Football: Liverpool in hurry to tie Klopp down

Liverpool's owner Fenway Sports Group have opened talks with Jurgen Klopp over a fresh long-term deal, having been convinced by the German's methods to return the Reds to challenging for honours at the top of the Premier League.
Liverpool's owner Fenway Sports Group have opened talks with Jurgen Klopp over a fresh long-term deal, having been convinced by the German's methods to return the Reds to challenging for honours at the top of the Premier League.PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds owner wastes little time to offer German a longer stay after impressive start at Anfield

LONDON • Liverpool have opened contract talks with Jurgen Klopp less than nine months after he took over as manager as the English Premier League football club look to secure him to a long-term deal.

In a significant show of faith in their manager, Liverpool want to rip up the 31/2-year deal that Klopp signed last October and replace it with a longer agreement having been sufficiently impressed by the impact he has made since succeeding Brendan Rodgers.

It is understood that Klopp and his agent, Marc Kosicke, have been receptive to Liverpool's approach with the former Borussia Dortmund coach settled at Anfield.

While there was no prospect of losing Klopp to a rival this summer, Liverpool are aware that the market for elite managers is increasingly dominated by Premier League clubs and want to do everything in their power to ensure that Klopp's allure is not accompanied by any uncertainty about his future.

There is also a desire on the part of Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Liverpool's owner, to provide stability, having dispensed with the services of three managers - Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Rodgers - since purchasing the club in October 2010.

As such, FSG has taken the highly unusual step of opening contract negotiations less than a year into a manager's deal.

  • £7m

  • Jurgen Klopp's reported current annual salary as Liverpool manager.

The principal owner, John W. Henry, the chairman, Tom Werner, and FSG president Mike Gordon have already been so impressed that they are prepared to tie Klopp down for several more years.

The manager's current deal expires in 2018, although there is an option for an extra year, but the owners want the 49-year-old to build a new dynasty at the club and are prepared to invest heavily in him as a person.

Although the emphasis for both parties is on extending Klopp's tenure, his annual £7 million salary (S$12.24 million) is also expected to be reviewed during the discussions.

The German is already one of the highest-paid managers in world football because of his status and previous achievements, so there is unlikely to be any issue over the financial side of the deal.

FSG's belief in Klopp has increased hugely because of his commitment to develop players and the team through coaching.

Liverpool failed to win a trophy during Klopp's first season in charge - losing the League Cup final to Manchester City and the Europa League final to Sevilla - and fell short of qualifying for Europe.

But FSG has been sufficiently impressed by the progress that has been made to make a further declaration of faith in him.

Yesterday, Liverpool accepted a £15 million bid from Bournemouth for England U-21 international Jordon Ibe.

The 20-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Wycombe Wanderers in 2011, found first-team opportunities limited under Klopp and started just 12 Premier League matches last season. He scored four times in 58 appearances for the Reds.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Liverpool in hurry to tie Klopp down'. Print Edition | Subscribe