Liverpool players have clarity now - they have to give Jurgen Klopp a fitting send off

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool FC at London Stadium on April 27, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, during his side's draw with West Ham -Credit:Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

At one stage it appeared that it was going to be the most glorious of finales. With the Carabao Cup already in the bag, Liverpool were very much in the running for the Premier League title, the FA Cup and the favourites for the Europa League.

But as Jurgen Klopp prepares to start his final month as Liverpool manager, dreams of an unprecedented quadruple have been dashed. Knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Europa League by Atalanta, the Reds' hopes of winning the Premier League are all but over, too.

Their 2-2 draw at West Ham United on Saturday followed a 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat at Everton and means Liverpool can only look up at Manchester City and Arsenal and wonder what might have been.

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The build-up to both of those games was overshadowed somewhat by the news that the club are closing in on naming Arne Slot as the replacement for the much-loved Klopp. Robbie Fowler believes it is both a positive move but that the speculation surrounding it will have contributed to the players' drop in from. But, writing in his column for The Mirror, the Liverpool legend is adamant the imminent arrival of Slot should now ensure Klopp's memorable reign goes off with a bang.

Fowler wrote: "Liverpool's stars now have the green light to give Jurgen Klopp a fitting send-off with one final blast of heavy-metal football. With Feyenoord boss Arne Slot ­officially set to become his ­successor next week, Liverpool players can ­finally free their minds of uncertainty and send their German boss off in style in their final three games.

"All the recent speculation about Xabi Alonso, Ruben Amorim, Roberto De Zerbi, Ange Postecoglou and then Dutchman Slot has done no-one at Anfield any good - least of all Klopp’s players. That’s not being critical, it’s just the way it is when a manager is heading off to pastures new.

"It was evident in the defeat to ­Everton, a result I didn’t see coming and an indication a few might have taken their eye off the ball. And that’s why many pundits and fans were saying Liverpool’s title ­challenge was over before Saturday's match with West Ham.

"But the Anfield hierarchy have now played their part by helping to ensure a ­positive end to the campaign – with a decisive and public proclamation on Slot. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t a clue Slot was even in the conversation among the power brokers who run Liverpool.

"He wasn’t someone who jumped out at me as a candidate. In fact, I knew nothing about Slot at all or the way he plays and, ­probably like many people, I dived into Google to check him out.

"He’s done okay at Feyenoord the last couple of seasons, but only time will tell if he can take Liverpool to greater heights than Klopp managed. That will be a tall order, but the more pressing problem for Liverpool is getting some stability back into players feeling the effects of Jurgen’s imminent departure. They’ve had nearly nine years of Klopp at ­Liverpool and suddenly everything is about to change.

"Everything about their daily ­working lives has been mapped out and planned by Klopp and his staff. They’ve known what time he likes to train and what he demands, how he likes to travel, the pre-match ­routines, team meetings and how he prepares for games. Now, the players are in the dark and probably feel in limbo because they know it’s going to be different. You could see against Everton, and even against West Ham, it wasn’t the performance of a Klopp team – ­everything was off."

The Reds return to action next Sunday when they host Tottenham Hotspur. A trip to Aston Villa follows before Klopp's final match in charge of Liverpool comes at home to Wolves.

And Fowler added: "The announcement on Slot will give the players some clarity. And that will enable them to give Klopp the best possible send-off in the last few games... and he deserves that."