Jurgen Klopp has left a long-lasting impression on all those associated with Liverpool Football Club over his five years in charge, and, here, we hear the touching reflections of five Reds.
Once the signature of one charismatic German by the name of Jurgen Norbert Klopp was secured and duly announced on October 8 2015, life at Anfield would never be the same.
The dark gloomy cloud which had descended on the club began to lift and work began in shifting a doubter into a believer, a task which was a raging success.
In five years, Klopp has taken Liverpool from Champions League wannabes to European Cup champions and ever-presents and league title hopefuls to English champions.
While the time has flown by, he has left an almighty impression on those associated with the club both as a person and as a manager.
Here, Matt Ladson (@mattladson), Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_), Jeff Goulding (@ShanklysBoys1), Sebastian Palmer (@Tino_LFC) and Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) provide their own unique reflection of Klopp and his time at the helm.
MATT: Is there anything I can say that hasn’t already been said about Klopp? He’s a giant of a man in every sense of the word. He commands a room like nobody I have ever seen.
There is so much he does behind the scenes too. Stuff that nobody sees and that doesn’t get reported.
I’ve had the absolute honour to be in Klopp’s press conferences from his unveiling in the Centenary Stand five years ago, to after the Champions League final in 2019.
He makes time for everyone personally. He’ll make a beeline for individual fans and give them 100 percent of his attention. The club try to keep him on script but there’s no chance. He’ll pose for photos, laugh, smile and joke with fans.
It’s not a gimmick or an expectation, he just genuinely cares about people.
When I hear rival fans accusing him of ‘playing to the media’ it does my head in because it’s bollocks. He’s the most genuine person you’re ever likely to meet.
JOANNA: Even after five years it remains a pinch-me moment that Jurgen Klopp is the manager of Liverpool Football Club.
We all love football for copious reasons, for the escapism, for the joy in sharing an experience with others, for the sense of belonging and for a community – all facets of the game which Klopp inherently understands.
It is what makes his relationship with Liverpool a symbiotic one, one which feels as though it was always written in the stars.
He has been the orchestrator of moments and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life, and I’m not just talking about the grand spectacles of winning the Champions League or the Premier League but all the small ones along the way to the top.
I was lucky to meet him briefly at Melwood last year and while only a couple days post that draw at Everton, he was incredibly generous with his time and patience in creating the perfect light for a photo – one which I feel incredibly lucky to have.
A contagious personality with the beliefs and heart to match and it would be far from an overstatement to say he has forever altered the foundations of Liverpool Football Club, adding to that of his legendary predecessors.
JEFF: There is no one moment, game, signing or quote that I can point to, no single achievement that I can draw upon to sum up Klopp’s impact. If I could pick one word to describe him though, I would choose, ‘transformational’.
In the 30 years since we last won the league title, Liverpool Football Club and its supporters had slowly descended into an uncomfortable accommodation with their nearly-men status. The excuses and justifications were many; we lacked the financial clout to compete, we had been hamstrung by poor decision making and faulty leadership off the field for years. Only transient success in domestic cup competitions and on the continent kept us warm in what was becoming a long dark winter.
And, when even those dried up, we became fractious, despondent and faithless. Our captain and talisman, now the butt of every away fan’s jokes, had gone. With him, visions of glory had disappeared over the horizon. Liverpool Football Club had become associated with perennial underachievement, a once great institution dining out on past success. Then Jurgen Klopp arrived.
If we were to make a movie of the last five years, it would open in black and white, the music would be dark and moody, and it would probably be raining. We would cut to shots of fans casting despairing looks to the heavens, their faces grim and their hope gone. Then, the sun would come out and the music would become more upbeat. The shades of grey would give way to glorious technicolour and everywhere there would be smiles. The biggest of them all would belong to our German coach.
In every department, Liverpool FC has been transformed. The fabled ‘holy trinity’ is reborn.
Liverpool are no longer punching above their weight; we are no longer the hunters; the rest of football is hunting us. Only one other man in the post-war era has been able to achieve what Jurgen has done, and his name echoes through history. Shankly was similarly transformative and his legacy has spanned the generations. Can I see future generations uttering the name of Jurgen Klopp in the same reverential tones they use to talk about Shankly? I would not bet against it.
SEBASTIAN: October 8, 2015. A special day in Liverpool history, a day that brought us Jurgen Norbert Klopp.
I felt genuine excitement when I saw the announcement that Jurgen Klopp was to be the new manager of Liverpool. In the five years since his arrival, he has created some magical memories that I couldn’t have imagined. These have been extraordinary, remarkable and breath-taking. I cannot pinpoint my adoration of Jurgen Klopp as a man down to one specific moment.
It wasn’t just him tearing across the pitch when Divock Origi scored against Everton, nor him breaking into song after winning the Champions League in Munich, nor his Rocky impersonation after we won the Super Cup against Chelsea; it is everything rolled into one!
He has found a place in the hearts of all Liverpool fans with his charisma and charm and I am grateful for the five years we’ve had with him and hope for many more! His sincere message to supporters after winning our first league title in 30 years epitomises what Jurgen Klopp is all about.
There are so many superlatives that are used to describe him but the fact he chose “The Normal One” speaks volumes about his humility, which inspires me!
LEANNE: There have been a lot of incredible moments in the five years that’s passed since Jurgen Klopp was unveiled as manager. Those early years where wins against the big-six showed what he was capable of, the succession of finals that brought hope of silverware, even if we had to wait a while longer, and the evolution of the club both on and off the pitch. Klopp has revived the club’s core identity, one forged on the unity between players and supporters.
Anfield is now a fortress again, and there is a clear philosophy that seeps through all levels of this football club. Indeed, he has created an environment for players to thrive, developing young stars like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones that only increases the sense that there is longevity to Liverpool’s success.
For me though, when you’re looking at a specific moment that stands out, it’s the way he’s responded to setbacks and defeats that really makes him stand out as a manager. He knows exactly what to say to his players and chooses exactly the right time to deliver his rallying call. The reaction to defeat in Kyiv was a landmark moment in turning this side into serial winners. Even after the eventual heartbreak, his message was one of boldness and defiance and it is testament to the mentality he is instilled that it ignited a burning desire within the squad to find a way to dig deep and go again.
That immeasurable mentality is perhaps one of the most impressive parts of his work over the last five years. To amass 97 points and still finish second in the league would crush the spirit of the very best teams, but not this group of mentality monsters. Instead, it gave them the fuel to become serial winners.
Klopp has rebuilt the internal link between fans, the manager and the team, reinvigorating everyone associated with this football club while becoming one of the bests teams in English football history.
He made us all fall in love with football again; a club turned from doubter to believer, just as he promised on that fateful first day.