Klopp won’t help pick own successor at Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has said he will not help Liverpool identify his successor at Anfield after confirming plans to step down from his post as manager at the end of this season.

Klopp, 56, signed a four-year contract extension in 2022 that would have tied him to the club until the end of the 2025-26 season, but having taken charge of the team in October 2015, the former Borussia Dortmund coach said his decision to resign was due to him no longer having the energy to do the job.

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Speaking at a news conference at Liverpool’s training ground Friday after revealing his decision to quit hours earlier, Klopp said nothing between now and the end of the season could prompt him to reconsider his decision to leave.

But despite his success in transforming Liverpool during his eight-year spell in charge, which includes winning both the Premier League and the Champions League, Klopp said he will have no input in the club’s search for a new manager.

“No, why should I?” Klopp said. “The last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out who tells them: ‘By the way, make sure you bring him in.’

“I will definitely not do that. You know for most of the things I have an opinion, and you will not believe that for most I still didn’t say everything and I have no problem with that.

“I wish for the future of this club the very, very, very best and for now I am still here and can help them to achieve the best possible.

“In this world you have a few, in football especially, a few faces and most of the time it is the manager of the club and people like [CEO Billy Hogan] or others who do an incredible job you don’t see that often. That’s how you live this business.

“It looks like I do all the work but I don’t, I can’t. That means all what we built in the last 8½ years is an incredibly strong structure behind the scenes so everything goes in the right direction. That’s the good news. That is one of the reasons why I can leave.

“My responsibility was so big that my idea was always to put everything in place to help with everything, that this club gets stronger and stronger, and we did that not to perfection but as good as we could.

“So many people work here with only one idea: to find a perfect solution for Liverpool and I am pretty sure that will happen.”

With Liverpool following up Klopp’s resignation by announcing that sporting director Jorg Schmadtke will also leave post at the end of the January transfer window, the search for the new manager will be led by Hogan and the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso, the former Liverpool midfielder, has emerged as a strong contender after guiding the German team to the top of the Bundesliga this season, but Hogan said that the club now embark on the search for a manager away from the public gaze, with no timescale set for an appointment to be announced.

“From our perspective, I wouldn’t want to set an expectation,” Hogan said. “The way we operate as a football club is to make sure we look at all the information and all the data, we’ve done our proper due diligence and then make a decision and have an announcement at that time.

“I can’t commit to a timeline on it. It will go on in the background and we will ensure we are doing everything possible to make sure we make the right decision for the future of this football club.

“That is the way we have always operated and we will through this process and at the same time it is not to be a distraction.

“This is about making sure this campaign continues and the team continues to perform and, as I said, when we have something to say, we will have something to say at that point.”

Hogan admitted, however, that Klopp’s decision — Klopp made the club aware of his plans in November — has been a shock.

“Yeah, we were talking about it earlier,” Hogan said. “I had a conversation with my son who said, ‘I thought he was going to manage forever!’ So I can understand the impact and as he said, the shock.

“We are all in a position where we want to get back to playing and winning football matches, but in terms of his impact, it has been enormous and as a colleague it has been an incredible last eight-plus years and as a fan, equally so.

“So we hope that continues, we have targets ahead of us and that is where our focus is going to be.”

Klopp said he wants to enjoy a “normal life” when he steps down at the end of the season and insisted he would not change his mind on his decision to quit.

When he was told that Sir Alex Ferguson U-turned on a decision to retire as Manchester United manager at the end of the 2001-02 season — Ferguson eventually retired in 2013 at the age of 71 — Klopp ruled out a similar reverse decision.

“No. Alex Ferguson did that?” Klopp said. “No, nothing [will make me change my mind]. I respect Alex a lot and I don’t know what drove him. I really thought a lot about it, and because of our relationship — mine with the club — the situation is always clear.

“I want everything this season and it wouldn’t change my mind, and 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.

“This team is set up for the future. When I said Liverpool 2.0 that didn’t include me obviously for the next 10 years but the team is there, the basis is there.

“Whoever comes in cannot give anybody a guarantee to win trophies but can give a good chance to play really good football. That’s fine.

“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.”

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