In an official interview released by Liverpool FC on Friday morning, Jürgen Klopp revealed that after a lengthy spell on Merseyside, he will be stepping down from his duties at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Since his appointment as Head Coach in 2015, Klopp has overseen the club’s return to glory – delivering a plethora of trophies that most notably include the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
But what changes can fans expect to see at Anfield over the coming seasons, and are there any potential replacements already lined up to take over from the German manager?Embed from Getty Images
‘I love absolutely everything about this club,’ says Klopp
The German’s departure has rocked the football world, with the announcement coming as a surprise after spending eight-and-a-half years with the club. Speaking candidly with the club’s official media, Klopp informed supporters that he ‘will leave the club at the end of the season. I can understand that that’s a shock for a lot of people in this moment, when you hear it for the first time, but obviously I can explain it – or at least try to explain it.’
‘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. 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.’
‘After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth,’ he explained.
‘In an ideal world I wouldn’t have said anything to anybody until the end of the season, win everything and then say goodbye. That’s not possible. In the world we are living in, it’s not possible to keep things like this secret; it’s maybe a surprise that we could keep it [a secret] until now.’
‘There are so many things which are influenced by it, especially personal situations. People from my staff need to know early – and especially the club needs to know early and needs to plan. You cannot plan anything and you cannot really start. You can do a lot of stuff with knowing it but not making it public, but the decisive things, a lot of things, you cannot do.’
Schmadtke also set to depart
Klopp will not be the only German leaving Merseyside this season though, with Jörg Schmadtke also set to depart the club following the culmination of the January transfer window. Appointed as the club’s sporting director last summer, Schmadtke’s oversaw all footballing operations at the club and was tasked with both incoming and outgoing transfers.
Schmadtke’s departure means that the club now have to source both a new sporting director and a new manager, in the span of just over six months. As such, it looks likely that Klopp’s replacement will not be named until the new sporting director has begun their work – as they’re likely to have a considerable input on the hiring process.
The potential candidates
But while official confirmation is likely to be some way off, Liverpool fans have taken it upon themselves to explore and analyse potential candidates to take the Anfield hot seat ahead of the 2024/25 season.
BonusCodeBets have compiled the latest odds for Klopp’s replacement, with Xabi Alonso the clear 2/1 favourite in these early stages of the process. He’s closely trailed by Brighton’s Roberto de Zerbi at 4/1, with the Italian reportedly seen in high regard by Liverpool’s owners.Embed from Getty Images
Some more speculative potential candidates include Graham Potter, Julien Lopetegui and Thomas Frank – but it is Xabi Alonso’s exceptional work at Bayer Leverkusen that has him billed as the favourite for a sensational return to Anfield.
The Spaniard spent five seasons on Merseyside between 2004 and 2009, and quickly became a fan favourite in a talented Liverpool side. The midfielder lifted the UEFA Champions League with the club on that famous night in Istanbul, slamming home the rebound after missing his initial penalty effort to send the match to extra time.
Can Liverpool do the unthinkable?
Fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves too quickly though – there is still plenty of football to be played throughout the remainder of 2023/24, and Jürgen Klopp could quite feasibly add a number of trophies to his career tally before stepping away from Liverpool FC this summer.
The latest odds provided by BonusCodeBets suggest that Liverpool are viewed as strong candidates for silverware as the season nears its conclusion. At the time of writing, the Reds are 8/1 to lift both the Premier League and the UEFA Europa League; the Dublin final would be Klopp’s last game in charge. Optimistic fans will be thrilled to see that Klopp’s side are 20/1 to complete a domestic treble, and their chances of completing a historic quadruple come in at just 50/1.
So, is there any chance that Liverpool really could give Klopp one of the best sendoffs in footballing history by winning the quadruple? It’s certainly not as unachievable as it sounds: the Reds have already booked their place in the Carabao Cup final and sit at the helm of the Premier League table.Embed from Getty Images
The FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League could prove to be trickier though. 32 teams remain in the FA Cup, including 14 Premier League outfits. Liverpool must see off Norwich City on Sunday if they’re to progress to the Fifth Round of the competition.
The Reds are already through to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League, but await confirmation of their opponents as the playoff rounds must still be completed. It wasn’t plain sailing for Liverpool in the group stages though, as they won just four of their six matches and shipped 7 goals along the way.
There are also a number of other quality sides vying to secure Europe’s second-tier trophy, including West Ham United and Brighton. AC Milan will also have one eye on the trophy if they can make their way through the playoffs – but Liverpool could perhaps view themselves as favourites nonetheless.