Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool farewell: City, owners, speaking to Slot and his future

Jurgen Klopp couldn’t hold back the tears.

After a montage of the highlights of his Liverpool reign was played on the big screen inside the city’s M&S Bank Arena, he was serenaded for nearly two minutes by a sell-out crowd of 10,000 singing, “I’m so glad that Jurgen is a Red.” Puffing out his cheeks and wiping his eyes, he got to his feet before delivering his customary fist pumps one last time.

This was the final date in Klopp’s goodbye tour and his adoring public lapped it up.

It started with a video message from James Bond actor Daniel Craig: “In the few precious moments I spent with you, I said, hand on heart, I would follow that man anywhere. Thank you for what you’ve achieved at Liverpool Football Club. It’s been quite a ride. Your ability to cut through the bull**** and get to the heart of what really matters has inspired me and millions of people around the world. Wherever you go and whatever you do, I wish you and your family only joy.”

There was music from singer Alfie Boe and Liverpool bands the Lightning Seeds and the Zutons, but the main event was a Q&A with Klopp hosted by comedian John Bishop and LFCTV presenter Peter McDowall.

Looking tanned after a week in Majorca following his Anfield send-off, Klopp didn’t hold back after being asked about Manchester City’s 115 Premier League charges for breaching financial rules and whether he felt he had been backed sufficiently by Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group. There was a dig at Chelsea’s owners following their decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino, and he also revealed that he had held “good talks” with his successor Arne Slot. Here’s the best of it.

On Manchester City….

Klopp: “I got told what we are not talking about, it was on the list! TNT (Sports), no 12:30pm kick-offs discussion, we don’t talk about referees. We don’t talk about Man City or financial things, I don’t know why? VAR, we don’t talk about that.”

It was Bishop who raised the subject of Manchester City and the charges they are facing, referring to the fact that Pep Guardiola’s side beat Klopp’s Liverpool to the title by a solitary point in the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons. The comedian had asked fans on Instagram what they wanted him to ask the outgoing manager.

“It came up time and time again,” Bishop said. “You leave this club having won the Premier League once. There could be a court decision that means you’ve won the Premier League three times…”

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Klopp speaking during the event (John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Klopp: “If you organise a bus parade, I am in! How long it takes I don’t care!

“You might remember the game we played against Man City where the ball was pretty much in before John Stones cleared it (off the line in a 2-1 defeat at the Etihad in January 2019). Then City won at Burnley with the ball over the line by the same distance. Can you be more unlucky? It’s just a fact. It’s not that I wake up in the night and think, ‘Oh my god, 11 inches!’. Sorry! The handball of Rodri against Everton (when a penalty wasn’t awarded in February 2022), come on! But I’m still a happy man. If I came in here tonight and said goodbye would you be in a different mood if you won the league three times? The relationships we created are independent of trophies. It’s based on trust, togetherness, and the things we went through together.”

On FSG and whether he felt the owner had backed him sufficiently financially…..

Klopp: “I don’t understand it. It’s just the world we are living in. Can anyone imagine Liverpool as the club with endless money? Kylian Mbappe comes here. Jude Bellingham comes here. Erling Haaland comes here. It is not us. People can judge me for the finals I lost, no problem. I couldn’t care less. We won what we won and we did it the Liverpool way. That’s how I see it. The owners are good people. We had hard conversations and other clubs didn’t do what we did in the same time. We built two new stands and a new state-of-the-art training ground. We bought Melwood back (for the women’s team) — the dumbest idea I ever heard was that we sold it in the first place.


“The owners do what owners do. Surprise! Owners want to earn money. Sorry to tell you that. It’s not like they earn money on a daily basis: they invest in something and that’s how the whole world goes. We should be really happy that we have these owners and not guys who bought London clubs. Imagine that! I wouldn’t have survived a year at Liverpool (with them). Sack him, a year later sack him. Finally, they (Chelsea) play football and everyone thinks, ‘Oh, they might be back’ — and then they sack the manager anyway.

“Somewhere else the grass is always greener. We have owners who feel responsible for the club. Are they the best in the world? I can’t say, I don’t know the others — but they worked really hard as well to ensure we were successful. I felt supported. If others make of it that if I’d been supported more we would have won more, I have no clue. We did it as well as we could and I’m fine with it.

“Much more often than not we picked the right transfers. I can’t remember a player where I thought, ‘Wow, if I’d known that I wouldn’t have signed him’. They are young and under pressure. Sometimes they cost a lot of money. If the whole world loses trust and faith in a player the manager has to be the one who is still behind the player because I cannot just buy into ‘he’s useless’ like other clubs did, by the way. Buying a player for £80million and then sending him out on loan! You have to be much more consistent in your thoughts than the rest of the world.”

On the contact he’s had with Arne Slot…

Klopp: “I’ve spoken to him.”

Bishop: “How did it go?”

Klopp: “S***! No, he’s a good guy and it was a really good talk. I spoke to pretty much everybody of the new leadership team. He’s a really good manager.

“Arne or whoever, has my number and can always call me, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

“Now there will be changes. Different people responsible for different things is probably the right way. It’s not that I wanted to do it like that (have so much responsibility). It just developed in that direction with lots ending up on my desk.

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Klopp said he had spoken to Arne Slot (Maurice Van Steen/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

“We created a real good basis for the next manager so the club can go from there. It’s really important what you leave behind. The team is good. There will be a few changes and youth is coming up so nobody has to worry about the club. I want to look at Liverpool and think, ‘Wow, they won again, fantastic’.”

On his decision to stand down…..

Klopp: “A lot of people don’t believe me when I say I’m running out of energy. It’s not that I can’t get up in the morning. Being manager of Liverpool, you can’t do it at 90 per cent. You have to be on top of your game and I’m not anymore. I cannot be here as a passenger.

“Announcing it early (in January) was important. Imagine we played against Wolves (on the final day), the families were walking around and then I said, ‘By the way, I f*** off’. That doesn’t work. The club would have problems. When you are responsible for a club like this you have to make sensible decisions and that’s what I did. Was it right? Absolutely and the timing we couldn’t change. It was a good season, not a perfect season. It’s a basis. We helped the new manager already by not winning everything so he can improve things.”

On his bond with Liverpool…..

Klopp: “Usually a manager gets sacked at the end of his time, but if a manager leaves like I did then it’s different. What you did here tonight no other club in the world would have done. If another club had done this nine days after the last fella had left then it would have been empty. I heard I’m the third ‘Scouser’ to sell this place out. Paul McCartney, Jamie Webster and now me.

“I don’t think the human race is made for getting as much attention as I’ve had over the past few weeks. I wasn’t ready to receive this much love. It’s really difficult. I’ve known myself the longest, nearly 57 years, how can you imagine that something like this would happen? If my best friend was in the same situation I’d sit up there and think, ‘He’s probably a decent fella’. But unfortunately, you’re talking about me and I can’t get my head around that. It was nice but tricky. I got through it somehow.

“The decision to come to Liverpool, besides marrying Ulla, was the best decision of my life. It was unbelievable. I came here when I was nearly 50. I had enough friends, but I made friends for life. If it was easy to leave then what would that say about the time we had together? It’s really difficult to leave and that’s how it should be. Let’s not be sad that’s it ending, be happy that it happened.”

Biggest regret?

Klopp: “Becoming Premier League champion and not having that a parade (due to the pandemic). Ridiculous. It somehow fits Liverpool a bit going through the s***.”

On the future…..

Klopp: “At the moment I’d say I won’t manage again but what do I know? I had a four-month break once and then the beautiful girl of Liverpool FC came along. I’m only 57 soon and I don’t just want to sit around and try to learn golf. I will be back here to watch games, no doubt about that.

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Klopp said he would be back at Liverpool to watch games (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“I heard that Pep Guardiola might step down next year. Carlo Ancelotti won’t be doing it for the next 10 years. The next world-class managers are already out there so give them a chance.”

All proceeds from the event went to the Liverpool Foundation, the club’s charity. Klopp is going to continue as an ambassador. The night ended with his friend Campino, the lead singer of German rock band Die Toten Hosen, leading a final rendition of Klopp’s song on stage.

“Music, football and life. Thank you very much. I’ve got nothing else to say. If you want to sing a song just go for it,” he added.

(Top photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

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