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Other SportsKlopp leaving Liverpool: German's legacy secured as Anfield great

Klopp leaving Liverpool: German’s legacy secured as Anfield great

“It’s not important what people think when you come in, it’s much more important what people think when you leave.”

The words of Jurgen Klopp at his first Liverpool press conference on October 9, 2015.

Eight-and-a-half-years on and Klopp caught everyone off guard this morning by announcing his time at Anfield was done; he will leave the club at the end of the season. The 56-year-old explained he had simply run out of gas, the tank was empty.

Read our other Liverpool news stories here:
Klopp to leave Liverpool at the end of the season
Carragher: Klopp exit announcement a ‘body blow’ for Liverpool
Jose Enrique ‘mad’ at FSG as Jurgen Klopp announces Liverpool exit

In four months he will depart to seek a “normal life”, refuel and then assess his options, although he has already ruled out managing another club in the Premier League.

Liverpool under Klopp have won the Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Super Cup, as well as the Community Shield. You could argue that had his time in England not coincided with that of Pep Guardiola, that trophy haul would be significantly greater.

Whatever happens between now and May, and wherever he ends up, Klopp can be assured of a warm welcome on Merseyside – from the red half at least – whenever he returns.

He has had an enormous impact on the city – in 2022, he became just the second foreign national to be awarded the freedom of Liverpool after Nelson Mandela. He has championed social causes, supported political campaigns and always put club and city first.

That’s not to say his public demeanour is always one of a jovial raconteur. He often comes across as spiky, confrontational and abrupt – one question away from picking a fight.

But there is an authenticity about Klopp that is, for the most part, endearing. He mirrors the city he represents, as does his team.

Liverpool’s high-tempo, in-your-face approach – aided by huge levels of skill and discipline – are traits Merseyside shares in abundance.

As a city it’s unique, mostly by design, and it requires a strong manager to lead its biggest football club. In Klopp they found a man willing to embrace the challenge.

But to do that requires enormous reserves of energy.

Perhaps inevitably those reserves have dried up.

In explaining today’s decision, Klopp said of managing Liverpool: “It is only possible if you are very busy and 100,000 per cent committed to everything you do and you dedicate your whole life to it. 

“That’s what I did. I came here, and I said it on the first day, as a normal guy. I am still a normal guy, I just don’t live a normal life for too long now. 

“I don’t want to wait until I am too old for having a normal life. I need to at least give it a try at one point to see how it is.”

When he is sitting on his deckchair reminiscing on his time at Anfield, he can look back with satisfaction on a job well done.

Eight days after his introductory press conference, he took Liverpool to Tottenham for a 0-0 draw. His side contained the likes of Alberto Moreno, Nathaniel Clyne, Martin Skrtel and Emre Can.

Decent players but a shadow of those that followed.

Over time, he moulded a team that won, on a regular basis. But he also built a team that entertained, that continued to pour forward, that refused to give in.

That mentality provided some incredible moments: the 4-0 destruction of Barcelona, the thrilling comeback against former employers Dortmund, the 7-0 and 5-0 hammerings of old foes Manchester United, the 2020 Premier League title triumph in the midst of Covid and, perhaps most memorable of all, the 2-0 defeat of Tottenham in Madrid that handed Liverpool their sixth European Cup/Champions League crown.

There is still plenty to play for this season, a point Klopp was very quick to emphasise today and it would be a huge surprise if his trophy haul was not increased between now and what will be an emotional departure at season’s end.

But whatever happens over the next four months, Klopp’s legacy is secure.

And when he does leave, people will think of him as a Liverpool great.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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