Jürgen Klopp is close to becoming Liverpool’s new manager with the 48-year-old expected on Merseyside on Thursday to finalise terms with the Anfield club.
As major figures in German football such as Franz Beckenbauer and Oliver Kahn backed Klopp’s credentials, talks between his representatives, the Fenway Sports Group president, Mike Gordon, and Liverpool’s chief executive, Ian Ayre, continued to make progress on Tuesday. FSG, Liverpool’s owners, moved decisively after sacking Brendan Rodgers on Sunday with the former Borussia Dortmund coach available – potentially for a limited period – and willing to abandon a sabbatical for the challenge of reviving the Merseyside club’s fortunes.
Klopp was non-committal about his future when asked about Liverpool’s interest at a meeting of German coaches in Leverkusen on Monday. But talks have advanced to the make-up of his back-room team at Anfield – his former Dortmund assistant, Zeljko Buvac, and analyst, Peter Krawietz – and the thorny issue of Liverpool’s transfer committee has not discouraged Klopp from wanting the job. Personal terms have also been discussed. The former Mainz coach would earn significantly more at Liverpool than his £3.6m-a-year salary at Dortmund and is believed to have been offered a three-year contract.
Providing no complications arise over the next 24 hours it is expected Klopp will travel to Liverpool on Thursday and be unveiled as Rodgers’ successor by the end of the week.
The arrival of the two-time Bundesliga winner would represent a coup for FSG. The Boston-based owners failed to tempt Klopp from Dortmund in both 2010 and 2012 but the approach is also the first concrete offer that has appealed to the coach since he ended his seven-year spell at the Westfalenstadion. Bayern Munich have been heavily linked with their former adversary but there are no guarantees Pep Guardiola’s job will become available or offered to him.
Beckenbauer, who has worked alongside Klopp as a pundit on German television, believes Liverpool will be getting one of the finest coaches in world football should they seal the deal. Germany’s World Cup winning captain and manager said: “He is fantastic. He is one of the best coaches I know in the whole world and he was really a milestone for Borussia Dortmund. He took over the club and made them into a world-class team. If Liverpool has the chance to sign Jürgen Klopp, then they should do it. He likes to talk. There are not many coaches left in the world that like to talk so much to the players but he is one of them.
“Liverpool is also one of the biggest clubs in the world, so Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp is definitely a good combination. He is also a winner.”
The former Bayern goalkeeper Kahn believes communication could be an initial problem for Klopp at Liverpool, but one he would successfully overcome.
Kahn told Sport1 television: “I can definitely see it happening and there’s absolutely no reservations at all in terms of his expertise. England would be the right next step for Klopp, also in terms of his personal development.
“Only the language may be a barrier. It’s not that I think he would have a problem conversing in English but, when it comes down to motivating the team and his team talks, that’s a small thing that may not translate so well. Jürgen’s always been really good at motivating his players and that is what he would have to prove at Liverpool.”
FSG is reviewing the entire coaching structure at senior level, having been criticised along with Rodgers for allowing Steven Gerrard to leave the club last season. It wants a player of Gerrard’s experience to be part of the coaching staff, although the ultimate decision will be Klopp’s, and the former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has admitted he would be interested should the opportunity arise.
Fowler, who has his Uefa qualifications, said: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t interested. I’d love to be part of the back-room staff. Liverpool is a massive part of my life; if that was to be the case, then I would absolutely love that.
“My personal view on Klopp is that he is a very good manager. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him but, looking at it from the outside, I was impressed with his performances over in Germany with Dortmund. I like what I see.”