Jurgen Klopp was this week tipped to take over the vacant position of German national team coach ahead of hosting Euro 2024, but the Liverpool boss’ latest comments make it clear that he’s staying at Anfield.
Klopp is “excited” about starting from “year one again” as he builds what he hopes will be Liverpool’s next great team.
The manager spoke with pride about the frighteningly young group of players he has put together after a summer of upheaval and subsequent rebuilding at Anfield.
And as he prepares for a visit to Wolves, where a desperate defeat last season provided the conclusive evidence that his title-winning squad had come to the end of its natural cycle, the Reds boss explained his passion for the new project ahead.
“I know I say it, but I also really feel it – it is year one… Not year eight, because in October I’m here eight years,” he said, having been linked with the vacant Germany job this week following compatriot Hansi Flick’s sacking.
“This is year one of the new team and that’s exactly how we approach everything. I don’t want to manage the success from the past and not get there again. No, we have to (get there again).
“All big teams have to [rebuild] from time to time and we’ve had to do it now with the same old manager but my energy levels are not a problem at all.
“I loved the pre-season, I loved the start of the season – when I stand in the dressing room and look at the team I really, really love this team – and we have to keep going, that much is clear. That will never change. It is good and exciting. It’s exciting times that we really create a way to play football which is different to what we had before.”
Of course, Klopp is one of the world’s greatest managers, with the experience of guiding a group of world class professionals to major honours – and all the egos that go with it. Yet without question, he still has a passion for working with young players, and helping them grow into the stars of the next generation.
He has that now at Anfield, with new signings Ryan Gravenberch and Dominik Sozboszlai 21, and 22 respectively, and Alexis Mac Allister 24. Behind them are Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott, and a trio of teenage talent in Ben Doak, 17, and 18 year olds Stefan Bajcetic and Bobby Clark, who are all very much part of the first team squad.
And he has not lost the passion which saw him, at Borussia Dortmund, build the youngest team ever to win the Bundesliga.
“The quality and potential this group of players have is massive, and I love working with them because they are open (to ideas),” Klopp added.
“It’s nice for a manager, that you know they didn’t hear it already 500 times before, some messages are new. So it’s really exciting.
“I know that I am getting older but when you see the 16-year-old boys in training you think ‘OK, in two years they are 18 so there is a good chance I have them, without rushing them into the first team’.
“I had that with Mario Gotze years and years ago (at Dortmund) when you watched a game and you ask ‘who is that?’ Mario Gotze was 16 years old and I had no clue. ‘When can we bring him?!’
“The club has really good young players here and we have a situation where we don’t need to put them in when it’s too early for them.
“I have and obviously Vitor Matos and Pep Lijnders are the biggest advocates of all these boys. So they know absolutely everything about them and I see them from time to time and I can say it’s good.”