Man Utd and Arsenal trend hints Jurgen Klopp is leaving a poisoned chalice | Football

Has Jurgen Klopp just handed Liverpool a poisoned chalice? (Picture: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp’s time at Liverpool delivered the club some of their highest highs in modern times – but history suggests his shock departure could lead to new lows.

Klopp joined Liverpool in 2015. His nine years at the club is one of the longest stints in recent Premier League history, bettered only by Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27 years at Manchester United, Arsène Wegner’s 22 years at Arsenal and David Moyes’ 11 years at Everton.

In Klopp’s first season, the team lost in the finals of the League Cup and the Europa League, but bigger prizes were to follow. Year-on-year progress saw the club reach two consecutive Champions League finals, claiming the trophy in the 2018-19 season, before getting their hands on their first Premier League the following year.

It’s rare for managers to be at one club for as long as Klopp has been – and it’s even rarer that a club is able to maintain its success in the short-term after a long-standing manager leaves.

Jurgen Klopp holds the Champions League trophy as he celebrates with Liverpool players.

Klopp celebrates with the Champions League trophy in 2019 (Picture: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Michael Owen has tipped former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso to take on the role, while the likes of Roberto De Zerbi, Julian Nagelsmann, Zinedine Zidane and Steven Gerrard have also had their names thrown into the mix.

Noises from inside the Liverpool changing room since Klopp’s bombshell announcement has only served to add to fan’s fears of an uncertain future. When asked if he could imagine staying at the club, captain Virgil Van Dijk said: ‘That’s a big question. Well, I don’t know.’

‘The club will have a big job on their hands. That is well known. To replace the manager and replace not only the manager, the staff is leaving, and there are so many things that will change.’

‘So the club has a big job on its hands and I am very curious which direction that will go in.’

Although he has since moved to clarify the comments, what the future holds for Liverpool remains uncertain. Klopp’s coaching staff will be departing with him, as will sporting director Jorg Schmadtke.

The departure of previous successful managers from Premier League giants suggests Liverpool have a big job on their hands to avoid an immediate slump.

Ferguson’s shadow looms large

Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27 years at Manchester United will go down in history.

After joining in 1986, he guided the club to second place in the 1987-86 league. After a bumpy couple of years, the team narrowly beat Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup final – and the floodgates opened.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (right) and goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel celebrate with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Newcastle United

Ferguson won an incredible 38 trophies at United (Picture: Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Under Ferguson’s leadership, the club won 13 league titles and became the first team to win ‘the treble’ – the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in the same season.

But when Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, few would have expected United not to have got their hands on another league title for more than a decade – and the wait goes on.

Everton manager David Moyes was drafted in to take on the role. However, Moyes was sacked when the team failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 1995-96, lasting less than a year into his six-year contract.

Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United watches from the directors’ box during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Luton Town at Old Trafford on November 11, 2023 in Manchester, England.

Nowadays, Ferguson is a regular spectator (Picture: Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ryan Giggs became interim manager, and Louis van Gaal took over in May 2014, with Giggs as his assistant.

They won a 12th FA Cup, but it wasn’t enough. When the team finished fifth in the league, van Gaal was sacked and replaced by José Mourinho in 2016. The club had some success under the Special One, but he was sacked in December 2018 with United trailing behind their rivals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick came and went before Erik ten Hag was appointed to the role in 2021.

Erik ten Hag, Manager of Manchester United, looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Newport County and Manchester United at Rodney Parade on January 28, 2024 in Newport, Wales.

Erik ten Hag has yet to restore the club to its former heights (Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

While ten Hag had some success there have also been extreme lows, including a 7-0 loss at bitter rivals Liverpool.

United currently sit 9th in the league table and look no closer to emulating the success of Ferguson 11 years after his departure.

Arsenal‘s long road back

French manager Arsène Wenger joined Arsenal in 1996. He overhauled the club, introducing new tactics and fitness routines. The revamp paid off: in eight out of his first nine seasons at the club, Arsenal finished in either first or second place in the league.

Under his leadership, The Gunners won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and remain the only side to have ever finished a Premier League season unbeaten.

Arsene Wenger

Wenger steered Arsenal through the historic ‘Invincibles’ season (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Wenger left in May 2018, after becoming the longest-serving manager in the club’s history. The club won 716 times under his leadership.

He was replaced by Unai Emery, who was named as head coach. Emery was dismissed in 2019 after Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League.

Aston Villa's head coach Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s time at Arsenal was short, and he now manages Aston Villa(Picture: AP)

Freddie Ljungberg was appointed as an interim head coach, before Mikel Arteta, a former club captain, became manager in December 2019.

In 2020-21 the club failed to qualify for a European competition for the first time in 26 years, but last season sparked promising signs for supporters. They topped the table for much of the Premier League season – eventually finishing second – and qualified for the Champions League following a six-year absence.

The club have not won a Premier League title since the 2003-04 season but have found more recent success in the FA Cup.

Chop and change at Chelsea

Portuguese manager José Mourinho first joined Chelsea in 2004, which was owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich at the time.

Mourinho’s time at Chelsea is short in comparison to Ferguson and Wegner, but his impact was huge.

Jose Mourinho while managing AS Roma

José Mourinho has now managed Chelsea twice (Picture: Ivan Romano/Getty Images)

Under his management, Chelsea won its first Premier League title, much like Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.

Mourinho retained the league title the following year, and also won an FA Cup and two League Cups during his first spell in charge.

Since Mourinho’s first stint at Chelsea ended in 2007, there have been an astonishing 19 appointments in the head role (including Mourinho again) – although some only on a caretaker basis.

However, the conveyor belt of change hasn’t come without success. Three more Premier League titles have been added alongside two Champions League trophies – the second as recent as 2021.

This eclipses the success of Manchester United and Arsenal in the same period, with both sides having failed to win the top two club prizes available since Ferguson and Wenger departed.


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