Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager appreciates ’emotional’ reception but keen to avoid distraction

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Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp says he does not want “the old man on the sidelines” to become a distraction now that he has revealed he will be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season.

Klopp stunned the football world on Friday by announcing his impending departure, saying he is “running out of energy”.

And he appreciated the “emotional” reception afforded to him by Reds supporters prior to Sunday’s FA Cup victory over Norwich but hopes there will not now be too much focus on him.

The German’s team made light work of the Championship play-off hopefuls, booking their place in the fifth round with a 5-2 win on a day of heightened emotions at Anfield.

“I have to make sure I don’t get on that side of it,” Klopp, who has won six major trophies since his appointment over eight years ago, told BBC Match of the Day.

“I said the fans don’t have to [do anything special] because I know our relationship already. In games, we need to be warriors and not celebrate the old man on the sidelines.

“This was the first match after the news – 1706523099 we can get used to it.”

Goals from Curtis Jones, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Ryan Gravenberch ensured victory for the Premier League leaders, who are also in the final of the Carabao Cup and the last 16 of the Europa League.

Captain Van Dijk says “nothing has changed” within the Liverpool squad since Klopp’s announcement, but adds it has given the players extra incentive to “make more memories” this season.

“Today was always going to be a bit different,” said the Dutchman. “It was the first time that the manager was back in the stadium seeing all of the fans.

“The manager is here until the summer. We have to deal with the noise. It’s my job as captain to make sure it doesn’t reach our players.

“We have been through so much together and I’m grateful for everything he has done for me, my family and my career. Why not end on a high?”

‘Fans will want to do their utmost’

Speaking to ITV before kick-off, former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler said Reds supporters will want to give Klopp a fitting send-off, given his achievements since his arrival in October 2015.

“He will be a huge miss, not just to this country but to football,” he said. “The fans will want to do their utmost.

“Jurgen came in and the team has progressed every single year to where they are now – the youth and younger players in this squad are incredible.

“We all want them to win the Premier League [this season], and a Europa League final in Dublin would be the icing on the cake.”

Klopp’s team, beaten 3-1 by Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final, will discover their last-16 opponents on 23 February, with this year’s showpiece being held in the Irish capital on 22 May.

They face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium on 25 February.

A young fan brandishes a banner during Liverpool’s FA Cup victory over Norwich

There were plenty more banners on display in the Kop End, including one displaying all major trophies won by the club during Klopp’s tenure

Klopp gestures to the home supporters, who gave the German a rousing reception as he followed his players out of the Anfield tunnel prior to kick-off

The chants continued long after the German had taken his seat in the Liverpool dugout

Before the game, fans were pictured taking photographs in front of the Jurgen Klopp mural near Anfield

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