Jürgen Klopp, the departure of a giant who took Liverpool to the roof of Europe

The German manager, in place for nine years on the banks of the Mersey, will leave Liverpool at the end of the last match against Wolverhampton on Sunday, having won all possible trophies with the Reds.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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Jürgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool's victory against Brighton on March 31, 2024. (PAUL ELLIS / AFP)

“We have gained so much with Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly”, can we hear in one of the emblematic chants of Liverpool supporters. To the two legendary coaches of the Reds of the 60s and 70s, they will soon be able to add Jürgen Klopp. The German manager, who arrived in Liverpool in October 2015, will play his last match against Wolverhampton, Sunday May 19 (5 p.m.), before handing over to Arne Slot.

“It won’t be nice, but saying goodbye without feeling sad or hurt would have meant that the time we spent together wasn’t good.”declared the German technician on Friday. Arriving from Dortmund when the Reds were coming out of a mediocre sixth place in the league, Klopp has, in nine years, forever marked the history of the club.

Jürgen Klopp during his presentation in Liverpool, October 9, 2015. (PAUL ELLIS / AFP)

First of all, in terms of titles: eight in total, including a league title (2020), the first in 30 years for Liverpool. But also a sixth Champions League (2019), an FA Cup (2022) and two League Cups (2022 and 2024). A short but intense domination of European football.

But if Jürgen Klopp left such a mark on the Mersey club, it is because he immediately knew how to take the measure of the place, where “Before you set foot on the pitch, people love you, until you disappoint them. We have never really disappointed them”greeted the coach on Friday.

“I won’t forget a day of that time, because I found the best people I’ve ever met. And I did it for the best club I could have imagined, in a wonderful city, very, very, very special”

Jurgen Klopp

at a press conference on Friday

The one who will soon be 57 years old has made a mark through his natural charisma, his closeness to the public, whom he harangues with angry punches every time he wins, and his playing philosophy based on constant intensity.

However, the mission was not a gamble won in advance. When he arrived, the stars of the time were Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Christian Benteke.

Jürgen Klopp with his players against Tottenham, October 17, 2015. (IAN KINGTON / AFP)

The Klopp project took time, which his managers gave him at a time when coaches have become accustomed to waltzing. “He is a great man with a big heart and has an incredible passion for doing things well”greeted John W. Henry, the owner of Liverpool.

After three seasons of refining its squad, “his” Liverpool reached cruising speed in 2018-2019. The technician has put his stamp on a squad made up of well-known recruits (Alisson, van Dijk), players at their full potential under his command (Salah, Mané) and in-house products (Alexander-Arnold, Gomez).

For almost four years, Klopp stifled all of Europe, staring into the eyes of the winning machine that is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who had to score 97 and 93 points to snatch the title in 2019 and 2022.

If Klopp’s record could have been even more extensive, his legend will not be damaged. In a club where romance still sometimes takes precedence over results, the German knew how to take everyone with him. The announcement of his departure on January 26 came as a surprise, but his scarred face testified to the physical and mental wear and tear that his time there cost him. “I’m running out of energy. I’m fine, but I know I can’t do this job over and over again”he explained.

She intervened in a complicated season, where her team often barely got its head out of the water. A sign that his message was perhaps also at the end of its run, after nine years of demanding extraordinary efforts from his players. The announcement initially had a shock effect: players and supporters wanted to offer him an exit through the front door. At that date, all four titles were still possible.

Four months later, there will only be one, the League Cup. The Reds were stuck in the league (in third place), took a slap in the Europa League (in the quarter-finals against Atalanta) and let the FA Cup slip away in the quarter-finals (against Manchester United). The visible frustrations of Mohamed Salah Or Virgil van Dijk have finally convinced that the message no longer prints as before.

So the time has come for Anfield to say goodbye to the one who gave it new life. The “Scousers” will sing a last song for him “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which will resonate like a swan song. From Monday, Jürgen Klopp will be able to leave the Mersey with peace of mind: he will walk at the same level as Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, among the trinity of legendary Liverpool coaches.

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