Manninger joined the Reds as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s first signings in the summer of 2016, bringing vital experience to the club’s goalkeeping ranks.
This was always to be the plan, with Manninger explaining on his arrival on a free transfer that “it’s not possible to play 50 games a year,” and he retired after his sole campaign at Anfield.
While the decision to bring the veteran in was a surprising one, the belief was that it was with the intention to become part of the coaching staff at Melwood when his career ended.
It transpires this was the case, but for Manninger that final year abroad convinced him that his post-playing life should be spent “catching up” with things he had missed out on over the previous 22 years.
“The idea was there,” he told Austrian newspaper the Krone, when asked if he could have stayed as a goalkeeping coach.
“But I played 20 of my 22 professional years abroad, and at the age of 40, that’s enough.
“I’m catching up with a lot of things that did not happen during my career.”
It is an interesting revelation from Manninger, suggesting he could have joined John Achterberg as part of the first-team setup, with Liverpool in search of an assistant for the Dutchman at the time.
The Reds eventually appointed Jack Robinson, who left his post with the FA in September 2018 to work alongside Achterberg as well as helping to identify and develop young goalkeepers for the future.
Manninger praised Klopp as “a coach who has understood every fibre of modern football, is straightforward [and] never seeks excuses,” and that the manager told him he needed “people with energy.”
The 42-year-old also turned out for Salzburg turning his long career, and though he backed them to “deliver a huge game,” he expects Liverpool to emerge as victors on Wednesday night.
He could have experienced this from the dugout at Anfield, but instead Manninger is deservedly enjoying his retirement.