Jürgen Klopp, considered one of the greatest managers in world soccer, has announced that he will step down from his position as Liverpool’s head coach at the end of the current season.
Since joining the English Premier League side in 2015, Klopp has guided the club from years of heartbreak back to the pinnacle of European soccer – notably winning a UEFA Champions League title and Liverpool’s first league title in 30 years.
His “heavy metal” style of play – a term Klopp himself used to describe a form of soccer that is in-your-face, intense and based around quick counterattacking play – brought the good times back to a club which was in desperate need of a new direction.
“I can understand that it’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,” Klopp told the club’s media department.
“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.”
The announcement came as a shock to Liverpool fans who had fallen in love with Klopp during his energetic and charismatic reign in charge.
His clear vision helped navigate the sleeping giant out of soccer obscurity, returning one of the world’s biggest sporting institutions to its former glory.
Explaining his reasons for stepping down, the 56-year-old said he was determined to do so “slightly early” rather than “too late.”
He said he told the club of his decision back in November, after realizing he was running out of steam when attending meetings about next season.
“It means so much and it’s so important for so many people, I cannot do it on three-wheels,” he told reporters on Friday, speaking about what it means to be Liverpool manager.
“I’ve never wanted to be a passenger. My managing skills [are] based on energy, on emotion, on relationships and it takes all of you, it needs all of you.
“I am who I am and where I am because how I am. If I cannot be that anymore, [I need] to stop it.”
Liverpool also announced Klopp’s assistant managers Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, as well as elite development coach Vitor Matos, will also step down.