Jurgen Klopp’s farewell speech channels Sir Alex Ferguson in public backing for successor

Klopp sings
Jurgen Klopp sings with fans as he bids an emotional farewell to Liverpool - PA/Peter Byrne

Jurgen Klopp followed in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson by asking for his successor to be backed during his farewell speech to supporters.

During an emotion-filled address after his final Liverpool game ended in a 2-0 win over Wolves, Klopp took to the microphone and started fans singing Arne Slot’s name ahead of the Dutchman taking charge this summer.

There were echoes of Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 when he called on Manchester United to support David Moyes, although his successor at Old Trafford was sacked in his first season.

“You welcome the new manager like you welcomed me. You go all in from the first day. You keep believing. You push the team. I’m one of you now. I love you to bits,” said Klopp, who then started singing “Arne Slot, na na na na-na” with the crowd joining in.

After winning the Premier League and Champions League during almost nine years on Merseyside, Klopp said the club was in good hands with Slot as manager and the foundations built since he arrived in 2015.

Alexis Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah scored the goals against Wolves before Klopp’s final speech.

“It doesn’t feel like an end. It just feels like a start. Today I saw a football team play full of talent, youth, creativity, desire, greed. That’s one part of development, that’s what you need obviously,” he said.

“In these few weeks where I have had too much attention, I realised a lot of things. People say I turned them from doubters into believers. That’s not true. You did it. Nobody tells you to stop believing. This club is in a better moment than a long time.

“We have this wonderful stadium, training centre and you – the superpower of world football. Wow.

“We decide if we are worried or excited. We decide if we believe. We decide if we trust or don’t trust. Today I am one of you and I keep believing. I stay believing 100 per cent.

“Obviously I saw a lot of people crying and I will tonight too because I will miss people but change is good. Everything will be fine because the basics are 100 per cent there.”

Klopp insists there will not be huge changes under the new manager.

“They will make changes here and there,” he said. “I’m sure you will all agree there does not need an overhaul. We finished third. We were ahead of schedule. It’s a statement in this strong league and I’m absolutely fine with that.”

Klopp admitted he felt he could have broken down in front of fans during his emotional farewell.

“I had one or two moments in the week and at the end it was tricky. But for me I thought the day was the start of something not the end,” he said.

“There has been such a long lead-up to this day and it was really intense. I had my bad moments as well but thank God not today. I’m just thankful for what happens. When you are in it, you forget sometimes how great it is. You take it for granted. Now I stand here, I’m just so happy I’m a part of the club’s history. It’s wonderful.

‘We are a rock-solid club and don’t overspend’

“It’s so super special that it’s difficult to explain. We live in a world where it’s all about results for others. We learn that not getting absolutely everything is fine. It’s such a massive lesson for life. It’s not about that, it’s about the journey and the togetherness and that’s what I love. Things might not always go perfect.

“The other clubs, with the most money and the best managers, they win it. We didn’t have the best manager and never had the best team but for a while we played the best football and I love that. We are a rock-solid club and don’t overspend. People say ‘you didn’t spend enough’. What the heck do you want? I just understand this from the Liverpool way.”

Klopp insisted he will not get dragged back into football quickly and he needs a full rest after feeling “empty”.

“I will work. I’ve finished that job. I don’t know why nobody believes me that I will probably not be a manager again but I understand because it seems to be a drug. It looks like it, because everyone comes back and everyone works until they are 70-something,” he said.

“Other people are smarter and can do it a different way – I have to be all-in. I have to be the spark. The energiser. All these kind of things. And I am empty. That is it. I have to start with a rest now, and then we will see, but it’s not that I feel now [what about] the next opportunity.

“You look outside and you can see what clubs are available. There will be opportunities but I don’t sit here and think ‘maybe in a years’ time I will take that’. At this moment, see you later.”