Jürgen Klopp has extended his Liverpool contract until 2026 and credited his wife, Ulla Sandrock, and assistant Pepijn Lijnders with the decision to stay for an extra two years.
The Liverpool manager had claimed he would step aside in 2024 but, re-energised by the team’s pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, he has committed to an 11-year reign after swift talks with the club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group. His assistants Lijnders and Peter Krawietz have also extended their deals until 2026.
FSG has long hoped the 54-year-old would sign a third extension with the club he has revitalised since arriving in October 2015. The owners were encouraged by signs of a possible U-turn by Klopp last month, when he admitted he could sign a new deal at the “last minute” providing he had the energy levels to continue. FSG’s president, Mike Gordon, quickly opened negotiations and met Klopp’s agent, Marc Kosicke, on Wednesday when both were at Anfield for the Champions League semi-final first leg win over Villarreal. The final touches were concluded on Thursday when Klopp signed a contract to make him Liverpool’s longest-serving manager since Bill Shankly.
Klopp described himself as “delighted, humbled, blessed, privileged and excited” by the deal and added: “The most important contract in my life I signed is the one with Ulla. That’s where it started again. We sat in the kitchen at the table and Ulla said: ‘I can’t see us leaving in 2024.’ And I was like: ‘What?!’ When I thought about it then it was clear I needed to have one more really important conversation and that was the one to Pep Lijnders. He is probably the main reason for it because he is a real energiser – this man is on fire and our connection is beyond football things. When he said: ‘Oh, yes, I am in,’ then it was clear that we are open for any kind of talks. That’s why we sit here now.”
Klopp was exhausted by events last season, when multiple injuries damaged the team’s defence of the Premier League title and the pandemic forced football behind closed doors. However, this season’s outstanding form – Liverpool have won the Carabao Cup, face Chelsea in the FA Cup final, trail Manchester City by one point in the title race with five games left and are on course for a third Champions League final appearance in five seasons – has helped to re-energise him.
He has also been enthused by the long-term planning. The recruitment of Luis Díaz and Ibrahima Konaté has freshened the side, a deal is in place for Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho and there is interest in Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni, who is also coveted by Real Madrid. Work on the new Anfield Road stand, that will take the capacity above 61,000, is also well under way.
Klopp, who earned about £10m a year from his last contract, said: “I had to ask myself the question: is it right for Liverpool that I stay longer? Along with my two assistant managers, Pep Lijnders and Pete Krawietz, we came to the conclusion it was a ‘Yes’. There is a freshness about us as a club still and this energises me. For as long as I have been here, our owners have been unbelievably committed and energetic about this club and it is clear that right now this applies to our future as much as I’ve ever known.
“When the owners brought the possibility to renew to me, I asked myself the question I’ve mused over publicly. Do I have the energy and vibe to give of myself again what this amazing place requires from the person in the manager’s office? I didn’t need too long to answer in truth.” He then riffed on the Beatles’ song that has become a terrace chant in his name: “The answer was very simple … I’m in love with here and I feel fine!”
Gordon claimed the extension would help Liverpool with other contract renewals. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino are out of contract in 2023 and the club has been unable to reach agreement on a new deal for the Egypt international, so far.
Gordon, a close friend of Klopp, said: “What our latest agreement gives us, across the organisation, is an opportunity to benefit from continuity, particularly in terms of renewals, whilst retaining and, where possible, enhancing our keen focus on refreshing and reinvigorating at all times.”