Jurgen Klopp does not exactly have the rest of his managerial career mapped out but he can visualise its ending.
“When it is time, hopefully I am still healthy and I can say … ‘great, I loved it but now I would like to watch other people doing it’.
“So, I hope I find this inner mood to say … ‘see you later, I wish you all the best, best of luck, love you all but don’t call because of any football matters.
“That’s the plan.”
It is all said to that familiar soundtrack of infectious laughter but Klopp’s journey to the summit of his unforgiving profession will take some sort of toll eventually.
There was no privileged pathway.
He explains: “When I was a professional football player, I studied at university.
“I had a really busy life. I was a young father. I got up really early, took care of my wife – my former wife – who was also working at that time, took care of my little boy.
“Then I went to university and from university, I went to training and then I had a job at night in a bar.
“I finished at university, became a sports scientist and started doing other training programmes, thinking what I could do after my playing career because the money we earned was not enough.
“Then I became a manager and it was the most busy time of my life because the jobs that would now be done by 25 people, I did them myself. I was the analyst, I was the scouting department, I was everything.
“Then, I went to Dortmund and gave a lot of the jobs to assistant but I had to do the public things and the other stuff. And now, of course, incredibly busy at Liverpool.
“I love it but what I want say is that I will not miss that.”
Liverpool’s first home game after the restart was against Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson, who turns 73 next month.
“I don’t see me doing that at that age,” Klopp says. “When I became a manager [aged 33], I thought … ‘right, now 25 power years start.
“I was seven and a half years at Mainz, seven at Dortmund and in 2024 (when his current contract at Liverpool ends) it will be 23 and half.
“I have no plans beyond that.”
Talk to Klopp for any length of time and, repeatedly, it becomes clear any plans beyond that are extremely unlikely to include another club job, his bond with Liverpool Football Club and its fans having become so remarkably strong.
He says: “I know King Kenny and I would have loved to have met and talked with Bill (Shankly) and Bob (Paisley) but the thing the four of us have in common is that we love football … and everyone in Liverpool loves football.
“Maybe not everyone loves LFC but even if you love the other guys, you can love football.
“I’ll say it again – it is amazing how much football means to the people of Liverpool.
“I accept there are more important things in life. Of all the nice things that are not important, I like football the most and that is why I have always wanted to be in it.
“I love the game so much which is why I had this affection for Liverpool. And when it came up, it was an easy decision.
“I was hoping the people would be really open for a new guy and I was really open for a new challenge and a new club.
“And from day one, it clicked.
“The passion the people have for this club is exceptional. The way they went through the darkest moments possible – how they deal with it but don’t forget it – is exceptional.
“I am sure that is why the status of the manager at this club is different to other clubs.
“I had no idea about that before I came here. People told me about it and I said … ‘yeah, we will see’.
“And that’s the way it is.”
Such is Klopp’s messianic profile and global fame, the only slight downside is he cannot enjoy life’s routine social pleasures.
“Not being able to live a normal life is the shadow part,” he says. ‘I don’t like it but I have to accept it … (because) my life is too good.
“I am 53, I am healthy, I work for the best club in the world, I earn really a lot of money.
“Life is not perfect but it’s not for anybody so why should it be for me?”
And his own ‘normality’ is a theme Klopp returns to. In just under five years, he has become an all-time Liverpool great but returns to the theme of that first Anfield press conference.
“I am still the normal one,” he says and then spells it out. “I. Am. Not. Special.
“I have a few skills and, luckily, they are needed in football, which is something I really love.
“But that’s all. I am not special. I am not fishing for compliments.
“I think I am a good guy, I think I am a nice guy. That sounds boring but it is the truth.”
Jurgen Klopp, anything but boring.
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