Klopp’s Liverpool exit plan, hidden contract clause and 3 replacements

Klopp praises 'classy' Real after Liverpool exit Champions League

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Jurgen Klopp has enjoyed a hugely successful seven years at Liverpool, ending their Premier League hoodoo with the first title in the club’s history since the league formed in 1992, while also claiming victory in the Champions League final in 2019. However, this season has seen the wheels fall off and in mid-March the Reds have exited all cup competitions, while spending the majority of the season languishing outside of the top four. A disappointing campaign so far has seen fears grow over whether Klopp could leave the club – or even be sacked – as he has spoken openly about his departure from Liverpool.

What Klopp has said about leaving Liverpool

Klopp has made no secret that his time at Liverpool will not last forever, opening up in recent years of his thoughts regarding an eventual exit. “I have absolute energy. But I have one problem. I can’t do ‘a little bit’. I can only do ‘all or nothing’,” Klopp told Kicker Magazine in 2019. “When I decide that I cannot do it any longer then I will take a break for a year.”

A year later he admitted he could return to Mainz in the future and even earmarked a leaving date. “Definitely to live, after my career. Most likely even to Mainz,” he explained to SWR Sport, adding he’d spend “four [more] years in Liverpool,” before heading back to Germany. “In five years the world can look very different again.”

Then Klopp later doubled down and conceded that he may retire upon leaving Liverpool and his impending one-year hiatus. “I’ll take a year off and ask myself if I miss football,” explained Klopp to SportBuzzer. “If I say no, then that will be the end of coach Jurgen Klopp. If one day I am no longer a coach, there is one thing I will not miss: the brutal tension immediately before the game.”

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Secret clause

When Klopp extended his contract at Anfield in December 2019, Liverpool made sure to put a clause in the contract which would see them help the German return to his homeland when he leaves the club.

Klopp has made no secret of his desire to return to Germany in the future, as the clause enables the club to aid his move back to ensure he has a smooth transition. It is not uncommon for clubs to assist a departure in terms of finding accommodation or schooling for children, though it is usually reserved for players.

However, Liverpool helping Klopp with his eventual exit shows the level of respect and admiration between the two parties.

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Three replacements

There were four head coaches earmarked as potential Klopp replacements, but they became three when Steven Gerrard engaged in talks to take over at Trabzonspor, having recently met with club president Ertugrul Dogan.

Mauricio Pochettino would certainly serve as a worthy successor to Klopp after his good work at Tottenham. The Argentine has been linked with a return to Spurs as Antonio Conte’s future remains unclear, but the 52-year-old may prefer a change of scenario and Liverpool could be the perfect fit.

Thomas Tuchel is also a former rival coach that is currently out of work, having been sacked by Chelsea in September in favour of Graham Potter. The German, similarly to Klopp, coached Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before moving to the Premier League as the stars may align for him to follow Klopp once again and turn up at Anfield.

Liverpool could continue their high-pressing approach but with a tweak to becoming a possession-based team should they turn their attention to former Barcelona and Spain boss Luis Enrique. Similarly to Tuchel and Pochettino he is currently out of work and would be a free option for Liverpool, despite recent links to Tottenham they may have a free run at the Spaniard.

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