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Jurgen Klopp plays down Xabi Alonso Liverpool fears as boss gets emotional | Football | Sport

The German is adored on Merseyside for his impact since taking over in October 2015. He delivered the club’s first league title in 30 years as well as their sixth European Cup. The 56-year-old coach has won eight trophies overall and delivered countless unforgettable matches and memories.

The size of Klopp’s personality and the level to which he is loved at Liverpool have led to suggestions his successor has an impossible job filling the void. But as he looks for the fairytale farewell, Klopp insists the next man in the Anfield dugout actually inherits the ideal situation – a team ready for success.

Ahead of Liverpool’s massive match with title rivals Manchester City this Sunday, Klopp said: “I really think it is the perfect moment for a new manager and not the wrong one because we didn’t win everything, we left spaces.

“Go at City after Pep Guardiola and you need to be champion ten years in a row to achieve the same! Maybe it was good for that reason that we didn’t become champion with 97 points.”

Bayer Leverkusen manager Alonso, also a former Liverpool midfielder, is the No. 1 target to replace Klopp. The Spaniard, 42, has a pre-existing relationship with the Kop after spending fie seasons at the club as a player.

Although Klopp has such a cult of personality on L4, he’s confident the nature of the scouse fanbase means his replacement will be very warmly welcomed – whoever he is.

The current Liverpool manager sent an emotional message to the supporters he will leave behind at the end of May, insisting: ‘You are the ones who make this club special.’

He explained: “The people here are different. The people gave Bill Shankly the chance, and what came after Bill Shankly, and they are all bigger than we are, and the people will understand in the end that this was a fantastic time and we all enjoyed it like hell.

“What a ride. But I am 100 per cent sure that what they learned over the years is if we trust and we push then everything is possible. This team will attract top class managers, 100 per cent.

“I think I came in at the right moment because it got lost a little bit and maybe I was the one who helped everyone to understand again how important it is. The club is special. Not because of the buildings – other clubs have nice stadiums – but because of the people.”

This weekend could be the final time that Klopp goes head-to-head with familiar foe Guardiola. They have faced off 29 times before this, with the German claiming 12 wins to the Spaniard’s 11.

Klopp says his battles with the City boss – who pipped him to the 2019 and 2022 Premier League titles as well as the 2013 Champions League when they pair were at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich – have significantly contributed to his success.

He added: “It made me definitely a better manager, to find solutions against these teams to win these games. In this moment, I just got told now, I have a positive record against Pep. I have no clue how that happened, to be honest! But it is all fine.”

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