Jürgen Klopp to step down as Liverpool manager at end of season

German reveals decision as he is ‘running out of energy’, adding ‘I can understand it’s a shock for a lot of people’

Jürgen Klopp blamed fatigue for his bombshell decision to stand down as Liverpool manager after almost nine years in the job and insisted nothing could make him U-turn like Sir Alex Ferguson did at Manchester United.

Klopp is under contract at Liverpool, a club he transformed after replacing Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, until 2026 but has opted to leave at the end of this season – two years early – having grown tired of the intense demands on the role. He informed Mike Gordon, the president of Liverpool’s owner, Fenway Sports Group, of his decision in November but told Liverpool’s players only before training on Friday.

The search for Klopp’s replacement is under way but Liverpool maintain no approaches have been made. The former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso is likely to be among the front-runners having led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga.

Klopp claimed he would have no say in the appointment of his successor. Also unlike Ferguson, who chose David Moyes as his replacement at United and changed his mind on retiring midway through the 2001‑02 ­season, he insisted he would not reconsider even if his team won all four available trophies this season.


“No,” stated Klopp, when asked whether anything could make him perform a Ferguson-style U-turn. “Alex Ferguson did that? No, nothing. 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 [to win] everything this season and it wouldn’t change my mind. If we don’t win anything it wouldn’t change my mind. It’s a decision I made independent of any kind of results. A big one is the potential of the team. I really see it is a really good basis, not more, we are not better than other teams or whatever, but we have a good basis to work with and that’s really important. That’s why it is a good moment to give it to someone else.”

Klopp was drained by last season’s disappointments, when Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in seven years, and enthused by the midfield recruitment drive that followed in the summer. However, despite Liverpool recovering their position as the biggest challenger to Manchester City’s dominance, Klopp realised he lacked the energy required for the job when planning the 2024 preseason in November.

He said: “Realising how good this team can be gave me a lot of joy. In this moment, I love each minute. It is just the stuff you have to do next. The planning, the transfer window, planning preseason. All these things you need to be spot on and I did it so often. I had six press conferences a week for nine years. I can’t wait for a moment when I don’t have to do that.

“You have to be the best version of yourself, especially for a club like Liverpool where it means so much, and I cannot do it on three wheels. It is not allowed. I have never wanted to be a passenger. 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 then stop it. It was not my idea [to stop] when I signed a new contract. I was 100 per cent convinced in this moment that we would go until 2026. I judged it wrong. I underestimated because I thought my energy level was endless and now it is not.”

Klopp said he would not manage a club or a country for a year after leaving and ruled out returning to England in the future. He hopes “the best memories are still to come” at Liverpool, who reached the Carabao Cup final on Wednesday and lead the Premier League title race. He rejected a claim by the former Liverpool defender José Enrique that financial frustrations with FSG played a part in his shock decision.

“It is nothing to do with FSG,” he said. “It would be so easy in this job to just blame the owners and say we would have won more if FSG had spent more. Was I always happy? No. But we built two stands [at Anfield] which will stay forever. We built this training ground which will stay for the next 30, 40 years. We did ­everything properly. We did it the Liverpool way.

“That we didn’t win the league with 97 points or the Champions League final has nothing to do with signing one more player. If you want to blame anyone for not ­winning the Champions League three more times then it’s me.”

There will be wholesale change at Liverpool this summer, with the assistant managers Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, along with elite development coach Vítor Matos, also leaving. Lijnders and Matos wish to pursue their own managerial careers. The sporting director Jörg Schmadtke is leaving too.

Klopp hopes his announcement will galvanise Liverpool’s pursuit of silverware in what will be, most unexpectedly, his final season at a club where he is idolised. Beyond that, the charismatic German coach believes he will bequeath a squad and a club in excellent shape.

“This team is set up for the future,” he said. “When I said ‘Liverpool 2′ that obviously didn’t include me for the next 10 years but the team is there, the basis is there. They will get a top manager here, there will be good football. What we all learned and improved and did in the last few years, changing from doubters to believers and staying believing in difficult moments, if we keep all that, then it is a wonderful future ahead. That is all I want and I don’t want to be the passenger who is disturbing that process.” – Guardian