Jamie Carragher laments 'cruel joke' Klopp exit & backs move for successor

Jamie Carragher admits he thought the news about Jurgen Klopp leaving Liverpool was a ‘cruel joke’ when he first heard it and the Anfield legend has urged the club to go after Xabi Alonso as a replacement. 

Klopp announced on Friday morning that he would be stepping down as Liverpool manager after close to nine full years in charge, citing fatigue as the main reason why he couldn’t go on. 

It was news which reverberated throughout the world of football with the manager and the club becoming so entwined since his appointment back in 2015. 

The German has led Liverpool to all the major honours throughout his time in charge at Anfield and has reestablished the Reds as one of the world’s greatest and most successful clubs. 

While Carragher has praised Klopp for the trophies he has won as Liverpool manager, and hailed him as the best manager in the world alongside Pep Guardiola, he believes it is just as important that the 56-year-old ‘changed people’s lives’.

“After seeing the news he is leaving at the end of the season, my heart sank. I genuinely thought it was some kind of hoax, or cruel joke,” Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column on Friday. 

“The biggest compliment is that he not only made the people happy, as the famous slogan on the Bill Shankly statue outside of the Kop reads, but he changed people’s lives, recreating the European glory nights synonymous with Anfield.

“The fact that Klopp was able to challenge for the top honours so consistently is what places him alongside Pep Guardiola as the best manager in the world.”

Liverpool as a club must now pick themselves up and move on with another managerial appointment and Carragher believes most Reds’ fans would have rather lost Mohamed Salah than their influential boss. 

“My concern is longer-term because, just like Dalglish and Shankly, Klopp will leave such a vacuum,” said Carrahger. 

“At the moment, Klopp is Liverpool. Nobody in world football thinks of one without the other. Finding the right man to lead Liverpool is as tough as it gets at any time. Replacing Klopp? All the best with that.

“Ask Liverpool fans if they’d rather Klopp was staying and the club was selling Mohamed Salah, and they would unanimously thank the footballer and wish him well in the future.

“It was like he was born to be the Liverpool manager.”

With Carragher’s former Liverpool team-mate Xabi Alonso earning the plaudits at Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, the ex-defender believes he is now the No.1 choice to step into Klopp’s shoes. 

“He ticks all the boxes as a former Liverpool player who knows the club and city, is adored by the fans and has already shown in the Bundesliga that he is one of the most exciting young coaches in the world,” said Carragher.

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