LONDON (AFP) - Jurgen Klopp jetted into Liverpool on Thursday after the German agreed to become the struggling Premier League club’s new manager.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp was the first choice of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group to succeed Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked on Sunday with the Reds languishing in 10th place in the English top-flight.
Although Liverpool did not confirm the widespread media reports of Klopp’s appointment, they have called a press conference for “a major club announcement” at 10am local time (8pm Singapore time) on Friday when the German is expected to be officially unveiled.
Klopp is said to have agreed to a three-year contract under which he would earn more than £4 million pounds (S$8.6 million) a year.
He appeared to admit the deal had been done during a brief interview with a Sky Sports News reporter conducted via the intercom system outside his house in Germany.
“Yes, from tomorrow, I’m 24/7 a Liverpool man, but now I have to do some private things,” Klopp said.
Hot on the heels of those comments, the 48-year-old flew into Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport on a private jet and was believed to have been driven to a city centre hotel.
Klopp is expected to bring in Bosnian Zeljko Buvac, his assistant both at Dortmund and Mainz, and coach Peter Krawietz as key members of his backroom staff.
Several of Rodgers’ coaching team – including Gary McAllister and Sean O’Driscoll – left Liverpool on Thursday as the club cleaned house ahead of Klopp’s arrival.
McAllister, a former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder, has accepted an ambassadorial position with the Reds.
“Liverpool Football Club can confirm Sean O’Driscoll, Gary McAllister, Glen Driscoll and Chris Davies have left their respective first-team roles at the club,” a Liverpool statement said.
Klopp comes to Liverpool with a lofty reputation after leading Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles in seven years, while finishing as Champions League runners-up in 2013.
However, Dortmund struggled last season, finishing seventh in the Bundesliga and losing the German Cup final in Klopp’s final game in charge before he quit at the end of the season saying he wanted a sabbatical.
Klopp, whose first match in charge will be a Premier League match at Tottenham on Oct 17, has a major task on his hands to rejuvenate a Liverpool squad that has suffered badly from the exits of stars like Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard in recent years.
Expectations for success remain high among supporters of a club who have won 18 English titles, seven FA Cups and five European Cups.
But Liverpool’s relative lack of investment in comparison to their main rivals has seen them fall off the pace both in the title race and the battle to qualify for the Champions League.
Rodgers also reportedly had issues with having to make signings with the input of the club’s “transfer committee” – scouts Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter, analysis guru Michael Edwards, FSG’s Anfield representative Mike Gordon and chief executive Ian Ayre – and Klopp will have to find a way to avoid similar problems.
Despite the potential pitfalls lying in wait at Anfield, former Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson, now in charge of the England national team, offered Klopp his congratulations.
“We wish him well,” Hodgson said. “It’s a club business when clubs change managers, but I welcome Jurgen to England and wish him the best with making Liverpool the top team that the owners want them to be.”
Rodgers became Liverpool manager in 2012 after joining from Swansea and guided the Reds to second place in the Premier League in 2013-14 as they narrowly failed to win the English title for the first time since 1990.
But his failure to win a major trophy during his reign proved fatal and he was sacked by the American owners after a 1-1 draw against Everton that left Liverpool with only four wins in their 11 games in all competitions this season.