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Jürgen Klopp is to leave Liverpool FC at the end of the season after saying he has “run out of energy”, bringing the reign of one of the most successful managers in English football to a close.
The German revealed on Friday that he had informed the club of his decision in November last year. By the time of his departure in May, he will have spent almost nine years in the role.
During his time in charge, Klopp, 56, led Liverpool to their first league title in 30 years and won the Uefa Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious club competition, among honours that also included the Fifa Club World Cup, FA Cup and League Cup.
Finding a successor presents a major test for Liverpool and John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, which acquired the club for £300mn in 2010. Liverpool are top of the Premier League with more than half of the 38-match season played, fuelling hopes that Klopp will go out as a champion.
“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,” said Klopp, who managed German clubs Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund before arriving at Liverpool in 2015.
“But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take,” he added. “It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy.”
Were it not for Manchester City, led by Catalan manager Pep Guardiola, Klopp would be leaving with more trophies. City pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title by just one point in 2018-19 and 2021-22.
Klopp, who makes a reported £16mn a year in salary alone, also referred to the intensity and demands of elite football as he explained his decision to quit. He signed a new contract with Liverpool as recently as 2022.
“The one thing I didn’t know and I underestimated was the fact that my energy source is not endless,” he said. “I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”
US private equity firm Dynasty Equity bought a minority stake in the club worth at least $100mn in September last year, as institutional investors continue to bet on sport. The valuation was not disclosed but Forbes in May last year estimated that Liverpool was worth about $5.3bn.
Liverpool made roughly €682mn in the 2022-23 season, according to rankings published by consultancy Deloitte this week, putting it in seventh place of the highest revenue-generating football clubs in the world. In 2014-15, the Merseyside club ranked ninth with revenue of €391mn.
Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon said it was vital to continue the “due diligence behind the scenes” to ensure Liverpool’s football operations department could “adapt” to a future without Klopp.
“It goes without saying that we will be hugely saddened to lose not just a manager of such calibre, but a person and leader for whom we have enormous respect, gratitude and affection,” added Gordon.