World Cup winner claims Liverpool have impossible task with Jurgen Klopp - but picks one favourite to succeed
The Liverpool boss is set to step down at the end of the season after eight years at the club and his exit will be the end of an era which has been one of the most successful in the club's history. Riedle witnessed first-hand as the long-serving global ambassador to the club just the level of impact that was felt when Klopp departed Germany. Adored by the Dortmund faithful, Klopp has always enjoyed a brilliant relationship with the fans from his time at Mainz to Dortmund and then Liverpool.
Speaking exclusively to The Athletic, Riedle, 58, revealed how emotional it was after Klopp's final game at Dortmund after seven years at the club, citing that the whole stadium was in tears at his exit. “We’re on our sixth coach since Jurgen left,” he explains.
“Dortmund fans still love him. He’s the best ever in the club’s history. Watch the videos when he said his goodbyes, in 2015. It was maybe one of the most emotional exits from a coach ever. There were a lot of tears – 80,000 people crying. I’m sure it will be the same here. He has a secret when it comes to connecting with people. He knows how to get people together. He’s won nearly all the titles there are to win and it’s also the fact that his team play spectacular football."
The early-frontrunner is former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso and he is someone that the 1990 World Cup winner is backing him to replace the irreplaceable Klopp. "You’re not going to find a double of Jurgen. It’s not easy, but Liverpool have time and I pray that they find the right decision.”
"Xabi is doing an incredible job,” Riedle adds. “I’ve never seen Leverkusen play like they are doing at the moment. He deserves a lot of credit. He’s changed the whole team around and made some very good signings. It fits completely [his style with Liverpool] I’d say Jurgen’s football is slightly different, but Xabi likes to attack, too. If you see them pressing in the opposition half, it’s really impressive.
“He has the eye, he has the desire, he knows Liverpool as a club and as a city. He’s a legend here — everyone knows and respects him. I don’t know what his plan is or what Liverpool will decide to do, but I think he would be a fantastic choice.”