Klopp’s Departure and the Dawn of a New Era at Liverpool

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The Ideal Scenario for LFC’s New Manager, Courtesy of Klopp’s Departure

After the largely disastrous campaign of 2022/23, not one single Liverpool supporter would have been surprised to have seen Jurgen Klopp walk away in the summer thereafter. Despite a flurry of good performances towards the close of that football year, it would not be a mistake to assume that the opportunistic hybrid endeavour was the confusing initiative with which opposition teams failed to counter. Ultimately, everyone related to the historic football club could see that drastic improvement was required as well as some solid turnover in the playing squad. After such an illustrious eight-year reign at the Anfield helm, neither the fanbase nor the squad could have begrudged a decision (by Klopp) to step down, especially given the exhaustive drain caused by such a high-profile position.

The more curious question is of course why wait when he could have walked away in the summer…?

Why Did Jürgen Klopp Wait Until November to Confirm his Departure to FSG?

It has been confirmed by the man himself that the Liverpool owners, FSG, were informed of his resignation in November of last year. That huge decision had been made despite signing a new contract extension in 2022, one which would have taken him up until the 30th of June 2026. That very deal would have allowed two more seasons after this one, thereby almost certainly ensuring the regeneration was complete. Despite that existing contract, I am now convinced that the German had already decided that this would be his last campaign as the Reds manager in the summer, after the difficulties of last season. The delay in resigning his post (to his employers and later the support) was surely given that the former Borussia Dortmund manager was determined to steady his regressing empire, which would entail overseeing the initial stages of the much-needed regeneration. Regardless of a clear need to step away from such a demanding post, his loyalty and love for Liverpool FC would have been what drove his want to realign that which was faltering, before handing over the reins to a younger successor. That selfless act is something that is a testament to the man that we all know him to be, which shows an integrity that is not often found in modern football, or indeed any level of sport.

The New Direction Under Klopp and FSG’s Actions

Talks of a new Sporting Director began to cease around about the time that FSG were supposedly informed of his resignation. Mike Gordan and co were looking to appoint a new long-term director of football for an outgoing first-team coach, which meant that the search was halted until a plan was formed.

Once the first few months of the season were underway, there was clarity that the new signings and sale (or release) of tired assets, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Naby Keïta, and Roberto Firmino, had injected new purpose into the side. The leadership table had been drastically altered to elevate both Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander Arnold into the captain and vice-captain roles, something that added a new and different dynamic to the club. The new dawn was bright and exciting, which prompted the manager to make his choice.

Despite some mild hopes of a successful campaign (at the season’s outset), Liverpool v2.0 has progressively grown through positivity and hard work, which would have delighted the 56-year-old manager. This encouraging development would have then prompted the former Mainz manager to inform his employers of a desire to step down, thereby allowing the likes of Mike Gordon and Billy Hogan to start the search for his eventual replacement. That unexpected bombshell would have been carried out in the knowledge that the fruits of his regeneration labour may well be enjoyed by another, however, what we have seen since is a continual rise in player and team performance, which has enabled the Reds to be in the mix for four trophies this year.

That is something which leads to the why now predicament.

The Significance of Klopp’s Announcement Timing and Team Morale

After confirming Liverpool’s place in the EFL Cup final in late February, Jurgen Klopp chose to make his statement to both supporters and the footballing world. This moment coincided with seeing some tired legs emerge from the 2-3 aggregate win against Fulham, as the tally of absentees grew through the Christmas period. The playing staff had been informed just days before that win, perhaps to give more motivation in their efforts for such a critical encounter. The initial shock would have soon been replaced by a burning desire to achieve everything possible for their celebrated head coach, to whom many owe their elite-level careers. I sense that each game will now become a furnace of noise and song, dedicated to the outgoing Liverpool boss. The entire squad will fight and draw strength from a need to give their esteemed leader what he deserves most, which is a triumphant end-of-season parade, surrounded by Silverware.

Setting the Stage for Liverpool’s Next Manager

Unlike when so many world-class managers have left their respective posts, this particular departure is being undertaken with a substantial period to prepare the squad for its next head coach. I am confident that the man has already been chosen, yet the ability to announce the appointment whilst said person is still employed is somewhat taboo. I wrote just after the amazing announcement on Friday, that I saw only three names that would be considered for the Anfield hotseat, which remains my opinion. Xabi Alonso, Rúben Amorim, and Roberto De Zerbi are the most talented young coaches in world football and all would have been considered for the Liverpool job. What one of those three will be receiving, is a squad that may have just won a plethora of silverware, whilst sat in the second year of their regeneration, amongst a group full of talent and desire. The Liverpool job may just be the most tantalizing opportunity for any football manager in world football, which is all down to the loyal efforts and character of one man, the wonderful Jürgen Klopp.

You’ll never walk alone.

Steven Smith

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