Jurgen Klopp’s Departure: A Shock to the System
The Unforeseen Exit
Jurgen Klopp is leaving. Just repeating those words reinforces the shock. It’s never a good point to lose an iconic manager but this is the worst possible time.
The team are top of the league and in a cup final. The squad oozes with youth, talent and ambition. It seemed that the manager was bedding himself in for another period of glory. And now this.
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Rumblings of Change
Who saw this coming? Last summer, with the midfield in a state of flux, there were whispers – well, more articulated worries than whispers – that if the new season unfolded as badly as the previousone, then Jurgen might walk. But things have turned out better than anyone expected. Chatter had already begun suggesting that there might be a possibility of Klopp extending his contract.
Talking of contracts, what will Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mo Salah be thinking? Earlier this week, there was no sense of concern about the trio extending their deals. How will Klopp’s departure affect their thought processes? Today’s news throws up plenty of questions.
Lots of people are asking about what’s next for the manager. Frankly, I don’t care. The more immediate worries are what this will do to the team. Hopefully, it will galvanise the push for the title and propel the side forward on four fronts. It could have the opposite effect, though. That’s what makes the timing of the announcement so strange.
Search for Successor
Looking further ahead, there are no obvious replacements. Yes, Xabi Alonso comes to mind but it may be too early in his career for a role like Liverpool. Roberto De Zerbi and Thomas Tuchel are already being mentioned but that all seems a bit Chelsea. FSG should have a shortlist – any sensible club does, no matter how content they are with their present manager. Whoever takes over will find a huge void at the heart of the club.
So much of the power at Anfield has been centered on Klopp, especially after Michael Edwards walked away. The club went from having a collegiate dynamic, with Klopp, Edwards and FSG’s Mike Gordon balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, to a regime that has more similarities with those of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. We saw what happened to Manchester United and Arsenal when those giants of the game departed.
FSG have a hell of a job on their hands. Not only do they have to find the right replacement, theyneed to build an infrastructure that will endure in the event of a manager’s surprise exit. This was originally one of their priorities. They let it slip for Klopp. You can see why they would but it will make rebuilding much more difficult.
The Klopp adventure has been one of the best periods in the club’s history. It has been uplifting, joyous and the manager’s personality was perfect for the city and the moment. I don’t want him to leave.
On the other hand, part of me is resentful about this announcement. There’s too much unfinished business. That his staff are going, too, makes you suspicious. It would be very surprising if there was a smooth transition to a new regime.