Jurgen Klopp has provided his annual Christmas message to Liverpool supporters, offering his usual charismatic manner, humour and compassion.
Addressing supporters in his Christmas letter, Klopp writes:
“Unfortunately, it is a fact there will be some reading these words who have lost someone due to the pandemic in the last year. Whether you are part of the Liverpool family or a supporter or another club – or even if you’re not a football follower – you are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The boss, as ever, pays tribute the Hillsborough families, and reveals how he met with Andrew Devine before his passing this year:
“Today and every day our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives at Hillsborough and the survivors. You are our daily inspiration because of the courage, strength and resilience you have shown.”
There’s also tributes to those former players we lost in 2021, including Ian St John, Roger Hunt, Ray Kennedy, Louis Bimpson, Tommy Leishman and Phil Chisnall, as well as Gerry Marsden.
On footballing matters, Klopp picks out a photo of defenders Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as one that sticks in his mind:
“It was taken after the game and we had 10,000 supporters back at Anfield. It shows Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams applauding the fans in front of the Kop, both of them with bruises and cuts to their faces.
For me, that image captured best what those boys achieved. We showed a real Liverpool spirit and, honestly, I could not be any more proud.”
Finally, in paying tribute to Liverpool supporters directly, he writes:
“My thanks goes to our incredible supporters. Having you back inside a full Anfield is without any question the absolute highlight of my year.
“After the game with Leicester the other night, I gave an interview in which I said how much I loved being a part of this incredible club because of how special it is, because of how much we all mean to each other. Really, I meant every word – and perhaps if I was a native English speaker, I could have said it better.
“But one of the main reasons that makes this club so special, so different, is you. We saw the impact of not having you inside Anfield or with us at away games or in Europe and we felt it. Believe me, we all felt it.
“Wednesday night’s game was the perfect example of the power of Anfield, why it must be a place every opponent hates to play. Without your support, the boys’ comeback would have been much more difficult. But we did it and we did it together.”
Sentiments echoed by every Red in return, Jurgen.
Looking to the future, Klopp writes:
“I am excited about what the next 12 months will hold for us as a collective and with you behind this group of players. I have complete confidence we will have many memorable occasions and more success together.
“Each and every day I get to look these boys in the eyes, I get to see their talent and desire in training. I know they have absolute fire inside them to create more special memories with you.”
And finally, Klopp gives his own mini team talk:
“Today, my team talk for you is this: show those you love and care about what they mean to you, enjoy your time with them because it’s precious, reach out to those who you can’t be with in person using the technology we have and take a moment to remember those who’ve sadly left us.
“However you choose to mark today, however you choose to celebrate, I wish you and your families health, happiness, peace and love.”
Merry Christmas to everyone from This Is Anfield.