Coutinho, Gotze, Wijnaldum, Mane next? 9 players that flopped after leaving Klopp

Klopp, Gotze, Coutinho, Can

Over the years, many players have left clubs under Jurgen Klopp’s guidance with big ambitions in the world of football, however it’s not always turned out well for them after leaving.

Klopp has a special ability to get the best from his players, he is in essence, the ultimate man manager.

Take someone like Mohamed Salah. He’s one of the finest players of his generation. Although, maybe he shouldn’t be if you were to assess him on raw talent.

Sure, he was a good European player at Roma. But many would argue that Klopp’s influence and how Salah fits into the Liverpool system is what has made him so great – and that’s not to take anything away from Salah, it’s just to highlight the way Klopp can elevate player’s ceilings.

The German is undoubtedly one of the best coaches we’ve ever seen grace the game, so it’s no surprise that when players leave they often endure a bit of a slump without his guiding hand at their side.

With that in mind then, and Mane’s departure supposedly on the horizon, PlanetFootball had the clever little idea of listing nine players that struggled with Klopp no longer at their side.

Nine players that flopped without Klopp

Mario Gotze

Gotze did the classic for any young German star in 2013 and penned a deal with Bayern Munich.

At the time, the 20-year-old Gotze was arguably the hottest young prospect in Europe at Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and so his £35 million switch seemed like treason to many.

Rather satisfyingly – for Dortmund fans at least – his spell with Bayern was a disaster and he returned three years later with his tale between his legs.

Now 29, and at PSV Eindhoven, to say his career flattered to deceive would be quite the understatement.

Gotze with Dortmund
Gotze with Dortmund

Phillipe Coutinho

It’s true, that Coutinho burst onto the scene under Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. However, Klopp really took him to the next level.

Ever the Brazilian, Coutinho was desperate to pull on the red and blue of Barcelona and there was no convincing him otherwise when they came knocking.

Klopp did his best, telling him prior to the transfer going through: “Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour, go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”

Coutinho didn’t listen, though, and boy how he’ll regret that now…

Georginio Wijnaldum

In fairness to Gini, he didn’t actually want to leave. It was more that Liverpool’s owners wouldn’t give him the contract he rightfully deserved and he took his services elsewhere.

Nevertheless, his time at Paris Saint-Germain has been pretty miserable and he probably wishes he took the lesser paid position.

Wijnaldum Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield on May 07, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Nuri Sahin

Sahin built a reputation at Dortmund as one of the best midfielders in Europe, but in 2011, he made the switch to Real Madrid and it went awfully.

The Turkish international played just 10 times for Los Blancos before returning to the Yellow Submarine wishing he’d never left – his form never recovered.

Xherdan Shaqiri

‘Big Shaq’ as the Liverpool fans called him was hardly a revelation at Anfield, although he did blossom into a rather effective squad member.

He left the Reds in 2021 to join Lyon. In just six-months though, the Swiss had upped sticks and jumped across the pond to play for Chicago Fire.

Shinji Kagawa

Manchester United fans might argue that Kagawa has half decent at Old Trafford, however he came with a big reputation that, ultimately, he failed to live up to.

The Japanese creator won one Premier League in his two seasons at the club before – yeah, you guessed it – returning to Dortmund, never to be the same again.

Mkhitaryan & Kagawa
Mkhitaryan & Kagawa

Emre Can

The German thought the grass was greener in Turin but it turned out that he had made a cataclysmic error in leaving the Reds, who went on to enjoy bucket-loads of success in his absence.

Can meanwhile, well, he was pretty dire at Juventus. Since then, he’s joined Dortmund where life has again improved – you can bet, though, if he could turn back the clocks and stay with Klopp, he would do it in an instant.

Felipe Santana

Anyone remember this guy? We certainly do from his FIFA 13 Ultimate Team days, what a player!

He left Dortmund kicking and screaming due to a lack of playing time, despite making 100 appearances under Klopp’s tutorage.

He left for arch-rivals Schalke, and in all honesty, hasn’t amounted to anything notable since.

Philipp Degen

Gold star Liverpool fans if you remember this right-back.

Interestingly, Degen joined the Reds from Klopp’s Dortmund in 2008. He had been a solid right-back in Germany, but his career took an enormous downturn in England, where he made no impression at all.

Liverpool terminated his contract in 2011.

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