By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool are looking to step up negotiations on a new contract to keep manager Jurgen Klopp at Anfield beyond 2024.
The PA news agency understands a new deal has been pushed up the agenda after Mike Gordon, president of owners Fenway Sports Group, flew in for the Champions League first leg victory over Villarreal which has put them within touching distance of a third final in five seasons.
It is believed the club have been encouraged by positive noises coming from Klopp’s camp and his agent Marc Kosicke was in the directors’ box, seated not that far away from Gordon, to watch the 2-0 win over their Spanish visitors.
Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015 and, after immediately leading the leading the club to League Cup and Europa League finals in his first season, signed an improved deal to 2022 at the end of that campaign.
A new four-and-a-half-year deal was agreed in 2019 but there is now hope he could extend his stay potentially for another four years.
Only last month Klopp, who guided Liverpool to a sixth European Cup triumph in 2019 and followed that up with a first league title in 30 years the following season, was asked about his contract.
“If I have the energy levels for it. That is important. I love what I do but I’ve said a couple of times there must be something else out there in the world,” he said at the time.
Leaving in 2024 after nine years would have represented Klopp’s longest stay at any club, having spent seven years each at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.
However, at his previous clubs the 54-year-old was continually having to get them to punch above their weight after constantly having his best players poached by bigger names.
The situation at Liverpool could not be more different, having assembled a squad the envy of Europe and playing the sort of football which has elevated them to one of the best sides in the world.
Under his guidance they have played in three European finals and two domestically, winning two (the 2019 Champions League and February’s Carabao Cup) but remain on track for an unprecedented quadruple this season.
Tying him down to a longer stay is pivotal to the club, and not just for his qualities as a manager.
While the majority of his squad are locked into long-term contracts he currently has a significant number who are approaching their final 12 months, including his original famed front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and midfielders Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Another sublime assist for the 🇪🇬 👑 tonight 😍
That’s now 14 for the season 🔥 pic.twitter.com/s50P2U8p9W
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 27, 2022
Their influential manager having, at the moment, just two years left will likely have influenced some of their thinking over what signing a new, long-term deal, likely the last big contract of their careers, could mean for them.
Having the security of Klopp, who has done so much to elevate many of his squad to world-class levels, on board for an extended period of time could prove to be a significant factor in their decision-making process.
Only last week Salah gave an interview in which he said “I think the fans know what I want, but in the contract it’s not everything about the money at all,” and has stressed on previous occasions he did not want paying “crazy stuff” but that he wanted to win the Premier League and Champions League again.
Klopp’s presence at the helm will also be a huge influence on potential new signings in the future.