Jürgen Klopp believes he has only started creating a legacy at Liverpool and his new contract offers certainty to any player considering their future at “the perfect place”.
The Liverpool manager extended his Anfield career until 2026 on Thursday and has urged his quadruple-chasing team to “squeeze everything out of the season” with five matches remaining in the Premier League title race, an FA Cup final and a possible third Champions League final appearance in five campaigns to come. Irrespective of how the season ends, however, Klopp insists the next four years can yield even greater rewards for Liverpool than he has accomplished thus far.
“I really think it’s a good place to be or a good place to join, if not the perfect place,” he said of his decision to extend. “The world is in a difficult situation; it’s not only coronavirus, it’s Ukraine, it’s so many things, and then on a less important level big clubs have problems here and there with money and these kind of things.
“We want to offer emotion, we want to deliver excitement, we want to be together with our people, we want to really be connected and we want to be special as well as a club. We sit here now and in 20 years’ time we will look back and for all of us it’s about creating stories which we will remember easily and think: ‘Wow, that was good.’
“But we have to do that now – we cannot wait 10 years. I’ve already been here for a while, and this isn’t a contract where you have a look and go: ‘This is really nice, let’s stay here for ever because the people like us.’ Internally with the coaching staff, it’s really like this [that we have to achieve now]. It’s no threat. This is only the start. That’s the plan, that we really, really go for it. There are no guarantees in our sport, and that’s why we have to enjoy the journey.”
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino are out of contract in 2023 and, despite protracted negotiations, Liverpool have been unable to agree an extension with the Egypt international.
With his side preparing to visit Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime, Klopp was asked whether his new contract would persuade others to follow suit, and replied: “That is more a question for the boys, but my relationship with them is great … I think everything is clear in this moment. If that is a positive sign for the boys, great, but I don’t think this will be the one decisive thing for whatever decision they want to make. It is their own life but we just wanted to guarantee that everyone who wants to be here knows what he can expect.”
Klopp has insisted he would never stand in the way of Pepijn Lijnders’ managerial ambitions, after his assistant put them on hold to also sign up for another four years at Liverpool. “I know Pep will be an outstanding manager in the future,” he said. “He is not even 40 yet so there is a long time after all this to be by yourself. At the moment we all enjoy the work here together. His own ambitions will never stop and I will never stop it.”