Person familiar with situation says Juergen Klopp headed to Liverpool to become manager

LONDON — Juergen Klopp is headed to Liverpool to take over as manager of the Premier League club, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Klopp has not yet signed a contract.

Liverpool has called a news conference for Friday morning. Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday following an 18-month slump since nearly winning the Premier League title in 2014.

Klopp, one of the most respected and charismatic coaches in Europe, left Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season after guiding the club to two German league titles and a Champions League final.

His first match in charge of Liverpool will be against Tottenham on Oct. 17.

Liverpool is 10th in the league and in a rebuilding phase after the departures of striker Luis Suarez, iconic midfielder Steven Gerrard and young star Raheem Sterling over the last two seasons.

It will be the 48-year-old Klopp’s first job outside Germany, where he made his name as an extrovert, a maverick and an innovative coach — particularly in a seven-year stint at Dortmund. His philosophy is a high-octane, hard-running style that suffocates opponents, similar to the approach Rodgers desired and had success with in the 2013-14 season when Liverpool almost ended its wait for a first championship since 1990.

Bespectacled, never short of a quip and exuding passion on the touchline, Klopp is one of European soccer’s big personalities and was a fan favourite at Mainz — where he started his coaching career in 2001 — and then Dortmund.

Klopp took over at Dortmund in 2008, with the team having finished 13th in the Bundesliga the previous season. He won the league in 2011 and 2012 and reached the Champions League final in 2013, but his energy-sapping approach had taken its toll on the squad by the time he quit in May. As, in part, had the loss of star players including Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze over consecutive offseasons.

Klopp is taking charge of a similar club to Dortmund — with its working-class roots, strong heritage and passionate fan base — and many believe the German is a perfect fit at Liverpool. His task is to close the gap on the big four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, and get the team back in the Champions League.

Liverpool is one of the most successful teams in England with 18 league titles and five European Cups.

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AP Sports Writer Steve Douglas in Newcastle contributed to this report.

Rob Harris, The Associated Press

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