Jurgen Klopp has joined the tributes to Arsene Wenger but insisted he has no intention of following the Arsenal manager’s longevity.
The Liverpool boss has described Wenger as ‘an influencer’ and is a huge admirer of the way his teams play. Klopp recognises that the Premier League will not look or feel the same next season without Wenger, who has been a constant for 22 years, being on the sidelines.
Klopp is in a position where he could build a dynasty like Wenger, given the backing he has from Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners, and how he has bought into the club since arriving in October 2015.
Jurgen Klopp insisted he has no intention of following in Arsene Wenger’s longevity
He has a contract until the summer of 2022 but Klopp does not foresee a situation where he will be at Liverpool in the 2030s and beyond as he opened up on the tolls of top flight management.
‘I heard it when I came in this morning and I was surprised but it is his decision and you have to respect that,’ said Klopp, whose side face West Brom on Saturday. ‘He was – and is still – an influencer in football.
‘He has a fantastic career, an outstanding personality and a really big player in the business where usually the thing changes overnight and he was there for so long. How many years? (22). That’s long and very successful.
The Liverpool boss described him as an ‘influencer’ and said the Premier League will miss him
‘Maybe in the last few months not everyone was happy any more about this or that result but that is normal. He always developed teams and brought in fantastic players and was the dominating guy in the mid-90s and 2000s when he was winning pretty much everything playing wonderful football.
‘I always admired his work – since I’ve been in England it is a bit different as we have to challenge – but when I was in Germany he was always a big role model in the job and it will be different without him.
‘I am not sure if he will stay at Arsenal or go to another club but he looks quite fit and enjoyed the job in the last few years so maybe he will go somewhere else. From my side I wish him all the best and hopefully I can meet him at one point again and tell him that in a personal talk.’
Klopp’s stock on Merseyside is high and if he was to win the Champions League this season, his popularity would go through the roof. He feels at home with Liverpool but the changes in the modern game take more of a toll in managers than when Wenger began his odyssey.
The Frenchman has been a constant for the past 22 years, having joined Arsenal in 1996
‘I love what I do,’ said Klopp, who gave a positive update on the fitness of Emre Can (back) and Adam Lallana (hamstring), insisting that both players could feature before the end of the campaign.
‘It’s intense but most jobs are intense. We are constantly in focus. Do I need that I am famous. No. I don’t feel that special but it happens. If no one remembers me, that’s not a problem. That’s a dream for me. We get really well paid.
‘We can have the life we never dreamed of. But I don’t want to have this life and I cannot walk any more. I don’t need football to be happy. I love it but I don’t need it. There will be a moment and I don’t know when, when I will stop. That’s all. I love what I do. It’s not too intense.
‘It’s different to 20 years ago, 100 per cent, because of you as well. No time for nothing any more, you have to deliver now. When I came in, I had three days training and everybody was waiting for the impact of the Tottenham game. That’s crazy. But we deal with that.’
Klopp feels at home at Liverpool but says the modern game takes more of a toll on managers