'A great, massive and successful journey' – Peter Krawietz bids a fond farewell to Liverpool

Interview'A great, massive and successful journey' – Peter Krawietz bids a fond farewell to Liverpool

By Sam Williams


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Pride, honour and privilege are the feelings at the forefront of Peter Krawietz’s mind as he says goodbye to Liverpool.

The assistant manager has stepped down from his position after a glorious near-nine-year stint as a senior member of Jürgen Klopp’s coaching staff at Anfield.

As one of Klopp’s closest confidants throughout his managerial career, Krawietz played a major supporting role throughout a golden era in the club’s history, with the Reds winning eight trophies after their arrival in October 2015.

Naturally, then, their departure has left Krawietz with mixed emotions, though he is certain that the correct decision has been made.

“Of course it feels strange to be leaving,” he tells Liverpoolfc.com during a reflective chat at the AXA Training Centre.

“There are two ways you feel. One, you have to make a decision at one point and we made this decision and we think, I think, it was the right decision.

“So, that means there are reasons for your decision: if you don’t feel anymore the right energy, the right focus, the right conviction, if things have a certain development and you come to this decision, it means that you know it’s right. So, that is one part of the feelings.

“The other part is, of course, that you look back at the journey. You start thinking about how it was when you came in, what could we achieve, how was the journey, how intense was it?

“You think about the whole development of the club – the stadium, the training ground, when we came in we were at Melwood – the development of the players and of our relationships.

“With all this there is only one conclusion: that it was a great, massive and successful journey and this comes to an end now. So, the feeling is strange because it was a big part of my personal life as well.

“I lived here with my family, of course, and our boys came here when they were eight and six years old, so that is part of the feelings as well.

“But the summary is that it was great, a massive experience. I learned a lot, there were a lot of fantastic moments and now it’s time to say goodbye. There are a lot of things which will stay forever in my heart and my mind. So, it’s cool – but also a bit painful, of course.”

Krawietz and Klopp at Melwood shortly after their arrival in 2015
Krawietz and Klopp at Melwood shortly after their arrival in 2015

As Krawietz alludes to, plenty of change has occurred since Klopp took charge and, when asked to cast his mind back to recall his expectations upon their arrival, he replies: “I remember there were two things.

“Point one is that we have our idea of football and we wanted to bring this idea and use it, but at the same time we came here to learn – so, learning about English football, learning about this club, learning about the circumstances of working in England.

“Let’s say we were open to making new experiences but at the same time we had our idea of football and tried to find the best way. Then we knew we would be successful if we can put these things together.

“We knew as well that we needed a bit of patience and a bit of time, which you never have in professional football because everybody is expecting that you succeed immediately, which is just not possible, of course.

“But we believed in our idea and this is what we tried to bring here and this is, in the end, more or less what happened then to develop the squad, to develop the team, to develop the club and to develop our football.

“Yes, we have an idea about our kind of football but at the same time we are ready to learn new things and to develop. It’s not fixed and we wanted to be open for new things that we have to add on.

“But all this was with the clear idea that we want to win trophies. We wanted to win the Premier League, we wanted to win the Champions League, and we knew – and this is what we felt pretty quickly – that it will be possible.

“Not easy, because it is never easy, but we knew it would be possible and that gave us energy and everything we needed to go in that direction.”

Mission accomplished: Champions League glory in 2019
Mission accomplished: Champions League glory in 2019

Klopp and his trusted team always believed they could achieve the incredible success that materialised, then?

“Yes, of course,” comes Krawietz’s unequivocal response.

“We had won titles with Borussia Dortmund already and we wanted to bring this to the next level. That was the idea of leaving Germany as well: to make new experiences and to show it was possible.

“So, for ourselves, of course as well for a club and for a team, we knew it was possible but there are a few obstacles in the way. This is clear as well and then of course you have to prove it, you have to do it.

“Thinking it is possible is one thing but to go and do it, to really do it, is different. This was the idea and it worked out thanks to the brilliant players and characters we met here, or we brought in.”

First Europe, then the world: FIFA Club World Cup champions
First Europe, then the world: FIFA Club World Cup champions

Liverpool scaled almost-unimaginable heights during Klopp’s reign, with the haul of silverware including the Premier League, Champions League and, for the first time in the club’s history, the FIFA Club World Cup.

“In the end, winning trophies is all about focus and conviction,” Krawietz explains.

“This is what we have to create as coaches and managers. This is the feeling you need around your team: this is what you are working for and I don’t mean only the 90 minutes on the pitch, I mean that these guys here have to learn to live a life as professional football players.

“This means they need to know exactly when to sleep, when to train, when to eat, how to behave to bring themselves in the best shape possible for matches.

“They have to learn what is necessary to perform and deliver peak performances and everything else, everything that could disturb you, you have to keep small. That means focusing is key for everything – and this is what I learned about what is necessary to win trophies.”

Klopp and his staff have left Liverpool having returned the club to Champions League qualification in their final season, during which the Reds also won the Carabao Cup and reached the quarter-finals of both the Europa League and Emirates FA Cup.

The playing squad underwent a significant refresh last summer, too, and Krawietz says that the coaching team felt duty-bound to depart only when they had overseen an improvement on the 2022-23 campaign.

“We had a bad season then and our clear idea was: ‘OK, we can do better, we have to do better, we cannot leave it like that,’ and the idea was to play a much better season, get it going in the right direction again and then see how we feel then,” he states.

“This worked out and it’s a privilege to leave that way, so it doesn’t happen when you think that it’s just really right for yourself. If you take responsibility to make a decision like that, yes you have your personal reasons but as a manager, as an assistant manager, as a coach, you always should think about the situation of the club as well.

“Now we feel it is the right moment, especially because we are in a good moment. We have a fantastic team – and it hurts, of course, as well to leave this fantastic squad and club – but like I said before, it feels right, it is right, we know it’s right and that target is fulfilled.

“We leave the club in a good moment and we used the time we had here to squeeze out each per cent. We gave our best and it was a great time.

“Yes, I’m proud of course but at the same time I feel privileged. It was an honour to work here for this club, for and with these players and for these fantastic supporters. That is everything I can say.”

Saying goodbye at Anfield

The final question pitched to Krawietz is centred around what Liverpool, both club and city, mean to him now.

He takes a few moments to think before beginning a considered answer.

“Over a career of 46 years in football, as a player, a non-professional player, I played for two clubs and in my professional career as a coach I have worked for three clubs. So, this means my identification with the club where I am is a very, very big thing – the most decisive thing,” he concludes.

“Where I am, I want to be because I am convinced it is right to be here, so to think about the targets of the club, not about my personal targets. What I want, in the end, is to win, but at the same time as wanting to be successful you have to think always about what is realistic and what is the situation.

“You cannot talk about winning trophies if your team is not right, or if the situation is too difficult it won’t work and you have to make smaller steps to succeed and go forward.

“How can I say it? Liverpool became kind of home, a football home. I felt and I learned about this club – about English football in general but especially about this club, about the history.

“I saw and I felt in a lot of moments what it means for the people: how important it is, how important football is, how important the way the team is performing is, how important it is for the people in the town and this creates, of course, a big, massive relationship and feeling of togetherness and this is what I want to keep.

“So, I leave this club as an assistant manager but for sure I will be a big Liverpool supporter and not with the feeling: ‘In past times we did this or that differently or better.’ Not at all.

“I only wish the best for this club, while crossing my fingers and biting my fingernails! It’s going to be exciting.

“There is only one club for me in England and this is Liverpool Football Club. This is what it means.”

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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.