Jurgen Klopp has promised Liverpool fans he will never manage another English club after he leaves Anfield in the summer “even if he has nothing to eat”.
The 56-year-old German has shocked the football world by announcing he will stand down as Reds boss after nearly nine years in charge at the end of the season, having steered the club to six major trophies including the Premier League title in 2020 and the Champions League in 2019.
At a press conference on Friday he also:
:: Said he would play no part in choosing his successor.
:: Insisted he would not make a U-turn on his decision to quit as Sir Alex Ferguson once did at Manchester United.
:: Talked about how he could not sustain the energy levels needed for top-level management beyond this season, insisting “you have to be the best version of yourself”.
“Whatever will happen in the future I don’t know now, but no club, no country, for the next year, and no other English club ever,” he said at a press conference on Friday afternoon.
“I can promise that, even if I have nothing to eat that will not happen.”
Speculation has already turned to who could succeed Klopp at Anfield, with Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso – a former Reds midfielder – installed as the early bookmakers’ favourite.
Alonso insisted on Friday his focus was solely on his current role and that he was in “the right place”. Former Reds captain Steven Gerrard, currently with Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq, has also been linked.
Klopp insists he will have no input whatsoever to Liverpool’s recruitment process to find his successor.
“The last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out, telling them ‘make sure you bring him in’ or whatever – I will definitely not do that,” Klopp said.
“I wish this club the very, very, very best.”
Klopp was asked whether there was anything that might change his mind and encourage him to stay, in the way former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson went back on his decision to retire at the end of the 2001-02 season.
“No, nothing,” he insisted.
“I respect Sir Alex a lot, I don’t know what drove him that time. I want to win everything this season, but 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.”
“You have to be the best version of yourself, especially for a club like Liverpool,” he said.
“I cannot do it on three wheels, it’s just not allowed. I never wanted to be a passenger in all that.”