Jurgen Klopp walking away from Liverpool before the end of his contract would be no surprise, says Jason McAteer, with the German close to delivering a long-awaited Premier League title in the most demanding of roles.
Fresh terms have been agreed at Anfield with a highly-rated coach through to the summer of 2024.
Everyone on the red half of Merseyside is eager to see Klopp honour that deal, as he has lifted Liverpool back to the top of domestic, continental and global games.
McAteer, though, feels there is a chance that a parting of ways could be made in the next 18 months if the day-to-day business of delivering for an expectant fan base becomes too much.
The former Reds star told beIN Sports: “He has a team around him, Melwood is locked down, you can’t get into it. It’s the hub.
“No [I wouldn’t be surprised if he walks away]. It wouldn’t surprise me, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I just think there’s burnout.
“The passion he puts into it, the effort he puts into it, it’s all the time.
“I’ve been on tour with them before, he can’t move. He can’t go out the hotel, he’s meeting potential partners, he’s going to dinners, they’re putting things on, it’s constant.
“The partnership side of the club, when they come in and they want something, they want to get their name out there, who do they put on the front?
“Out of all the players, first it’s [Mohamed] Salah, then it’s Klopp. Before [Roberto] Firmino, before [Virgil] van Dijk, before [Sadio] Mane, it’s Klopp.”
For now, Liverpool are focused on getting a first title triumph in 30 years over the line.
They took another positive step towards hitting that target when edging out Wolves 2-1 on Thursday and McAteer believes Klopp will look to start shuffling his pack once another trophy is tied up.
He added, with the Reds also chasing down FA Cup and Champions League glory: “Going unbeaten would be nice, but as I say we’ve got some great kids coming through, as you saw against Everton in the FA Cup. Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliot, Adam Lewis is in there as well.
“I think Jurgen would love to give them some Premier League experience.
“If we were to win the league by the middle of April, he would let them go.”
Liverpool will be back in FA Cup action on Sunday when they take in a fourth-round clash with League One outfit Shrewsbury.