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Who will replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool? Anfield boss to have no say on successor, backs FSG ownership

Jurgen Klopp insists he will not interfere in the selection process to decide his successor as Liverpool manager.

Klopp stunned the football world on Friday, January 26, when he announced he would stand down at the end of the 2023/24 season, concluding eight and a half glorious years on Merseyside.

Speculation is already rife over who might replace the 56-year-old in the Anfield hot seat, with former Liverpool midfielder and current Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso ranked among the front runners.

Succession planning after a tenure such as Klopp’s is seldom simple, with David Moyes struggling under the weight of being Alex Ferguson’s “chosen one” at Manchester United in 2013/14 to name one example.

However, Klopp believes that the collective strength of a Liverpool organisation that has been built around him stands the club in good stead and means his opinion will not and should not be sought.

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“In this world, in football especially, we have a few faces most of the time,” he said. “[Other people] who do an incredible job you don’t see as often. That’s how you live this kind of business.

“It looks like that I do all the work. I don’t. I can’t and I don’t. It means that all of what we built over the past eight and half years is an incredibly strong structure behind the scenes. Everything goes in the right direction. That’s one of the reasons why I can leave.

“My idea was always to put everything in place to help with everything that this club [needs to] get stronger and stronger and stronger. We did that, not perfect but as good as we could.

“So many people work here and with only one idea: to find a perfect solution for Liverpool FC. I’m pretty sure that will happen. The last thing they need is advice from the old man walking out and telling them, ‘by the way, make sure…’. I will definitely not do that.

“Like you know, on most things I have an opinion and on most of the things I still didn’t say anything. So I have no problem with that. I wish for this future, just this club the very, very, very best and now I’m going to try to help them achieve the best possible season.”

He added: “There is a wonderful future ahead. That’s all I want. And I will not be the passenger disturbing that process.”

Klopp talking about keeping his counsel on certain matters might be taken by some as a swipe at Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group.

Former Reds defender Jose Enrique told Sky Sports News that he suspected a rift with the ownership was behind Klopp’s decision, but the former Borussia Dortmund boss launched a staunch defence of his employers.

“I saw only this morning, surprisingly when it came out, Jose Enrique — who I like a lot and obviously has a big Liverpool heart — he said that, whatever I say, it’s about FSG. I can tell you, Jose, it’s not,” Klopp said.

“It’s nothing to do with it. This time I had, it would be so easy in this job to blame the owners and say we would have won more trophies if FSG would have spent more. Was I always happy with each second what we did exactly? No. But it was absolutely fine.

“This club is so different now because we built two stands, which will last forever. If there is not an earthquake, they will stay there. The stadium is wonderful. We built this training ground where you are. Wonderful. This will stay for the next 40 or 50 years. Everything is set. We did what we did properly.

“That we didn’t win [the 2018/19 Premier League] with 97 points or we didn’t win the Champions League final had nothing to do with one player who was not in or if we’d spent on another one. I understand 100 per cent that as a fan, fine. As a professional, you cannot be like that. You just can’t.

“If you blame anybody for not winning the Champions League three times more often, it’s me. It’s my job to make that happen, to work with the team we had. And not winning the league with 97 or [in 2021/22] 94 points, it’s me. Not anybody else. Because everybody brought us to that point. Having a team that can gain 97 points and qualify for the Champions League [final] is exceptional.”

MORE: Why is Jurgen Klopp leaving Liverpool? Reasons for exit, last game for Reds

Liverpool chief executive officer Billy Hogan flanked Klopp at his Friday news conference and refused to put a timeframe on how long it would take to secure his successor.

“From our perspective, I wouldn’t want to set an expectation,” he said. “This is a process we need to go through. It’s a process we’ve gone through in the past. The way we operate as a football club is to ensure that we’ve looked at all the information, all the data, done our proper due diligence, and then we’ll make a decision and make our announcement at that time.

“I understand the question but I can’t commit to a timeline on it. It will go on in the background and you can be sure that we’ll be doing everything that we possibly can, as Jurgen said, to make the right decision for the future of this football club. That’s the way we’ve always operated and that’s the way we’ll operate through this process.

“At the same time, it’s not to be a distraction. This is about making sure this campaign continues and that the team continue to perform. When we have something to say, we’ll have something to say at that point.”

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