The REAL shock result of the Klopp bombshell: In his brilliant column debut, TIM HOWARD reveals the locker room drama when a coach quits – and the only choice the title-chasing Liverpool players must now make

It has already been a tense time on Merseyside: Liverpool are mired in a title race and Everton, my former club, are facing a second possible 10-point deduction for breaching financial rules. Jurgen Klopp’s stunning departure only added fuel to the fire.

Not much shocks me anymore, but Jurgen’s departure is a big, big loss for Liverpool. He gain the club. And the fans bought into him. They understood he was one of them.

Every time a legendary driver leaves, the immediate question is: What next? What are they going to do? Liverpool have had such sustained success. And the reality is that most teams don’t get it right. So for Liverpool fans, there will be a big worry that a discount is coming. Because Jurgen Klopp has become the club.

And no matter who you support, Klopp’s teams are good for the Premier League. He was brilliant for the Merseyside derby and for their battles with Manchester United. You can hate a club, you can root against them. But Jurgen has charisma and character – and he has class.

One thing is certain: the timing of this announcement will come under scrutiny. Liverpool are firmly entrenched in the title race. So is it exciting the players? Or does it throw them off track? They may wonder: why is this being announced now? It doesn’t feel right, he’s not going to be here. It is a fascinating emotional drama.

Jurgen Klopp's decision to leave is a big, big loss for Liverpool fans and players

Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave is a big, big loss for Liverpool fans and players

Klopp understands the club and fans bought into him – they understood he was one of them

Players are creatures of habit – that’s actually how you get the best out of them: give them a structure and constraints to work within and they thrive.

Now, it’s a new beginning and no one knows what the end looks like. So there will be anxiety in the dressing room. I saw it first hand at Everton.

DailyMail.com sports columnist Tim Howard

DailyMail.com sports columnist Tim Howard

The trouble is that Jurgen has a style and ideas and they are not going to be beaten out of the players quickly.

I played under David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson and, with any long-serving manager, you get into routines.

when do you eat breakfast Do you have to eat it all together? how do you travel Do you stay in hotels? Do you travel in tracksuit or suit and tie?

Any new coach is going to bring in players who fit his style – and demand that the others learn his ideas. Those who adapt and learn very quickly will keep their place, the others will be sold – it’s as cut and dry as that.

We had a lot of good players who flourished in David’s setup over 11 years at Everton.

But then Roberto Martinez came along in 2013 and brought a completely different style of play.

That’s when the pressure comes on players – and some couldn’t cope. Not because they weren’t good players. But because they didn’t buy into the new style. Or they were so determined that their way was the right way.

It’s a power struggle: if you’re a long-time player at a football club and a new manager comes in, you think: it’s your club, he has to prove himself. But he doesn’t. He is the manager.

Since taking charge, Klopp has guided Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League glory

Since taking charge, Klopp has guided Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League glory

How will this announcement affect the mindset of his players, such as forward Mo Salah?

How will this announcement affect the mindset of his players, such as forward Mo Salah?

For almost a decade, Liverpool have been built on the foundations of how Jurgen Klopp operates.

It would be irresponsible to screw it up. It’s a bad business decision to bring in a manager who does. This can create a bigger problem and a bigger mess.

So is Xabi Alonso the right man to take over? Well, he knows Liverpool inside and out, having had early success as a manager at Bayer Leverkusen. And that is telling. The question for any manager is: how do you get your points across to the players and how quickly can they implement them? He has shown that he can do it.

Whoever the new coach is needs to impart their ideals and theories to the players – but understand that they need to blend in with who they already are. Otherwise, the players will find it difficult to take it on board.

But for now Liverpool have to worry about this season and this title race. Jurgen’s team is so good and so mixed – how he and the players interact, they are one – so I can’t foresee anything but these guys saying: let’s make it about the barker. Let’s make it about winning another title.

Lionel Messi, Copa America and the Premier League: Tim Howard is the fantastic new columnist for DailyMail.com and will analyze all the major football talking points in 2024.