Ex-Liverpool player labels Jurgen Klopp a ‘father figure’ and reveals German’s exit news reduced him to tears

Ex-Liverpool player labels Jurgen Klopp a ‘father figure’ and reveals German’s exit news reduced him to tears

Featured Image Credit: Getty

A former Liverpool player labelled Jurgen Klopp a “father figure” and revealed he was reduced to tears by the German announcing his imminent Anfield exit.

On Friday, Klopp rocked the football world by announcing he was set to step down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, saying he was “running out of energy”.

The 56-year-old was appointed in October 2015 and his contract was set to run until 2026.

In his nine-year spell at Liverpool, Klopp has won almost every trophy available, including the Champions League in 2019 and the Reds’ first league title in 30 years the following season.

Having been such an influential figure on Merseyside, his departure came as a shock to Liverpool’s fans and players.

Jurgen Klopp announces he’s leaving Liverpool

Credit: Liverpool FC

Even Naby Keita, who left the Reds on a free transfer last summer after five injury-hit, underwhelming years at Anfield, admitted he was shaken by Klopp’s departure news.

Keita, who signed for Liverpool from RB Leipzig in 2018 for £48million, told RMC News: “I’m not on the (social media) networks but when they told me, I had tears in my eyes.

“He took me to Liverpool as his son and I consider him my dad. I wish him the best for the rest of his life.

“I’ll try to write to him afterwards. Such is life, I bumped into him and I wasn’t disappointed. We got trophies.”

Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk was among the first Liverpool players to speak out over the shock announcement, with the Dutchman admitting it would be a struggle to accept the manager’s exit.

Jurgen Klopp slams Anfield atmosphere after West Ham game

Keita endured a difficult spell on Merseyside (Getty)
Keita endured a difficult spell on Merseyside (Getty)

“It’s a hard one to take, because the manager means so much for us, to me, to the club, to the whole Premier League I think,” Van Dijk told Liverpool.com. “But he made the decision for him and his family. It was always going to be a tough one and it was definitely the case.

“I think it will be a collective feeling and like I said already, I didn’t have any feeling so far that that wasn’t the case. I think [Klopp’s decision] just should give you that extra boost, that special feeling that let’s make the most out of it.

“I think that feeling was already [there] like I said before, since pre-season that we wanted to make things right from last year and we have to keep that going.

“As a fan and as a supporter of the football club, it will also feel that way. You want to be there and you want to be there for the team, be there for the manager. Let’s make the rest of the season a special one so he can have the farewell that he definitely deserves.”

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