In November of last year, Mike Gordon, president of the Fenway Sports Group, got the call he had been dreading for a long time. Jurgen Klopp was talking on the other end of the line. As the manager put it, “Liverpool 2.0” were flying on the field after the summer rebuild, but this wasn’t a positive news for the club’s American owners. Klopp said that he had been thinking a lot about it and had decided that this would be the last season as manager of Liverpool. He was set on leaving in May. He felt like he didn’t have the strength to keep going. He didn’t want to do the job on “three wheels” because he was tired of it.
We’re here because you have a word for the Liverpool fans, Jürgen. Could you tell me what that is?
I do need to. After the season is over, I’ll be leaving the club. Sure, I can see why that would be shocking to many people right now, when they hear it for the first time. But I can explain it, or at least try to. I love this club, the city, our fans, the team, and the staff. I enjoy everything. But the fact that I’m still making this choice shows that I’m sure it’s the right one. The reason is that I’m, how shall I put it, tired. I’m fine now; I’ve known for a while that I would have to say it at some point, but I’m fine now. I’m aware that I can’t keep doing the job over and over again. Because we were together for so long and did so many things and lived so many years together, my love and respect for you grew. The least I can do is tell you the truth, and to you I give it. That’s pretty much it.
You gave a long first answer, but I’m sure you know how important this news is for our fans, so let’s get into some of the details and talk about why you made your choice. Fans will probably want to know right away if something happened and if you’re okay.
I’m fine. As healthy as you can be at my age, I guess. Things like that, little bits and pieces, but nothing that anyone needs to worry about, so that’s fine. I told the club in November. Maybe people see what I do from the outside because I’m on the sidelines, in training classes, and other places like that, but most of the time, things happen around these kinds of things. When a season starts, you start making plans for the next one. At one point, as we talked about possible hires, the next summer camp, and where we could go, I had the thought, “I’m not sure I’m here then anymore.” That surprised me. It makes sense that I start to think about it. It didn’t start then, but last season was pretty tough, and there were times when, at other clubs, it might have been decided, “Come on, thank you very much for everything, but probably we should split here or end it here.” That didn’t happen here, though. Really, really, really important to me that I could help get this team back on track. I could only think about it. When I realized early on that it was a really good team with a lot of promise, a great age group, great characters, and all that, I was able to think about myself again, which is what happened. I don’t want to do it; I’m just sure it’s the right thing to do. Okay, that’s it.
When you think about it, why are you making this choice now, given how far along the season is?
In a perfect world, I would not have talked to anyone until the season was over. I would have won everything and then said goodbye. It’s not possible. In the world we live in, things like this can’t be kept hidden. The fact that we were able to do so until now may come as a surprise. Much of the time, it affects personal issues more than anything else. My team needs to know early on, but the club needs to know early on so they can make plans. You can’t make any plans or start anything. A lot of things can be done if you know about it but don’t tell anyone, but you can’t do the important things. That means the club has to wait. Over the years, I played a pretty big part. It wasn’t planned, but it did happen. There were times when I wished I didn’t have to leave a club again. This is the third time I have to do something like that, and I really don’t want to do it again. But in the end I have to because I am sure that if you have to make a choice like that, it is better to do it a little early than a little late. If, I don’t know, next season in September I realized, “Oh my God, that’s it—I can’t do it anymore,” it would have been the worst thing that could have happened. But now we’re in the middle of a season and everything. We’ve built a great foundation for the future with this club and everything else we’ve done over the last few years. The only thing that could go wrong now is that you don’t have enough time to make the right decisions, which is why it was so important to me that I tell everyone as soon as possible.
You used the word “disturbance” there. Are you worried that this news might ruin the rest of the season?
I completely understand the question, but I think that’s up to us. It happened to me the same way at Dortmund. Even though the details are different, you can’t deny that the situation is the same. We are in charge. Once this is over, we’ll have a news conference and other things. After that, I’m all in for this season. You know, we can get through it. In an ideal world, we have about 30 games coming up. In some places, that’s a full season. And there are lots of things to play for. People outside of us might have ideas that could get in the way of what we’re doing, but it’s all about us. It’s truly amazing how much we’ve grown together over the last few years. Exceptionally great. I’ve always said this, and it’s still true: nothing has to happen because of me. No one should make the games about me now; if you could, that would be great. We’re all here to help each other. It hasn’t been clear to anyone that I’ve changed in the last few months. If they did, it might be a good thing, because I have to say that making the choice, even though it was hard, was also a relief. And it wasn’t because they were leaving. It was like, “OK, there is a finishing line.” I would love to stay in that job, but I just can’t. Okay, that’s it. To perform at the top level, I really want to, and we only get in the way if we let it happen as a club. This is something I really hope doesn’t happen. I’m sure the team will be fine. They will be fine with the crowd, but the world is bigger now with social media and other things like that. I think it is still worth it to do what we always did. We enjoy the present, push each other as hard as we can, and do everything we set our minds to. The rest is next season. To be honest, that season doesn’t really make a difference. Over the last few years, everything that happened was always in my name. However, it’s clear that many other people are working on everything, and they are still working on it. A lot of things will stay the same, but my job will change. The club is in good hands, and the future looks bright. It will be even brighter when I don’t have to do it with half as much energy as I did before. When you look at my path, I would say that it’s not possible because becoming the manager of Liverpool FC is like something out of a fairy tale and is very hard to plan. Reaching that goal is impossible to plan and hard to achieve, but it is possible if you are very busy and give your whole life to everything you do. I did that. Like any other guy, I came here and said it on the first day. I’m still a normal person, but my life hasn’t been normal for too long. I don’t want to wait until I’m too old to live a normal life. I need to try it at least once to see how it works and if I’ll miss it. As I already said, I’ve never really had this before, so I need to give it a try. Now is the right time for me, and I think it’s also the right time for the club, because I can’t do the job the way I did it before, so I’m not the right person for the job.
In what way did the club’s owners react when you told them?
They didn’t wreck a party! Our relationship has grown really good over the years, but I told them about it, and they know that I don’t say things like that. I always leave the door open and say things like, “Come on, try to convince me.” We’ve known each other for a long time and are really good friends. That was very clear, and they just agreed with it.
No one was really pleased. The few people I’ve told so far were not very happy. It doesn’t make me happy, but I know it’s right. What are the other possible outcomes? What do they look like? As a boss, you should expect to be fired. Everyone is glad when you go your separate ways after a bad stretch of five, six, or seven weeks. I don’t know what the other one is… you get sick and have to stop. And I have to do it that way, which is either bad or good. It bothers me that we have to make such a big deal out of me;
I don’t think I’m that important, but I know that other people do. That’s the reason we do it. It’s not often that we hold a press conference or make an official statement like this. We just want to make sure that everyone here gets the best information possible. It doesn’t matter what game comes next—it’s going to be the Norwich game, the Chelsea game, the Arsenal game, or any other game. I agree with that 100%. It’s not time for a goodbye party yet because the season is still going strong. I’m giving it my all because I want to be. I am. No one needs to worry about how I feel. It would be great if you could just understand that my choice was tough but the right one. Okay, that’s it. If I still think it’s the right one even though I love everything else, that might be a sign that it is.
What do you think? Once the news is made, it’s back to normal in this building?
Sure, of course. Everything was the same, but some people looked sad for a few days. It’s clear that changing things doesn’t happen very often, but there is still a chance if it does. There’s no way to know what will happen in the future, but this team is so strong now. You could have asked my younger self to lead this team ten years ago, and I would have run through a wall to do it. The bad news is that I did this job for 24 years, and now I need to take a look at how life is… how life is, really. I don’t know why. I’m not sure. If you want, that’s what I need to figure out before it’s too late. I need to do that now. I signed a new contract not too long ago, and I was over the moon when I did it. That’s exactly how I felt at that time. It’s something I didn’t know or thought wouldn’t happen, but my energy source isn’t endless. I never had that problem before. When I knew that, I had to tell other people. That’s what I owe all of you. I tried to explain it to Ulla before, but it wasn’t clear. I tried to explain it by saying that I’m like a good racing car—not the best, but a pretty good one—that can still go 160, 170, or 180 mph, but I’m the only one who can see that the gas gauge is going down. That’s good, because no one else can see that. You go as long as we need you to, but then you need a break. So, you need to go to the gas station. I know I need to do that, but no one needs to worry until the end of the season. I’ll be fine through that time.
A lot of people talked about Ulla and how she helped make that happen when you signed that last letter in 2022. How does she feel about this news?
Of course I had to explain it. Don’t get the wrong idea—it wasn’t like, “Oh, thank God.” Not in the least. When she asked me why, I told her pretty much the same thing I’m telling you now, with a few more details that might be private. Ulla wants me to do well and be okay, and she is happy for me that I’m okay with the choice. She knows that I don’t take things like this lightly, so she understood that I was clear about that. Because it’s true. I love it when people tell me about all the fun things we’re doing right now and how the team is doing, etc.
I also like it because I know I won’t have to do it forever. A different goal is also something I need to find. I need to look for it. If you ask me, “Will you ever be a manager again? “I would say no right now. I have never been in that position, though, so I have no idea how it will feel. What I know for sure is that I will never, ever manage any other English club besides Liverpool. It’s not possible. This club and the people in it mean too much to me. I was unable to.
I couldn’t even think about it for a second. There’s no way. We feel like we belong here; it’s a part of my life. That can’t be done. But what about the rest? Will I ever work again? I mean, I know I can’t just sit there. I think I’ll find something else to do. But for at least a year, I won’t be in charge of a club or a country. I can’t and don’t want to do that. That’s it. It’s really weird that I have to say I don’t have energy anymore but right now I’m sitting here with energy and I’m excited about everything going on here. But I need to think about this because of how we are together. I have to make this choice on my own because no one is going to fire me. Being in charge of everything here makes me think I’m not the right person for the job, so I have to tell. As much as I’d like to be. That’s what I do here. It is really strange. I’m really excited for the Norwich game, which will be played at home. After that, we play Chelsea at home. At some point, the whole new stand will be full. It’s amazing how many great things have happened since I got here, and I love all of them. But I will follow them, be a part of them, and support them, but I won’t be in charge anymore from now on.
Klopp is sick of FSG money limits – Enrique
Enrique, who played for Liverpool from 2011 to 2016, told Sky Sports that Klopp is tired of having to do miracles because the club’s owners won’t open their wallets.
“I think something happened,” Enrique said. “I have my own thoughts on it, and I think it has something to do with the money and ownership that he’s tired of.
“to have to keep fighting every year to get the players he wants signed.” He’s not able to do wonders all the time.
“That’s just my opinion. He’s already said what he thinks, and that’s the real one.” But from my point of view and as a former player, he needs to do things every year, you know?
“It’s clear that they have a great team this year to win things, but during the January trade window, they don’t give the team what they need.
“I really think they need one or two players, and I think Klopp does too, even if he doesn’t say it.”
“I think he’s sick of it. He might think it’s going to be a good season, and then he’ll leave like a king.”
“At the end, the owners were pushed because if they didn’t, he was going to Tottenham.”
“That’s a sad thing.” You have a manager like him who can fight with Man City, who always seems to be able to get any player they want.
“You get Erling Haaland for goals.” First you pay £100 million for Jack Grealish. Then you pay the same amount for Jeremy Doku.
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