Klopp: Next season could have been tricky had I not left Liverpool

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Klopp: Next season could have been tricky had I not left Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp is certain he has made the right call to end his nine-year spell at Liverpool before succumbing to fatigue, believing the club would have suffered next season.

The 56-year-old heads into his penultimate game at Anfield as Liverpool manager when Tottenham are the visitors on Super Sunday.

There are just three more games remaining in his reign, and yet that reality doesn’t seem to have bitten him yet.

“I didn’t really think about it,” Klopp exclusively tells Sky Sports. “I’ve never really seen it as a goodbye as I cannot think every day about my own situation.

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“We’ve had a day this week when our foundation was at the training ground and there were families and kids which are moments I’ve always liked.

“I met a boy who I first saw five years ago when he had cancer and now he’s there with his head full of red curls. It’s wonderful to see. It was a moment when I realised [leaving] will be tough.”

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Klopp has understood what it means to be manager of Liverpool Football Club, and to be a manager in Liverpool.

The German understands Liverpool implicitly, and in his exit announcement talked about how much receiving the freedom of the city meant to him.

When he departs later this month, he will feel satisfied with the foundations he has put in place, constructing a second great Liverpool side.

While there has not been the fairy-tale ending of a second Premier League title – or further European glory – his legacy is already assured.

The grind of those fixture commitments, the incessant demand to carry the weight of all those hopes and dreams, meant he left out of necessity.

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When asked if his decision to leave was made alongside his wife Ulla Sandrock, Klopp said: “The initial decision was not a joint decision. It was my decision in this specific case.

“There’s only one person who can make that call and it was me. I had to explain it to her that for me it is about being in the best possible shape until I finish.

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“The football hasn’t been great the last few weeks, and as a result you start hearing people say that I look really tired. I’m just old! But I’m about being in it 100 per cent until the last day. That was always the plan.

“I was sure that if I didn’t make that decision now, next year it could have been tricky. The thought of picking yourself up for another pre-season, make big decisions.

“For that, you really need to be full of energy. 80 per cent is not enough. That’s the truth. It’s too much. It’s a 24/7 job. Yes, there are more important things in life, but if you really care then it’s 24/7.

“I did it for a pretty long time and I knew I couldn’t continue to do it at the standard necessary for a club like Liverpool.”

Klopp points out that in most cases, the departure of a manager comes during a period of decline but his successor will walk into a well-run club with a clear recruitment structure and philosophy in place.

“Of course, it’s not perfect as if it was we’d have five or six points more and would still be fighting for the league,” he said. “But if you rewind to the start of the season, I called it Liverpool 2.0… Liverpool 2.0 doesn’t stop after I leave.

“It’s just the start of another project with a really good squad.”

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Whether Mohamed Salah is part of that squad remains unclear. In his press conference after the 2-2 draw against West Ham last weekend, the Reds boss said everything had been sorted out, only for Salah to walk through the mixed zone saying: “There’s going to be fire if I speak.”

But almost a week on from that episode, Klopp said it was nothing particularly out of the ordinary. Salah is one of a handful of players who will be out of contract in the summer of 2025.

So has the Egyptian discussed what his future looks like without the current manager?

“No, and nor should they,” Klopp reflected on behalf of his squad as a whole. “Nobody has spoken to me about it. We didn’t leave school when our favourite teacher retired. I didn’t have the same teachers my entire life.

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“I had different influences from different people and you take all you can get from the different people you meet during your journey. We really love each other and have a good relationship with little bumps here and there which is completely normal.

“It’s good for the players now not to know what to expect. It’s good that they have to prove themselves again with new influences. It’s always good in life.

“We always go for security, the same holiday, the same hotel and the same spot on the beach. But actually, it makes sense to go to another beach as well.”

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