Jurgen Klopp said Friday he signed a contract extension keeping him at Liverpool until 2024 to project an image of security and stability for future potential transfer targets.
Klopp, who became Liverpool manager in 2015, guided them to Champions League glory in June and they are currently eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
The German’s previous deal was due to expire in 2022 and while he said extending it was not a priority for him, he felt it could be a key factor when it came to persuading new recruits to join.
If he sees out the contract he would be the club’s longest-serving manager since Bob Paisley.
“The club was asking for a while already if we could talk about an extension and I thought it makes sense before things are getting a bit intense — not now, I was completely calm — but maybe in the summer we would have started again,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference.
“With new players when you want to bring them in they ask ‘How long is the manager going to be here?’ We all wanted to avoid that so it’s done and I am really happy about that.
“I thought it was positive and good that people know I will be here a bit longer. It gives us stability.”
Klopp, 52, striving to win Liverpool’s first top-flight title for 30 years, has revolutionised the club’s fortunes since his arrival at Anfield and said they were in a “good place”.
“Four-and-a-half years from now sounds like forever in football,” he said. “It would be then nine years, the longest spell I’ve ever been at a club.
“It was not too bad till now but we don’t feel that it could not be better, so let’s try to make the best time of our lives. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey.”
– Liverpool ‘powerhouse’ –
A statement from owners the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) said Liverpool had taken “giant strides in re-establishing themselves as one of world football’s powerhouses” under the German.
During Klopp’s first campaign at Anfield, Liverpool reached the finals of both the League Cup and Europa League but ended the season empty-handed.
They lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final but regrouped and became European champions for a sixth time after a 2-0 win against Tottenham in Madrid this year.
Liverpool lost just one match in the Premier League last season, racking up 97 points — the best total in the club’s history — but missed out on the title by a solitary point to Manchester City.
So far this season, Klopp has overseen Liverpool’s surge to the top of the Premier League, where they currently sit eight points clear after 15 wins from their opening 16 matches.
Liverpool, who host bottom club Watford on Saturday, are chasing their first English top-flight title since 1990, and their 19th overall.
They reached the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 2-0 win against Salzburg on Tuesday and will play in the Club World Cup in Qatar later this month.
Klopp, who won two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund, is reportedly close to signing Red Bull Salzburg playmaker Takumi Minamino for a bargain £7.25 million ($9.7 million) but would not be drawn on the impending January arrival of the Japan international.
“A very good player, I can say that, but I saw a few very good players on the Salzburg team, much more than I wanted,” he said, before giving the game away by telling a Japanese journalist: “Maybe we will see you more often now.”
Hours after details of Klopp’s new deal emerged, Liverpool announced that veteran midfielder James Milner had also signed a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2022.
The 33-year-old joined from Manchester City on a free transfer in the summer of 2015.
“Obviously the gaffer waited to sign his dependent on whether I signed mine, so that makes me a feel bit more important,” Milner joked to liverpoolfc.com.