Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp announced in a shock decision on Friday that he will leave the club at the end of the season because he was “running out of energy”.
Klopp, who has returned Liverpool to one of European football’s powerhouses since taking over at Anfield in 2015, said the decision to leave was one “I have to take”.
The German led Liverpool to their first league title for 30 years in 2020 and to Champions League glory in 2019.
Liverpool are five points clear at the top of the Premier League and the 56-year-old will be hoping to go out on a high by winning the title again.
“I can understand that it’s a shock for a lot of people in this moment, when you hear it for the first time,” Klopp said in an interview on Liverpool’s website.
“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.
“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now.
“I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.”
Klopp said he had taken the decision in November when discussions with the club about potential signings for next season began.
After years of battling with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and reaching the later stages of the Champions League, Liverpool struggled to match their usual standards under Klopp in 2022/23.
They finished fifth in the Premier League and crashed out of the Champions League at the last 16 after being thrashed 5-2 by Real Madrid at Anfield.
But Klopp said it was vital for him to not leave on that sour note as a rejuvenated squad is in contention for four trophies in what remains of his reign.
Liverpool reached the League Cup final on Wednesday and will face Chelsea in the final next month.
The Reds play Norwich in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday and are into the last 16 of the Europa League.
Reflecting on the impact he has had at Liverpool, Klopp said: “For me it was super, super, super-important that I can help to bring this team back onto the rails. It was all I was thinking about.
“When I realised pretty early that happened, it’s a really good team with massive potential and a super age group, super characters and all that, then I could start thinking about myself again and that was the outcome. It is not what I want to (do), it is just what I think is 100 per cent right.”
Klopp’s backroom staff will also leave at the end of the season with assistant Pep Lijnders keen to pursue his own managerial career.
The US-based Fenway Sports Group (FSG), who own Liverpool, paid tribute to Klopp and said work will begin immediately on looking for his successor.
“I would like to state our profound appreciation for Jurgen,” said FSG president Mike Gordon.
“It goes without saying that we will be hugely saddened to lose not just a manager of such calibre, but a person and leader for whom we have enormous respect, gratitude and affection.
“At the same time, we fully respect his wishes and the reasons why he has decided the current season will be his last at Liverpool.”
Under his stewardship, Liverpool have lifted the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Super Cup, as well as the FA Community Shield.
Klopp has spoken in the past of his desire to manage the German national team.