Jurgen Klopp: He Made The People Believe Again

Jurgen Klopp: He Made The People Believe Again

By Gareth Roberts


I’M glad there’s a match today because it feels like we all need it. It might be an FA Cup tie against Norwich City. It will also be a form of group therapy. The shock still hasn’t dissipated. This isn’t how it was supposed to end. This wasn’t the plan.

I’m aware it might sound daft, but it feels like we need to see him in the flesh. Check he’s alright. Maybe if we see him cracking on, we can all do the same. After all, there’s four trophies to fight for. Until we clear our throats this afternoon though, the fog of confusion remains.

Not only did Jurgen Klopp have two years to run on his contract, the local grapevine had suggested he was considering staying longer. His wife loves it here, it was suggested. And Klopp is happy again too, it went on. It seemed perfectly plausible. Why would he leave? He was about to do it all over again.

The manager hadn’t given off the vibes of the previous season when 14 defeats in all competitions and 67 points in the Premier League - the lowest tally in any of his seven full seasons in charge - had taken its toll. At times he looked broken. Had the bombshell landed then rather than now it would have been more understandable and probably more palatable.

Many speculated then that he might be burnt out. That his race may be run. Maybe he had enough. But now? Well now it looked like he was all in and back at it. The grin was back. The fist bumps were back. Liverpool were flying. And Klopp’s genius was evident once more. His mojo had returned. Or so we thought.

Ultimately, we never know what’s going on inside someone else’s head. They only tell us what they want us to know. Aside from what was presumably a very small number of people, no one had an inkling of what was to come on Friday morning.

A BBC Sport notification on my watch buzzed my wrist and looked up at me in the office at 10.45am. I looked back: “Jurgen Klopp to step down as Liverpool manager at end of season.”

I checked my phone to confirm. My first thought was the BBC had been hacked. Didn’t seem real then, doesn’t seem real now. In between times comment on the news has been everywhere, as you would expect from such a seismic moment.

This was Bill Shankly in 1974. This was Kenny Dalglish in 1991. In 91, pre internet, I didn’t believe the news about Kenny delivered by a joyful Bluenose teacher at Bowring Comprehensive until I saw it myself on the news when I went home for my dinner. His ashen face and that Echo front page, “Kenny Quits”, has never left me.

This time, a few swipes and clicks ensured there was no period of uncertainty. All the right reporters were saying all the wrong things. And then came the clip from the longer interview on Liverpool’s official Twitter account.

“Sad this,” a message from my son said after he’d watched it. It was. It is. I’m glad he said that. He gets it.

The cheap “nobody has died” heard from national radio and TV presenters in the hours that followed the announcement…they don’t get it. People trying to do down Klopp’s record in charge, neither do they.

Getting it is important. Klopp has always got it. It’s why he turned up here in the first place. It’s worth remembering that Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham all tried to tempt him. Chelsea and Arsenal were rumoured to be interested, too. But it was Liverpool that lured him.

He thought his values and style would chime with ours. And how right he was.

There was never universal acceptance of his predecessor Brendan Rodgers. Some questioned his pedigree. Others his methods. By the time he left, Liverpool were in a mess.

Klopp walked into Anfield on his first day and owned it. He had an aura and we were in awe. Those that travelled to Tottenham for his first game in charge could see the impact he’d had in a short space of time, Adam Lallana famously almost falling into his new manager’s arms with exhaustion.

The side that day: Mignolet, Clyne, Skrtel, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Lucas, Milner, Lallana (Allen ’81), Coutinho (Ibe ’87), Origi. Subs not used: Bogdan, Toure, Sinclair, Teixeira, Randall.

Football-wise, we live in a different world now thanks to Klopp. He’s enriched the life experience of every Red. Others will forensically tell the story from day one to finish and those reads will be long reads. Not just because it was nine years, but because there were so many special moments; moments that will last a lifetime.

Number six. Number 19. Dortmund. Barcelona. 7-0. Running on the pitch in the Derby. The broken glasses. Arsenal away. World Champions. 5-0 at Old Trafford. 4-1 at The Etihad. Dumping them out of Europe at the Etihad. Wembley. Munich. The list goes on. He made our lives following Liverpool a joy.

The Liver Bird was planted on foreign soil once more and this time it stayed there; Liverpool was a name to be feared and Anfield was a place teams didn’t want to play. As it should be.

Others will point at the finals he lost, at the nearly but not quites. Losing European Cup finals is no one’s idea of fun. But I’m sure plenty of fans of other clubs would swap our experiences with theirs in a heartbeat.

Being competitive, being in it, fighting for everything…that’s what most of the fair-minded really wanted.

Regardless, it’s not just football at Liverpool. It never has been, it never will be. Plenty outside of our bubble claim not to like Klopp and many of the reasons given are precisely why we DO love him. Should he argue with Des Kelly, or Paul Tierney? Should he celebrate at an official? Should he get involved in politics or encourage everyone to travel to a final? Should he moan about 12.30s, or too much football?

For us, yes. He had our backs. He was on our side. He went into bat for us. Half the Mancs dropping bait onto social media right now idolised Ferguson for doing some of the very same things. It was authentic. It was the man. It didn’t feel calculated, it was just Jurgen Klopp giving a shit.

He challenged, he moaned, he went off piste and talked politics and humans and life. And we loved it. He gave us some fight in a skewed battle where rules don't matter and money is no object for some.

In a fucked-up football world where couldn’t-care-less corporates get a third of cup final tickets, he made us feel part of our own club again. He knew what The Anfield Wrap was. He watched Redmen TV. He hugged Jamie Webster. He was engaged in every aspect of the club and he cared about the city and the people too. Just about the complete opposite of Roy Hodgson, basically.

One man turned easy fixtures into the challenge of a lifetime. The other turned losing a European Cup final into motivation to break records. One man questioned why fans would protest against the owners, the other told us to get our arses in gear and get behind the team.

I don’t doubt that Klopp has his faults and not absolutely everyone has seen eye to eye with him in his time here. But he’s done everything we asked of him and more.

In 34 years of being involved with football since turning pro as a player, he’s had three months when he was unemployed. If he wants a rest, have a rest. If he wants to put himself first and his family first, go for it, you’ve earned it Jurgen.

“If he can’t win it, we’ll never win it.” That’s what I believe they call a ‘Top Red’ said to me about the title when Jurgen was appointed. Well we did win it. And then some.

Ninety seven points and it’s not enough to win the league. Never happened to any other club. It’s almost like it’s quite difficult to do when you’re up against a state-backed opponent that gives no fucks about the rules…

Klopp has sewn his name into the fabric of Anfield and that takes some doing. Bill Shankly: He made the people happy. Jurgen Klopp: Scouser. He made us fight again, he made us believe again. He made Liverpool great again.

Seventeen Premier League games to go. A League Cup final. The last 16 of the Europa League. And first, the FA Cup and Norwich. Today.

Sorry if you don’t like the song, Jurgen. We’re fucking singing it today.

Back to blog


Nailed it.
He was what we needed. What we deserved. My lad and I sang our hearts out on Sunday and we’ll do the same every match.
Much has been written, most of it garbage, as I said… you nailed it.
Jürgen, you made us believe, smile, laugh, enjoy and love our football once again.

Gary Preston

Doubters to believers and some! Great read,let’s enjoy the last few months with this great man who has given his all for the club and the city.

Jon h

Proper read that Robbo

FinCo Coffee

Well said Robbo. The rest of the world just don’t understand

David Atherton

Great piece Gareth. From the heart and capturing everything about the Klopp years. I was around when Shanks left and it was massive news later that day. I was living in a remote place when Kenny left – the news got through eventually; and now, with these days, instant news – exactly the same feelings. This club of our lives, shaped by great leaders…..

Peter Braidwood

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