Q&ABilly Hogan discusses Jürgen Klopp's decision to leave Liverpool

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Liverpool FC CEO Billy Hogan today discussed Jürgen Klopp’s decision to step down as Reds manager at the end of the current season.

Klopp announced this morning that he will leave after leading the club through the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign, meaning his glorious reign will conclude nearly nine years after his appointment in October 2015.

Hogan later joined Klopp for a special press conference at the AXA Training Centre. See the CEO’s answers to the questions posed to him by journalists below.

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Billy, can I just ask you from a board point of view, how significant a moment is this? Because you’re losing a man who’s had a great nine years with you...

I think that’s probably hard to put into words how significant it is. I think when Jürgen joined us in 2015, [he] talked about leaving the club in a better place than he found it. And I think if you look at where we are today versus where we were when he joined us, there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s done that. As he just said, he’s going to be here for several more months. From our perspective, obviously the news is sad, as I’m sure a lot of our supporters share that emotion. He and I have had a number of conversations over the course of the last several weeks, and I think the first time that we had a chat about his decision from a professional standpoint but also from a personal standpoint – we’ve worked alongside each other for the last almost nine years – and I could see from my perspective, knowing him as I do, that this was a decision that he had come to and that he was absolutely comfortable with and believed in. When your colleague and friend comes to a decision like that then that’s something that you support and respect.

Were you surprised?

Yeah, of course. But at the same time, I think he said in the video [released today] that really this is about [how] everyone sees what happens from the outside, but the amount of work and pressure... as he said, he’s been doing this [coaching] for 24 years. So, surprised in a sense but also I understand it. As I said, it’s obviously a sad day but it’s also one that [is] a credit to Jürgen, he’s come to the decision he wanted to give the club the opportunity to go through what will be an orderly process and that’s not easy to do if this news isn’t public. We will go through that process, as we have done in the past – the same process that brought us Jürgen almost nine years ago – and that’s something that we will do in private, that will be done with, as Jürgen said, the people that are here, our ownership, Mike Gordon in particular will be a part of that process.

When we get to a place where we have further news on that then we can discuss it at that point, but it’s not going to be something that’s going to be a running commentary. At this club we prefer to operate [that] when we’re ready to talk about things, we will. And until that point, we won’t and we won’t talk about other people and won’t get into the name game. This is really an announcement that Jürgen and we are making, and after today we are focused on the campaign ahead and the opportunity that we have and competing on four fronts and making the 23-24 campaign something that supporters can look back on with enjoyment.

In terms of the process of replacing Jürgen, do you have a timescale in place? Do you want it before the end of the season? Or do you have to respect the team has to do what it has to do before the season finishes? And I know you won’t mention a name here, but do you have a target in mind for an ideal successor already?

I appreciate the question. I think from our perspective, I wouldn’t want to set an expectation, number one because this is a process we need to go through. As I said, it’s a process that we have gone through in the past, the way we operate as a football club is to ensure that we’ve looked at all the information, all the data, we’ve done our proper due diligence and then we’ll make a decision and we’ll have an announcement at that time. I understand the question, but I can’t commit to a timeline on it. It will go on in the background and you can be sure that we will be doing everything that we possibly can to make, as Jürgen said, the right decision for the future of this football club. That’s the way we have always operated and that’s the way we’ll operate through this process. But at the same time, it’s not to be a distraction. This is about making sure this campaign continues and the team can continue to perform. As I said, when we have something to say, we’ll have something to say at that point.

A lot of supporters have compared today to the day Bill Shankly announced he was leaving, and Kenny Dalglish too. Would you agree that that is a fair comparison? I know Jürgen is sat next to you, but just to talk about the vacuum he is going to leave behind…

Yeah, I think we were talking about it earlier – I had a conversation with my son and he said, ‘I thought he was going to manage forever!’ So, I can understand the impact and, as he said, the shock, and we’ll have the right time and the right opportunity, as Jürgen said, to look back and to talk about his career. Obviously the ride that we’ve been on has been extraordinary and certainly his success, leadership, who he is as a person and charisma, but the relationships – as he said – that have been created, the team that has been built here is obviously a massive credit to him and we’re all in a position… as I said, we want to get through today and then we want to focus on getting back to playing and getting back on the pitch and winning football matches. But in terms of his impact, obviously it’s been enormous and as a colleague it’s been an incredible last eight-plus years and as a supporter, as a fan, it’s been equally so we hope that that continues. As he said, we’ve got targets ahead of us and that’s where our focus is going to be.

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