‘He gets Liverpool’: Why Klopp’s huge call is so heartbreaking
It’s 9:45pm on a warm Sydney night. Sat at home watching the Australian Open, I turn on my phone for some mindless scrolling. And then it appears.
“Jürgen Klopp announces decision to step down as Liverpool manager at end of season.”
My heart sinks. I can’t believe it.
If you’re a Liverpool supporter, you know what I mean and probably know how I’m feeling. If you’re not, it’s hard to explain. I thought about offering a simile or two, but the truth is it just wouldn’t do it justice.
This day was always going to come. And whilst we didn’t want it to happen for many years, we have been honoured to have eight years, soon to be nine, of Jürgen Klopp. Whilst I don’t possess a crystal ball, I’m convinced I’ll never experience a legacy as impactful as his ever again.
The first person you think of when you hear ‘Liverpool’ is Klopp. Not a player, but the manager. Our manager.
I’ll miss the giant hugs, the goal celebrations, the laugh, and more recently – the fist pumps in front of the Kop. Goosebumps. It was – and still is – more than the success, more than the trophies. Although that said, he won it all. It’s about how he makes us believe, how he brings people together, and how he makes us feel – proud to be Red.
It’s appropriate to also recognise that his support team, including Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz, and Vitor Matos are also leaving Liverpool at the season’s end. They deserve recognition too.
As a communicator, words are important to me. Since 2015, more than anyone else in the world, I’ve hung on Jürgen Klopp’s. I read this announcement with added focus, albeit with a heart rate through the roof, a lump in the throat, and tears in the eyes.
“I love absolutely everything about this club, I love everything about the city, I love everything about our supporters, I love the team, I love the staff. I love everything. But that I still take this decision shows you that I am convinced it is the one I have to take. It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy.”
To the supporters, “After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth.”
It’s classic Klopp. Exactly what you’d expect. He gets Liverpool.
He’s given us a lifetime of memories. We should be thankful. We should be satisfied. But we’re not. We want more. Is that selfish? Maybe it is. But fighting to the end is something we’ve got used to. You can blame him for that.
“Let’s now really go for it. The outside world want to use this decision, laugh about it, want to disturb us. We are Liverpool, we went through harder things together. And you went through harder things before me. Let’s make a strength of it. That would be really cool.”
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As painful as it is to say, Liverpool will move on after Klopp. In life, good things come to end, but this is proof that amazing things do too.