Some absolutely huge breaking news to bring you: Liverpool have announced that Jürgen Klopp will step down as manager at the end of the season.
Lee Carsley is set to stay in charge of England’s Under-21 side and turn down an approach to become the manager of the Republic of Ireland men’s team. Ireland are looking for a new head coach following the departure of Stephen Kenny and they have looked at Carsley, who represented them as a player.
However it is understood that the former Everton midfielder wants to stay in his current job. Carsley led the U21s to glory at last summer’s Euros and staying within the St George’s Park set-up would make him a candidate to replace Gareth Southgate when an opening to take over England’s senior team eventually appears.
Southgate’s contract runs until December. He signed a new deal after the last World Cup, having considered walking away at the end of the tournament, and it remains to be seen if he decides to stay on after Euro 2024 this summer.
The early contenders to replace Klopp, according to the bookies at least, include Xabi Alonso, Roberto De Zerbi, Julian Nagelsmann and Zinedine Zidane. But Paul Devine has another idea …
“Arne Slot, the Feyenoord head coach, would be a perfect match. Slot and Klopp have similar football philosophies: building up from the back, possession, high levels of fitness, speed when counterattacking and patience in laying siege to the opponents’ penalty box.”
Slot won the Dutch title with Feyenoord last season, and was linked with the Tottenham job before Ange Postecoglou was appointed.
We mentioned him earlier, but Jörg Schmadtke won’t be playing any part in Liverpool’s succession plan. Liverpool have just announced that he will leave the club after the January transfer window.
“We would like to place on record our gratitude to Jörg for the important role he has played since joining Liverpool last summer,” said FSG president Mike Gordon.
“He has made a valuable contribution, both in terms of the support he provided to Jürgen Klopp and the assistance and guidance given to our outstanding football operations department.”
Crystal Palace look set to sign Daniel Muñoz from Genk after agreeing to pay an £8.5m fee for the Colombia right-back. The 27-year-old had missed training in an effort to force through his move to Selhurst Park and is now expected to travel to London to complete his move.
Talks are continuing with Blackburn over a deal for Adam Wharton after Palace’s £18.5m bid for the 19-year-old was rejected. The Championship side are thought to want closer to £25m for the England Under-20 midfielder.
“You have to think that Klopp would have told the players about his decision to leave a few weeks ago or more,” writes Rob Vile. “Do you think the news might have galvanised them and played a part in their uptick in form, as they want to send Klopp out on a high and with another trophy or two?”
I haven’t seen any immediate reaction from the players, and I would imagine your theory here is correct, Rob. I keep thinking of the fact that Klopp’s only title win was sealed in an empty stadium; surely everyone at Anfield will be desperate to put that right this season.
“I am absolutely not okay. I can only hope that Klopp takes a break from football because it will genuinely hurt to see him managing another team any time soon, silly as that may sound,” writes Sam Trenery. “It’s hard to even think of a replacement. Xabi looks like a great choice but it’s almost like being asked to pick your new dad!”
This was once, many moons ago, a transfer news blog – so let’s update you on a new arrival at Rangers. Ivorian midfielder Mohamed Diomandé has arrived from Nordsjælland on loan, with an obligatory purchase clause in the summer.
“I am very excited to join such a historic club and I’ve heard a lot of good things about the team,” Diomandé said. “I really can’t wait to get started, join up with my teammates, and run out at Ibrox for the very first time in front of the Rangers fans.”
Diomandé is Philippe Clement’s second signing of the January window after the arrival of Fábio Silva on loan from Wolves.
“Never mind the German national team!” roars David Hopkins. “I hope and expect that the English FA briefly awoke this morning, after sleeping off their full English with kippers, and booked time to give Jürgen a call.”
“Assuming that Gareth Southgate will move on after the Euros, who better to harness the new generation of Jude Bellingham et al along with the later Harry Kane years?” I like your thinking, but if Klopp is weary of the grind and pressure of management, the England job might be the last thing he needs.
“I’m absolutely shocked,” writes Stephen Carr (presumably not the former Spurs full-back). “My cousin just announced his engagement on the family WhatsApp group and its fair to say his news has been somewhat overshadowed.” Ouch! Bad timing.
“Liverpool have to get Xabi Alonso in,” Stephen adds. “You can’t just be a good manager here. It requires an emotional connection. Klopp developed that brilliantly and Xabi has it already.”
Jan Egil Romestrand, who sounds like he could have played for Liverpool in the mid-90s, is worried about the boardroom situation.
“Klopp and his entire staff are leaving, with Jörg Schmadtke only an interim sporting director. An announcement that Michael Edwards is returning to sort things out would be hugely comforting right now.”
“In terms of the name game for the main gig, Xabi Alonso is the one to target. If he can’t or won’t, it opens up quite a bit. Maybe Roberto de Zerbi?”
From the archive, here’s Andy Hunter on the day Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, promising “emotional football” and trophies within four years.
“It is the intensity of the football, of how the people live football in Liverpool, all the Liverpool fans around the world,” Klopp said at his unveiling. “It is not a normal club, it is a special club. I had two very special clubs with Mainz and Dortmund. It is the perfect next step for me to be here and try and help.”
“The news of Jürgen Klopp leaving Liverpool, even though I’m not a Liverpool fan left me quite emotional,” writes Sola Odarinde. “His teams and his personality have been an absolute joy to the Premier League, and he will be missed. But like Matt Dony said, I hope they are reaching out to the guy at Leverkusen …”
You can now watch Jürgen Klopp’s video message at the top of the page – hit refresh if you can’t see anything yet.
So, questions. Where does the German rank among Liverpool’s best managers? How about among the best managers in the English top flight as a whole? In the Premier League era, you could argue there’s a clear top five, and he belongs in it alongside Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho and Guardiola.
Also: what will Klopp do next? There are projects waiting for him at Bayern Munich and with the Germany national team – but maybe a break is in order first. Finally: who might replace him at Anfield? Xabi Alonso? Ange Postecoglou? Roy Hodgson? Drop me a line with your thoughts.
Some more quotes from Klopp on his decision to call time at the end of the season: “(When) a season starts, you plan pretty much the next season already. When we sat there together talking about potential signings (and) the next summer camp, I thought: ‘I’m not sure I’m here then anymore’ and I was surprised myself by that. I obviously start thinking about it.
“Last season was kind of a super-difficult season and there were moments when at other clubs probably the decision would have been, ‘we should end it here’. That didn’t happen here, obviously, (but) for me it was super, super, super-important that I can help to bring this team back onto the rails. It was all I was thinking about.
“Let’s now really go for it. The outside world want to use this decision, laugh about it, want to disturb us,” he said. “We are Liverpool, we went through harder things together. And you went through harder things before me. Let’s make a strength of it. That would be really cool. Let’s squeeze everything out of this season and have another thing to smile about when we look back in the future.”
Currently trending on Twitter: #FSGOut, Nagelsmann, Big Ange and Steve Bruce …
“Klopp will go down as Liverpool’s second best manager,” writes Kev McCready, inviting all kinds of cheap gags. “He got Liverpool – both the team and the city – as much as we got him. He’ll be missed, but the club is always bigger than one component.”
Meanwhile, Matt Dony is heartbroken, but also wondering what comes next. “Someone had better be on the phone to Leverkusen,” he sniffs.
Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, replacing Brendan Rodgers and leading the team to the League Cup and Europa League finals that season – losing to Manchester City and Sevilla respectively. He then took the club back into the Champions League in 2017-18 and led them all the way to the final, where they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kyiv.
In 2018-19, Liverpool finished second to City in the title race with 97 points and won their sixth European Cup after overturning a three-goal deficit against Barcelona in the semi-final and then beating Spurs 2-0 in the Madrid final. In the following season, Klopp added the European Super Cup and Club World Cup, before a runaway title bid was paused by the Covid-19 pandemic and shutdown.
When the season resumed behind closed doors, Liverpool secured their first title since 1990, ending the season with 99 points. In 2021-22, Liverpool finished second to City again, this time on 92 points, and completed an FA Cup and League Cup double, beating Chelsea in both finals.
After finishing fifth last season, Klopp’s resurgent side are currently top of the table and in contention for a quadruple of trophies. They have reached the Carabao Cup final and are still in the hunt for the FA Cup and Europa League – and also won the first Community Shield of the Klopp era last August, against old rivals City.
Liverpool have also confirmed that Klopp’s assistants, Pep Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, will leave at the end of the season along with the club’s elite development coach, Vitor Matos. I have to say, I would have had Lijnders down as a potential replacement for Klopp to take things forward.
Here’s a video message from Klopp, which will probably be quite an emotional watch for you Liverpool fans out there.
Klopp held a press conference on Thursday and offered no hint of today’s big news, instead discussing the psychology of penalty shootouts and playing down some very early talk of a quadruple.
“I didn’t think about it, because we are far off having four finals,” he said. “We qualified for one. But we learned that year it makes no sense to plan the next one if you didn’t even play the first one.”
More on Jürgen Klopp’s shock decision to leave Liverpool this summer, two years before the end of his contract, from Andy Hunter.
Klopp says he had told the owners in November of his intention to leave. “I can understand that it’s a shock for a lot of people in this moment, when you hear it for the first time, but obviously I can explain it – or at least try to explain it,” Klopp said.
“I love absolutely everything about this club, I love everything about the city, I love everything about our supporters, I love the team, I love the staff. I love everything. But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take.
“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy. I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.
“After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth.”
Some absolutely huge breaking news to bring you: Liverpool have announced that Jürgen Klopp will step down as manager at the end of the season.
Eddie Howe has continued a candid press conference with his thoughts on FFP/PSR rules, and the future of Joelinton at the club.
“It has been a difficult window so far, as you can imagine for us,” he said. “It’s the first time since I’ve been manager of the club that we’ve been linked with players leaving and that creates an unsettling dynamic.
Howe described Joelinton’s long-term injury as “a massive blow” and accepted the Brazilian, who has 18 months left on his contract, could depart in the summer. “It’s a possibility (he could leave) but I hope that’s not the case. I want him to stay.”
On potential new arrivals: “Things are changing on a daily basis. We’re working behind the scenes on targets. But there’s no guarantee it will happen. It’s my end to try and leave the window with the strongest squad possible.”
Howe has also moved to cool speculation that any other players could leave Newcastle before deadline day, saying he wants to “keep our best players” with Miguel Almirón and Callum Wilson linked with moves in January.
“For us and for me sat here now, I want to keep our best players. I want to keep every player in a squad that is very thin on the ground at the moment, so contemplating losing a player at this stage would be very difficult for me personally.”
On Almirón, Howe added: “There has been a lot of noise and speculation about his future, but as his manager I’m desperate to keep him.”
On Wilson, he said: “It’s been a strange one. A lot of speculation and a lot of it unfounded … In every conversation, he’s 100% committed. No part of him is looking elsewhere.
“He’s got big ambitions and we want to keep him here. But some things are out of our control. The club is acting with the long-term interests of the club and they have to. Let’s see what happens.”
Eddie Howe is confident Kieran Trippier will not leave Newcastle this month, after Bayern Munich saw three bids rejected this week and then cooled their interest.
“His situation is finished as far as everyone is concerned: Kieran, myself,” the Newcastle manager said. “But I’ve just been in football long enough to never ever say 100% because I don’t want to look stupid.
But Kieran is 100% committed and we definitely want to keep him. It’s a huge compliment that a club like Bayern are interested in (Trippier). It’s no surprise to me because he’s an outstanding player.”
Another done deal! Aston Villa midfielder Leander Dendoncker has joined Napoli on loan for the rest of the season. The Belgian is the fourth new recruit for the defending Serie A champions this month as they bid to turn their season around, and they are expected to add Udinese defender Nehuén Pérez later today.
Dendoncker has made 15 appearances for Villa this season, with his only goal coming at Old Trafford in the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United. having joined from Wolves in 2022. According to Fabrizio Romano, Napoli have also agreed a €9m summer purchase option for the 28-year-old.
Catch up on this morning’s hottest gossip, with John Brewin.
Here’s more on Phillips’ arrival and West Ham’s other transfer plans – with Pablo Fornals one potential departure as David Moyes looks to add another winger.
Let’s jump straight in with a done deal – Kalvin Phillips has joined West Ham on loan until the end of the season from Manchester City.
“I’m really pleased to be here,” Phillips said after completing a move, albeit with no purchase option in place yet. “There’s so much to look forward to in the second half of the season for the club and I can’t wait to be part of it.
“There’s an unbelievable group here and if I can come in and add the quality that I know I’m capable of, I’m sure we can give the West Ham fans plenty to be excited about between now and the end of the season.”
The West Ham manager David Moyes said: “We are really pleased to bring a player of Kalvin’s quality to West Ham United. We’ve been big admirers of him for a long time and we believe that he will add strength and competition to our squad.”
Phillips joined City from Leeds United two summers ago for £42m but has never established himself. On Thursday, Pep Guardiola said: “Hopefully he can play the minutes he deserves and I couldn’t give to him. He’s an exceptional human being and football player … hopefully he can prove what he really is.”
As Joey Tempest once sang, it’s the final countdown. There are seven days to go in the transfer window and with purse strings finally loosening in a few boardrooms, things are about to get wild. Or at least, very interesting. Mildly interesting.
One player who could be on the move is Callum Wilson, valued at £18m and coveted by no fewer than four Premier League clubs – West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. What will Eddie Howe have to say about that? We’ll find out later on.
We will also check in with Jürgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag, one of whom could probably use about £100m in the next week or so. We’ll keep you updated on EFL and European deals, and also take a peek at Mohamed Salah’s hamstring, if time allows.