Jurgen Klopp has shocked the world of football by announcing he will stand down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season after admitting he is “running out of energy”.
The 56-year-old German, who has led the Reds to six major trophies since taking charge in October 2015, said he informed the club’s bosses of his decision to leave back in November.
Klopp admitted he expected those outside the club to “laugh about” his exit and use it as an excuse to “disturb” Liverpool, but called on everyone connected to the Reds to rally around for a glorious finale.
His departure has immediately led to speculation over who will succeed him in the Anfield hotseat.
Former Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is one of the hottest coaching properties in the world after leading Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga, is the early bookmakers’ favourite while former captain Steven Gerrard is also sure to be in contention.
“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,” Klopp told his club’s official website.
“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. I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”
His greatest achievements to date with the Reds are the Premier League title in 2020, when they became the only club other than Manchester City to secure the top-flight crown in the last five seasons, and winning the Champions League in 2019.
The Reds have also won the FA Cup, League Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup during his time in charge.
Liverpool are still in the hunt in four competitions this season and Klopp is determined the club can shut out the chatter and the sniping from outside and end his era on a high.
“We are Liverpool, we went through harder things together. And you went through harder things before me. Let’s make a strength of it. That would be really cool. Let’s squeeze everything out of this season and have another thing to smile about when we look back in the future.”
Mike Gordon, the president of the Fenway Sports Group which owns Liverpool, said the club would take a “business as usual” approach to Klopp’s exit.
Gordon said: “It goes without saying that we will be hugely saddened to lose not just a manager of such calibre, but a person and leader for whom we have enormous respect, gratitude and affection.
“In keeping with Jurgen’s expressed wishes, we will save the comprehensive tributes for a more appropriate time but, nevertheless, we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to reaffirm that his appointment remains one of the greatest blessings of our time as owners.
“The incredible achievements of the intervening years speak for themselves, so too does the joy that Jurgen and his team have brought to all of us supporters. His many accomplishments will never be taken for granted.”