summer.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 26, 2024
“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.”
In an extended interview with Liverpool’s official website, Klopp revealed he’d informed the club of his decision back in November, but that he found it important to help them ‘back onto the rails’ after a disappointing campaign in 2022/23, with the Reds missing out on Champions League football.
“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,” Klopp added.
“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.”
Klopp, now 56 years old, has hinted that he may never manage again at all. At the very least, he has stated he will ‘never’ manage another English club.
“If you ask me, ‘Will you ever work as a manager again?’ I would say now no,” he said, adding: “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.”
At the time of Klopp’s announcement, Liverpool still have the chance of winning a historic quadruple, sitting top of the Premier League table while safely through to the League Cup final and battling on in the FA Cup and Europa League.
Alongside Klopp, Pepijn Lijnders, Peter Krawietz and Vitor Matos will all depart Liverpool at the end of the current season.
Liverpool have also announced another change, with sporting director Jorg Schmadtke to leave his role following the conclusion of the current January transfer window. Schmadtke only arrived at Anfield last June having performed similar roles in German football with Wolfsburg, FC Köln, Hannover and Alemannia Aachen.
Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon said: “We would like to place on record our gratitude to Jorg for the important role he has played since joining Liverpool last summer.
“He has made a valuable contribution, both in terms of the support he provided to Jürgen Klopp and the assistance and guidance given to our outstanding football operations department.
“As well as departing with our appreciation for his efforts, we would also like to take this opportunity to offer Jorg and his family our very best wishes for the future.”
Schmadtke said: “Liverpool is a very special club so to have had the opportunity to work here has been a huge honour for me, even though I knew from the outset that it would only be for a short period.
“I would like to thank everyone – the owners, manager, staff, players and fans – for the support I have been given and offer my best wishes for the rest of this season.”
Jurgen Klopp to leave Liverpool: Reaction
Having established himself as one of the greatest managers ever to grace English football, the reaction to Klopp’s decision was obviously strong and laced with emotion, especially from Liverpool supporters and players who worked under him at the club. Jamie Carragher, for example, was shocked by the timing of the decision, which he was confident was still years into the future.
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
Other prominent Liverpool supporters and journalists spoke of their ‘devastation’ at the news of Klopp’s departure, praising the German’s personality and managerial ability.
Don’t even know where to begin with this one. For once I’m lost for words. All I’ll say is that Jürgen Klopp is a better human being than he is a football manager – and that’s saying something in itself, because I think he’s the best football manager in the world. pic.twitter.com/Vt1UNTg3o6
— Jamie Webster (@JamieWebster94) January 26, 2024
No words to encapsulate the magnitude of what Klopp has done for #LFC. Completely revolutionised the club & reinvigorated a fanbase from stem to stern. Given us the time of our lives. Inspiring leader & an unbelievable legacy – imperative we see him off on a high. Devastated.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) January 26, 2024
We HAVE to win the Premier League now.
All or Nothing, for Jurgen Klopp. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0ODw9gmt0M
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) January 26, 2024
Fellow German manager Thomas Tuchel — currently in charge of Bayern Munich — also had his say on Klopp’s departure, hailing his compatriot ‘one of the very best’.
Thomas Tuchel on Klopp's decision to leave Liverpool: "I have to digest that first, I can't say anything at the moment. Kloppo is one of the very best coaches in the world, he has always managed to influence the clubs where he worked. It's big news" pic.twitter.com/cUjE0Q7a3d
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) January 26, 2024
Of course, attention quickly turned to who might replace Klopp in the Anfield dugout.
Lijnders himself is among the favourites as he looks to pursue his own career in management, while former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is an obvious name in the hat.
However, it’s Gerrard’s former midfield partner, Xabi Alonso, who is the favourite, both among oddsmakers and supporters — and a worrying prospect for rival fans. The Spaniard is currently turning heads across Europe with his exciting and inventive Bayer Leverkusen side sitting four points clear of Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga table, unbeaten after 18 games.
This season, Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen became the first team in German football history to remain unbeaten after the first 25 games of a campaign across all competitions.
The heir to Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool throne? 👑 pic.twitter.com/QPiNSqsMEf
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 26, 2024
If the consensus on X is anything to go by, Alonso is the number one choice to replace Klopp.
There shouldn’t even be this conversation yet, but it’s already starting and I suppose you can’t really stop it from happening, people will always immediately look to what’s next and I’m about to join in so I’m a hypocrite.
The only answer is Xabi Alonso.
— Adam Rowe (@adamrowecomedy) January 26, 2024
Xabi Alonso, you know what to do.
Send that CV to Liverpool IMMEDIATELY! pic.twitter.com/OnJ6XKTVZo
— Co$y 𝕵𝕰𝕸 (@WOLFE3YY) January 26, 2024
Xabi Alonso to Liverpool might be the most obvious managerial appointment I could possibly think of.
Historically, stylistically, sentimentally — it’s perfect.
— Neal 🇦🇺 (@NealGardner_) January 26, 2024
Bayern, Real Madrid get rid of your managers NOW and get Xabi Alonso. Pool’s succession plan is too bait
— A1 🇵🇸 (@A1ZH4RY) January 26, 2024
Liverpool are going to take Xabi Alonso now, aren't they?
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) January 26, 2024
Klopp leaving means two terrible things. We’re losing the final AND they’re getting Xabi Alonso pic.twitter.com/iUgZJMc5KK
— – (@MauricioPanini) January 26, 2024
They're going to get Xabi Alonso, aren't they?
— h (@htomufc) January 26, 2024
Xabi Alonso has a release clause in his contract that allows him to leave Bayer Leverkusen for Liverpool or Real Madrid. The release clause becomes active this summer! 🇪🇸
— The Anfield Buzz (@TheAnfieldBuzz) January 26, 2024
Next Permanent Liverpool Manager Odds
|Next permanent Liverpool manager
|Roberto De Zerbi