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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Dazzle done, solitude beckons: Juergen Klopp seeks private life after Liverpool exit

Klopp, who famously introduced himself as 'the normal one' in his first Liverpool press conference, was glad he is leaving the club in a good position after enjoying a trophy-laden career

Reuters London Published 21.05.24, 11:25 AM
Juergen Klopp

Juergen Klopp File image

Former Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he plans to retreat into a private life following his departure from the Premier League club and has no immediate plans to return to management.

Klopp bade farewell to the Anfield faithful in a long address after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and led the crowd in a song for incoming manager Arne Slot, who has enormous shoes to fill.

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Klopp, who famously introduced himself as “the normal one” in his first Liverpool press conference, was glad he is leaving the club in a good position after enjoying a trophy-laden career.

“But look, it’s not burning behind me and that gives me a good feeling,” Klopp told reporters on Sunday in his last post-match press conference, adding that he will return to Anfield some day as a spectator.

The German will be packing his bags after a few emotional weeks in the city. In January, the 56-year-old announced he will leave at the end of the season after nine years at the helm due to draining energy levels.

“A private life must be planned and I didn’t plan anything yet because I was here,” Klopp said. “Probably Ulla (Sandrock, his wife) will update me where we go but I follow happily.”

“I don’t know exactly why nobody believes I probably will not be a manager again but I understand because obviously it seems to be a drug, because everybody comes back and everyone works until they are 70-something.

“Other people can do it in different ways, I have to be all-in, I have to be the spark, I have to be the energy, I have to be all these kind of things and I’m empty.

“You only have to look outside which clubs are obviously available. There will be opportunities, but I don’t sit here and think, ‘Maybe in a year’s time I take that.’”

“Change is good,” the 56-year-old Klopp told the crowd after the match. “And you never know exactly what to expect, but if you go with the right attitude into that, then everything will be fine.

“What I want you to sing, I have an idea,” he added, then launched loudly into: “Arne Slot! Na, na, na, na, na!” The crowd sang along.

The manager sounded genuinely happy rather than heartbroken.

“It doesn’t feel like an end. It just feels like the start, because I saw today a football team playing full of talent, youth, creativity, desire, greed,” he said.

“In these few weeks where I have had too much attention, I realised a lot of things. People say I turned them from doubters into believers. That’s not true.

“I just said we have to. You did it. Nobody tells you to stop believing. This club is in a better moment than a long time. We have this wonderful stadium, training centre and you — the superpower of world football. Wow.”

Slot new manager

Liverpool have appointed Feyenoord’s Slot as the manager to replace Klopp next season, the Premier League club said on Monday.

“Liverpool Football Club can announce Arne Slot has agreed a deal to become the club’s new head coach, formally taking up the position on June 1, 2024, subject to a work permit,” the Anfield club said in a statement.

Slot was linked with the Tottenham Hotspur job at the end of last season before signing a contract extension at Feyenoord, and his aggressive, attacking style attracted Liverpool to entice the Dutchman to the Premier League.

Slot was given a rousing send-off by the Feyenoord fans after their final league game of the season on Sunday, a 4-0 home win over Excelsior, as the 45-year-old’s three-year spell at the club came to an end.

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