Jurgen Klopp could stick it out for what looks like an arduous Liverpool rebuild or jump ship to Real Madrid. Maybe it is actually ‘time to leave’?
We’ve got a confession. We had an inkling the story we published on Jurgen Klopp moving to Real Madrid was absolute nonsense. It’s perfectly possible that Real Madrid have made the German boss their ‘number one objective’; Le10 Sport may even know that to be the case (though we doubt it). But there’s absolutely no chance they know whether Klopp ‘feels it’s time to leave’ Anfield.
It definitely feels like it would be a good time to leave, and you’ve got to wonder if an offer from Real Madrid would be too tempting to turn down.
Another confession: the news story got a hell of a lot of traffic. Which suggests it sits in the perfect hit-heavy middle ground between shocking and believable. Liverpool fans won’t want to accept it, but Klopp leaving for Madrid would be a perfectly possible surprise.
He’s got a monumental rebuilding job on his hands at Liverpool. The focus of transfer gossip columns is their need for a whole new midfield, but it’s hard to watch games at the moment without coming to the conclusion that all areas of the squad need an upgrade.
The number of managers who have successfully rebuilt title-winning teams in the Premier League can be counted on one hand without use of the fingers. It’s a challenge Klopp signed up for less than a year ago when he agreed to an extension until 2026, but one he could be forgiven for now dodging after his side’s incredible and unpredictable downturn in performances this season.
While Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk slowing down could have been, and probably was, predicted by Klopp and his coaching staff, the the tapering performance levels of Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andrew Robertson, among others, could never have been foreseen.
And it’s the displays of those full-backs which is perhaps of most concern to both Klopp and the club. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson are 24 and 29 respectively, which gives credence to the theory that the biggest issue is not age but the length of time spent playing under Klopp, whose style of football is thought to be particularly draining.
Liverpool can’t do a Chelsea. They can’t buy their manager a whole new team and nor should that be required with many of the players out of form rather than over the hill. And the recourse in all but exceptional circumstances in such situations is to change the manager. But these are exceptional circumstances, as Klopp is well aware.
“Elephant in the room is why I am still sitting here in this crazy world,” Klopp said in response to Graham Potter and Brendan Rodgers losing their jobs on the same day. “I’m aware of the fact I’m sitting here because of the past and not because of what we did this season. If this was my first season it would be slightly different.”
He’s got a lot of credit in the bank having won everything possible at Liverpool, and it would be a madness from the Liverpool owners to sack the club’s most successful manager in the Premier League era the season after they came within two games of winning the quadruple.
But a similar trend at the start of next season will surely be enough for the owners to turn on Klopp and start to consider him the problem, rather than anything else, as is currently – absolutely reasonably – the case. By which point Real Madrid’s gaze may well have been drawn to the ‘shiny new toy from Germany’, rather than the wizened one who’s just been sacked by the team they routinely spank in the Champions League.
So why would Klopp take the risk? Why would he turn Madrid down this summer to instead engage in what looks to be an arduous and lengthy rebuild job at Liverpoo0l, that history tells us may only be possible once he’s left?
He could leave Liverpool this summer with the universal love of the fans and his reputation fully intact for the biggest club in world football. Or stick it out, sour his relationship with (some of) the fans and miss his chance to move on to something bigger and better. The story might have been nonsense but it’s logical nonsense.
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