Following the breaking news that Jürgen Klopp will leave his job as manager of Liverpool at the end of this season, we bring you the key stats and facts from his time at the club in our rolling news blog.
This would’ve been the first question swirling around many people’s heads, but considering Klopp is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League at the moment, it feels bizarre to be thinking about someone else in charge of Liverpool.
Klopp has become synonymous with the Reds, but filling his shoes is now the task in front of the Liverpool hierarchy, and already there’s an early favourite.
Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso reportedly has a get-out clause in his Bayer Leverkusen contract that would allow him to depart for a small number of specific clubs, one of which is the Reds.
Of course, it’s not just that apparent availability that’ll make him an attractive prospect; he is, after all, doing a sterling job in the Bundesliga with Leverkusen. After taking over from Gerardo Seoane in October 2022 with the team second-bottom after eight matches, Alonso oversaw a huge turnaround in their fortunes.
They went on to finish sixth, with Leverkusen’s 45 points won after Alonso’s arrival bettered only by Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund (both 56) and RB Leipzig (55). And despite losing Moussa Diaby to Aston Villa in the summer, they bolstered the squad well with the shrewd acquisitions of Alex Grimaldo, Granit Xhaka and Victor Boniface, among others.
Eighteen games into the 2023-24 season and Leverkusen are four points clear of Bayern and rated as the favourites to lift the title, according to the Opta supercomputer.
Leverkusen were fairly pragmatic last season on the whole, but this term their style has changed quite dramatically. Alonso has turned them into an attack-minded and possession-dominant side that presses high. In 2023-24, they’ve recorded more high turnovers (191) and open-play sequences of at least 10 passes (405) than any other Bundesliga side, becoming a team that takes the game to the opposition.
Not only are Leverkusen’s improved fortunes in the table a good summary of Alonso’s job, but the changes he’s overseen in terms playing style highlight his qualities as a coach.
Steven Gerrard is another obvious name that is being bandied around, but compared to his former midfield partner, his coaching credentials probably aren’t up to scratch.
A Quadruple That Never Was and Liverpool’s Great Rebuild
The 2021-22 season saw Klopp bring yet more silverware to Liverpool’s now rapidly-filling trophy cabinet. His side secured a domestic cup double, beating Chelsea on penalties in both the FA Cup and League Cup.
But the true legacy of that season will always be just how close Klopp and Liverpool came to achieving an unprecedented quadruple. Once again, they pushed Manchester City to the final day of the season and came within 15 minutes of winning the title, only for City to score three goals in the dying embers of their home match against Aston Villa to snatch the title back.
That was followed by a 1-0 Champions League final defeat six days later to Real Madrid, in which Liverpool were by far the better team. Madrid had just three shots to Liverpool’s 23, as Thibaut Courtois won the Man of the Match award.
The hangover of narrowly missing out on the quadruple seemed to impact Liverpool in the following season, which saw them come crashing down to earth. The Community Shield was the only silverware they came away with and it was an inconsistent campaign, peppered with seemingly random results including a 9-0 thrashing of Bournemouth and 7-0 hammering of Manchester United, but with chaotic away defeats littered throughout.
The end result was a fifth-place finish, Liverpool’s lowest league finish since Klopp’s first season in charge (8th in 2015-16).
It was also a season that saw Sadio Mané – after 196 appearances and 90 league goals – depart for Bayern Munich. Replacement forwards Darwin Nuñez and Cody Gakpo arrived, but with a tired and aging squad, those moves were a precursor for the huge turnover that came in the summer of 2023.
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, Liverpool’s rebuild went into overdrive. Out went Roberto Firmino (256 league appearances for the club), Jordan Henderson (360), James Milner (230), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (103), Fabinho (151) and Naby Keïta (84). These had been huge players for the club, present for the successes of recent years, winning the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, League Cup and FA Cup.
Five of those players were midfielders and it was clearly an area that needed extensive work. Many laid the blame for Liverpool’s poor 2022-23 campaign at the feet of the midfield cohort, who so often looked to be outrun and outfought.
To replace them, in came Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig, Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton, Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich and Wataru Endo from Stuttgart.
But despite so many new faces, Liverpool’s midfield has fired pretty much from the off, while their existing senior players, like Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, have all been excellent.
Time will tell whether Klopp can enjoy a swansong. The Reds are top of the Premier League, through to the final of the League Cup and into the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League. More trophies could be coming their way before love affair comes to an end.
Ending 30 Years of Hurt
Champions League glory in 2019 more than made up for the gutting nature of their runners-up placing in the Premier League, though there was undoubtedly a huge appetite for Liverpool to finally end their barren run in the English top flight.
Accumulating a whopping 97 points in 2018-19 proved they were good enough and they managed to keep the bulk of the squad together. At the very least they looked primed for another challenge in 2019-20.
You could argue they were actually the only challengers for much of the season.
Liverpool were head and shoulders above the rest, eventually earning 99 points, 18 more than any other team. They were so dominant that at one stage they were 25 points clear, the biggest gap from first to second in Premier League history, and went on to equal the records for the most wins (32), home wins (18) and consecutive wins (18).
The one downer to their success, a first Premier League title, was the lack of fans. With the coronavirus pandemic striking in early 2020, Liverpool lifted the trophy in an empty Anfield as the final months of the season had to be played behind closed doors.
Nevertheless, their success ended 30 years of top-flight failure and provided Klopp with the trophy his impact and management deserved.
The Early Years – ‘Normal One’ Arrives
When Jürgen Klopp was appointed as Brendan Rodgers’ successor, Liverpool had long been considered huge underachievers in the Premier League. They’d finished higher than third just three times and not won the league title at all since the old Division One days (1990).
He took over in October 2015 with Liverpool 10th in the Premier League. His own target was to get them winning trophies again within four years, and to be fair to him, the club’s transformation was pretty swift.
Not immediate, though. Liverpool finished eighth in the Premier League in Klopp’s first season at the helm, highlighting how much work needed to be done. Nevertheless, reaching the finals of the League Cup and UEFA Europa League in 2016 – losing out to Manchester City and Sevilla, respectively – were hints of the positivity to come.
Successive fourth-place finished followed in the Premier League, and in 2018 they reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. While that made it three final defeats for Klopp at Liverpool, demonstrable progress was being made, with the manager and his recruitment team building a fine team.
That European run seemed to change everything, like it convinced them they were on the right path. In 2018-19, Liverpool went one better as they defeated Tottenham in the Champions League final, and had it not been for arguably the best team in Premier League history, Liverpool would’ve won the league title as well.
As it happened, they finished second to Manchester City despite their 97 points being the third-highest total in the competition’s history and the most ever recorded by a team who didn’t win the title.
Either way, Klopp succeeded in his plan to bring glory back to Anfield within four years. Liverpool were back.
A Liverpool Great
Should he keep up the good form in his remaining months in charge of the club, there’s no doubt that Jürgen Klopp will leave as the most successful Liverpool manager of all time in terms of win ratio.
His current win rate stands at 60.7%, above that of Kenny Dalglish (58.3%) and Bob Paisley (57.4%), although he’s won considerably less league titles at the club (one) than both Dalglish (three) and Paisley (six).
Klopp is the only Liverpool manager to win each of the top-flight, European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup with the club, however.
Going Out on a High?
Liverpool fans will take some consoling at the moment; finding the words to paint a positive picture is a difficult task considering what Klopp has achieved at the club, but his comments about leaving the team in a good place certainly ring true.
After all, his announcement came with Liverpool five points clear at the top of the Premier League. Sure, second-placed Manchester City also have a game in hand, but to this point, the Reds have been the most consistent team in the top flight in 2023-24.
With just one defeat – at Tottenham in September – and having already taken points from trips to Manchester City and Arsenal, Liverpool find themselves in an enviable position, and this is testament to not only Klopp’s management, but his squad planning.
As Klopp alluded to in his interview, the Reds found themselves falling behind the rest last season. They finished the 2022-23 campaign fifth in the Premier League, with the squad requiring plenty of rejuvenation.
He led that with the acquisitions of Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo, and for the most part, their collective impact has been considerable, helping transform Liverpool back into one of the Premier League’s best, if not the best.
There’s still work to be done, but the Opta supercomputer rates Liverpool’s title chances at 37.3%; while that may not sound so impressive for a team five points clear, City had for so long been utterly dominant in our model’s season projections. Now, the Reds are worthy challengers.
Of course, the significance of Klopp going out with another Premier League success shouldn’t be glossed over; it would once again take Liverpool level with Manchester United (20) for the most top-flight titles in English football history.
It would be a fitting narrative when you consider what Klopp has meant to Liverpool, with his arrival undoubtedly key in establishing the Reds among the absolute elite once again.
5 – The five longest winning runs by managers in Premier League history:— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 26, 2024
18 – Jürgen Klopp (Oct 2019-Feb 2020)
18 – Pep Guardiola (Aug-Dec 2017)
17 – Jürgen Klopp (Mar-Oct 2019)
15 – Pep Guardiola (Feb-Aug 2019)
15 – Pep Guardiola (Dec 2020-Mar 2021)
Klopp Among the Premier League’s Greatest
Liverpool still have 17 Premier League games remaining this season, meaning that Jürgen Klopp will end his spell at the club on 334 league matches.
In his 317 so far, he’s averaged an exceptional 2.12 points per game, which is below only Pep Guardiola (2.34) and Sir Alex Ferguson (2.16) of those to have taken charge of at least 50 games in the competition.
Liverpool’s next win in the Premier League will be Klopp’s 200th in the competition, meaning he’d become just the seventh boss to reach the landmark after Ferguson (528), Arsène Wenger (476), David Moyes (265), Harry Redknapp (236), José Mourinho (217) and Guardiola (210). Only three of those (Ferguson at Man Utd, Wenger at Arsenal and Guardiola at Man City) have won 200 Premier League games at a single club, however.
Those 199 Premier League wins are the second most by a club since Klopp’s first league game in charge of the Reds on 17 October 2015 versus Tottenham, with only Manchester City winning more points (716) and games (223) in that timeframe.
Jürgen Klopp‘s Liverpool Record
Klopp still has at least four months to go in his tenure at Liverpool, with the club still in with a chance of sealing a domestic treble plus the UEFA Europa League title. He took his side to the EFL Cup final in midweek following a victory over Fulham, and will face Chelsea at Wembley next month.
He will, however, fall short of reaching 500 games in charge of the club – something that only Bob Paisley, Tom Watson and Bill Shankly have done.
Jürgen Klopp Announces That He Will Leave Liverpool
10.36am GMT will be remembered by Liverpool fans for a long time. It was at this time that Jürgen Klopp sensationally announced he was to leave his job as Liverpool manager at the end of the 2023-24 season.
The news was broken on all social media channels by Liverpool FC themselves:
A message to Liverpool supporters from Jürgen Klopp. pic.twitter.com/l7rtmxgOzt— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 26, 2024
The 56-year-old has been in charge at Anfield since October 2015 and enjoyed considerable success with the club, but he suggested the draining nature of the job is taking its toll.
Liverpool confirmed Klopp’s decision in a post on social media before publishing a short interview in which the German outlined his reasons for stepping aside.
He told the club’s official media channels: “I will leave the club at the end of the season. I can understand that that’s a shock for a lot of people in this moment, when you hear it for the first time, but obviously I can explain it – or at least try to explain it.
“I love absolutely everything about this club, I love everything about the city, I love everything about our supporters, I love the team, I love the staff. I love everything. But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take.
“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.
“After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth. That’s it, pretty much.”
Klopp went on to confirm this was not a snap decision; instead, it was one he made a few months ago, content in the knowledge that he will be leaving with the team in good shape once again.
“I am OK,” he added. “I am healthy, as much as you can [be] at my age. Little bits and bobs, stuff like that, but nothing anybody has to be concerned about, so that’s absolutely fine. I told the club already in November.
“I have to explain a little bit that maybe the job I do people see from the outside, I’m on the touchline and in training sessions and stuff like this, but the majority of all the things happen around these kind of things. That means a season starts and you plan pretty much the next season already. When we sat there together talking about potential signings, the next summer camp and can we go wherever, the thought came up, ‘I am not sure I am here then anymore’ and I was surprised myself by that.
“I obviously start thinking about it. It didn’t start [then], but of course last season was kind of a super-difficult season and there were moments when at other clubs probably the decision would have been, ‘Come on, thank you very much for everything but probably we should split here, or end it here.’
“That didn’t happen here, obviously. For me it was super, super, super-important that I can help to bring this team back onto the rails. It was all I was thinking about. When I realised pretty early that happened, it’s a really good team with massive potential and a super age group, super characters and all that, then I could start thinking about myself again and that was the outcome. It is not what I want to [do], it is just what I think is 100 per cent right. That’s it.”