Jürgen Klopp’s announcement of his intention to leave Liverpool at the end of the season was met with shock by the football world. While some opposing fans have expressed joy at the news, most reactions, from those connected to the Merseyside club and opposing circles alike, display how much the 56-year-old German is respected, and in many cases revered, among members of the football fraternity.
What does Klopp’s leaving mean for the famous club itself, though? Over the past eight years, the likeable manager has returned a sleeping giant to its former glory as one of the most feared football clubs in the world.
From his smiling admission to being “the Normal One” during his opening press conference in October 2015 to Liverpool’s EFL Cup semi-final second-leg draw against Fulham last week, Klopp has displayed an aura of confidence coupled with a personable smile and fierce dugout demeanour in everything Liverpool has achieved. And Liverpool has achieved under Jürgen Klopp!
After winning only a single trophy in the eight years before his appointment, Liverpool under Klopp has won everything the club could, starting with the UEFA Champions League in 2018/19 and ending with the FA Community Shield in 2022.
In between, Klopp and Liverpool delivered the most sought-after prize for every Liverpool supporter, the English Premier League, after an arduous 30-year wait, the UEFA Super Cup, the EFL Cup, the FA Cup, and a first FIFA Club World Cup.
The only major trophy left for Klopp to win with The Reds is the UEFA Europa League, and only likely because the club is involved in it for the first time this season. Liverpool could remedy this before Klopp leaves, as it remains in the competition.
The list of potential managerial candidates to take over from Jürgen Klopp is long, with the best online sportsbooks in the UK, recommended by writers from this site, installing Bayer Leverkusen’s ex-Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso as an early 4/6 favourite.
Roberto De Zerbi, who has masterminded Brighton’s arrival as a perennial candidate for European qualification is the 17/2 second favourite, with Pepijn Lijnders, Liverpool’s current assistant manager, maintaining odds of 10/1 despite the news that he’s stepping down with Klopp. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is a 20/1 outsider for the role behind Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou (14/1).
Klopp’s departure will have ramifications at Anfield, no matter who takes over. Replacing a manager with similar respect levels to the legendary Bill Shankly and Kenny Dalglish will place pressure on any new figure. However, Klopp has already done all he can to lessen the burden on his replacement.
This season has seen the squad dubbed ‘Liverpool 2.0’ by the German maestro taking on and beating all-comers while showing the grit and camaraderie to get results even when not playing well. The additions of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo have shored up the Liverpool midfield, with a revitalised Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez terrorising opposing defences.
Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, and Ibrahima Konaté are all constantly improving, and with the emergence of youngsters Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah as EPL-standard performers, Liverpool doesn’t seem to have a notable weakness despite long-term injuries to some pivotal players. And we haven’t even mentioned Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Cody Gakpo, Joe Gomez or Luis Díaz!
Klopp has laid a solid foundation for his successor. The big question is whether the new manager can command similar respect from the players as the big German. If he can manage even 80% of it, he’ll inherit a squad that can continue to set the Premier League alight.
One certainty remains. Wherever Jürgen Klopp goes after leaving the Liverpool dressing room for the last time – he will never walk alone!
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