Jürgen Klopp to leave Liverpool at end of season

Jurgen Klopp has shocked the world of football by announcing he will stand down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season after admitting he is “running out of energy”.

The 56-year-old German, who has led the Reds to six major trophies since taking charge in October 2015, said he informed the club’s bosses of his decision to leave back in November.

Klopp admitted he expected those outside the club to “laugh about” his exit and use it as an excuse to “disturb” Liverpool, but called on everyone connected to the Reds to rally around for a glorious finale.

His departure has immediately led to speculation over who will succeed him in the Anfield hotseat.

Former Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is one of the hottest coaching properties in the world after leading Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga, is the early bookmakers’ favourite while former captain Steven Gerrard is also sure to be in contention.

“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,” Klopp told his club’s official website.

“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 further explained the reasons behind his shock decision at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

“With all the responsibility you have in this job and things, you have to be completely on top of your game – I am, but I am doing this for 24 years now and I said that before, when you have the career I have, it is just because you absolutely invested everything you had,” the German said.

“That is what I always did and it was never a problem. I realised that my resources are not endless and I preferred to pack absolutely everything into this season and then have a break or whatever to stop.

“We are no young rabbits any more and we don’t jump as high as we did, all these kinds of things, that is how it is.”

Klopp said the reaction of his players when he told them the news was “top”.

Klopp guided the Reds to Champions League glory in 2019.

“The relief was there but I made a decision for myself,” he said. “I didn’t know that would be the case.

“Today it is mixed, but I am not as emotional as I will be at the end. Two important things I had to do was to tell our supporters and to tell the players.

“The reaction of the players was top, was really good, we have known each other so long they know I don’t say things like that and walk away.

“I am here and today I answer 500,000 (questions) if you want and that’s it then until the end of the season because we have so many other things to do.

“There is not a lot of emotion. I had some talks over the past days and there were tears and stuff like this, but it is normal after such a long time. It is the right thing to do, the club needs time to plan the future while we are sorting the present. That is exactly what will happen.”

Klopp joined Liverpool as the successor to Brendan Rodgers, and arrived with a strong CV having taken Borussia Dortmund to successive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, and to the 2013 Champions League final.

His greatest achievements to date with the Reds are the Premier League title in 2020, when they became the only club other than Manchester City to secure the top-flight crown in the last five seasons, and winning the Champions League in 2019.

The Reds have also won the FA Cup, League Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his time in charge.

Liverpool are still in the hunt in four competitions this season and Klopp is determined the club can shut out the chatter and the sniping from outside and end his era on a high.

“Let’s now really go for it. The outside world want to use this decision, laugh about it, want to disturb us,” he said.

“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.”

Alonso was asked about the link to his former club this afternoon but stated his focus was Leverkusen’s campaign.

Alonso’s Leverkusen are unbeaten so far this season.

“Speculation is normal. What Jurgen has done in Liverpool I have a lot of respect for and great admiration for what he has done over the last few years.

“My focus is here at Bayer Leverkusen. I have a lot of motivation to do good work here. I’m very content and happy with the team and the club,” he said.

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

Mike Gordon, the president of the Fenway Sports Group which owns Liverpool, said the club would take a “business as usual” approach to Klopp’s exit.

Gordon said: “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.

“In keeping with Jurgen’s expressed wishes, we will save the comprehensive tributes for a more appropriate time but, nevertheless, we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to reaffirm that his appointment remains one of the greatest blessings of our time as owners.

“The incredible achievements of the intervening years speak for themselves, so too does the joy that Jurgen and his team have brought to all of us supporters. His many accomplishments will never be taken for granted.”

Also speaking at Friday’s press conference alongside Klopp, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan added on the next steps: “Jurgen wanted to give the club the opportunity to go through what will be an orderly process. That is not easy to do if this news isn’t public.

“We will go through that process as we have done in the past. The same process that brought us Jurgen almost nine years ago, and that is something we will do in private.

“When we get to a place where we have further news on that, we can discuss it at that point, but it is not going to be something that is going to be a running commentary.

“When we are ready to talk about things we will, until that point we won’t. We won’t talk about other people or get into the name game.

“This is an announcement we are making, and after today we are focused on the campaign ahead and making it something supporters can look back on with enjoyment.”

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