EPL

Klopp to leave Liverpool: Three UCL finals, one EPL crown and making Salah a star

By Sports Desk January 26, 2024

Jurgen Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the 2023-24 season.

In an emotional announcement, released via Liverpool's media channels on Friday, Klopp confirmed this campaign would be his last at the helm at Anfield.

Klopp, who is under contract at Liverpool until 2026, claimed he is running out of energy, and after nearly nine years in charge, he will be leaving the club as a legend.

While Liverpool will hope to round off the German's time in charge with a second Premier League title, and possibly further trophies – they are already in the EFL Cup final – the Reds will also have to face the daunting prospect of what comes next.

Regardless, Klopp is set to leave as one of the club's most successful managers. 

With the help of Opta data, we break down Klopp's time in charge.

An Anfield giant

Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Kenny Dalglish. Klopp will take pride and place among the list of great managers to have taken charge of one of England's most successful clubs.

Since replacing Brendan Rodgers in October 2015, Klopp has taken charge of 466 matches, winning 283 of those. His win percentage of 60.7 makes him the best Liverpool manager in that metric, at least as far back as Opta's records go.

Klopp has lost just 78 games, while drawing 105. His team have scored 972 goals, an average of 2.1 per match.

Not that it has always been easy. In his first season – 2015-16 – his win rate was 44.2 per cent. However, it has never dropped below 50 per cent in a single campaign since then, with the low mark coming last term (50 per cent).

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, while he has five major honours as it stands, which ranks him behind only Dalglish, Paisley (both six) and the great Shankly (13).

 

His Liverpool side peaked between 2018 and 2020. After reaching the Champions League final in 2017-18, the Reds won their sixth European Cup the following season, before then breaking their Premier League duck in 2019-20, albeit they wrapped up that title behind closed doors. They had also won the Super Cup and Club World Cup earlier that term.

The FA Cup and EFL Cup were both won in 2022 en route to what could have been a historic quadruple.

Liverpool still have four trophies left to play for this season. They sit top of the Premier League as it stands; they will face Chelsea in the EFL Cup final; they are into the knockout stage of the Europa League and they have a home tie against Norwich City in the fourth round of the FA Cup coming up on Sunday.

Klopp's best season based purely on win percentage came in 2021-22, when Liverpool won a remarkable 73 per cent of their games in all competitions, only to fall short of pipping Manchester City to the title on the last day of the Premier League season, before losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

A European master

Klopp started as he meant to go on when it came to European football with Liverpool, leading the Reds to the Europa League final in his first season in charge.

Though they lost to Sevilla on that occasion back in 2016, Liverpool have gone from strength to strength in continental competitions. They were undone by Gareth Bale's magic and Loris Karius' error in Kyiv in 2018, but left all in Europe in their wake when they overcame Tottenham in Madrid a year later, having signed Alisson to ensure they had a top-class goalkeeper between the posts.

Liverpool were back in the showpiece match three years later. Again, it was Madrid they faced, and again Los Blancos came out on top – Vinicius Junior's goal and Thibaut Courtois' heroics enough to deny Klopp his second Champions League crown.

 

Klopp will not manage Liverpool again in the Champions League, meaning his 61.5 win percentage (40/65) in the competition will be maintained. His Liverpool team have scored an incredible 144 Champions League goals - an average of 2.2 per game.

Unbeaten runs, Guardiola rivalry and dominating the derby

The rivalry between Klopp's Liverpool and Pep Guardiola's Man City has been the lifeblood of the Premier League over recent seasons. 

While Liverpool are not exactly cash-strapped, they do not have the state-backed wealth that City enjoy, yet Klopp has managed to keep the Reds highly competitive – on two occasions, they have finished just one point below City with points tallies that in almost any other circumstance would have surely seen them win the title.

Since Klopp's first Premier League game, Liverpool have taken 671 points, a tally that trails only City (716), while the Reds have a positive goal difference of 367 (675 goals for, 308 goals against).

As it stands, Klopp is the Premier League's third-most successful manager based on points per game, with his 2.12 ranking behind only Alex Ferguson (2.16) and Guardiola (2.34).

His next victory in the top flight will bring up his 200th as Liverpool manager, from what will be his 318th such match in charge.

Only Guardiola (18 with City between August and December 2017) has been on a winning run as long as Klopp has in the Premier League, with Liverpool having rallied off 18 straight wins between October 2019 and February 2020. The Reds had previously gone on a 17-game winning streak between March 2019 and October 2019, a run that was ended by a 1-1 draw with Manchester United. 

Liverpool went on a 44-game unbeaten streak, meanwhile, between January 2019 and February 2020. Arsene Wenger (49 games between May 2003 and October 2004) is the only Premier League manager to have gone more successive matches without defeat.

Klopp has gone up against Guardiola on 24 occasions, making City the team Liverpool have faced the most in his time at the club. He has claimed 10 wins (41.7 per cent), lost six times and drawn eight games.

 

Of the four other 'big six' clubs, Chelsea rank as Klopp's least favourite, with just a 27.3 per cent win record from 22 matches (six victories). Klopp has faced Manchester United, meanwhile, on 18 occasions, winning seven times (36.8 per cent).

Meanwhile, Klopp has dominant form in the Merseyside derby. From 18 such meetings, Liverpool have lost just once to Everton, with that defeat coming at Anfield, behind closed doors, in 2021. The Reds have beaten the Toffees 11 times under Klopp (61.1 per cent).

Of the current Premier League sides, Klopp has claimed 12 victories over Bournemouth from 15 meetings, with that win percentage (80) his best against any side he has faced over six times.

Superstar Salah, fearsome front threes and flying full-backs

The story goes that Klopp was not initially in favour of signing Mohamed Salah from Roma back in 2017, but his arm was twisted by Liverpool's then-recruitment guru, Michael Edwards. If that is indeed true, then Klopp will no doubt be thrilled he was swayed to bring in the Egyptian.

Salah has scored 204 goals in 332 appearances for Liverpool, 84 goals more than any other player under Klopp (Sadio Mane – 120 goals from 269 appearances).

 

Only Roberto Firmino (355) has played more times for the Reds in Klopp's tenure than Salah, whose 306 starts puts him out in front. The 31-year-old has totalled up 27,037 minutes, over 2,000 more than next-best Firmino (24,903).

Salah also tops the charts for goal contributions (286), having added 82 assists on top of his strike tally.

Firmino and Mane, Salah's partners in crime in what was arguably the most feared forward line in world football, chipped in with 182 and 157 goal contributions respectively.

Meanwhile, Klopp has given more debuts to teenagers than any manager in Liverpool's history (42). One of those teenagers was Trent Alexander-Arnold, who along with Andrew Robertson, became pivotal to Klopp's heavy metal football.

The flying full-backs have been assist machines: Alexander-Arnold has created 78 goals in 298 appearances, while Robertson has crafted 63 from 275 games.

Just Firmino and Salah have played more minutes under Klopp than Alexander-Arnold (24,323) and Robertson (23,498). 

What's next?

Whoever replaces Klopp has big shoes to fill, and this might well end up being Salah's last season at Anfield too, as Saudi Pro League clubs circle.

Xabi Alonso and Julian Nagelsmann have been some early names touted around, but until the end of May, it will be all about the Kop bidding goodbye to Klopp.

He deserves a hero's farewell.

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