MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Jurgen Klopp and CEO Billy Hogan of Liverpool address the media at a club press conference ahead of the Emirates FA Cup tie with Norwich City at AXA Training Centre on January 26, 2024 in Kirkby, England. The club and Jurgen Klopp announced earlier in the day that he was to leave the club at end of the current season bringing an end to his successful nine year spell at the club. (Photo by Nikki Dyer - LFC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Klopp leaving is this era’s Shankly 1974 moment – but let’s do it Jurgen’s way

Liverpool fans will always remember where they were when the news landed that Jurgen Klopp will leave, but we now need to savour these final months.

As seismic a reverberation as you could imagine and this era’s Shankly 1974 moment, with added elements of Dalglish 1991.

While none of us seriously thought he’d continue beyond the current contract he works under, nor did any of us see Jurgen Klopp‘s early departure announcement coming.

I was painting a door when the news filtered through, and I’ll always remember it as such.

I’m sure you’ll forever be able to recall what you were doing too, when you heard the very thing that we’ve dreaded the most ever since his arrival: Klopp will leave home at the end of the season.

Liverpool 2.0 will soon become somebody else’s Anfield launchpad, with a new path set.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lifts the UEFA Champions League Trophy following the UEFA Champions League Final at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid.

Words will be said and written in homage to the great man, and our footballing lives will never quite be the same again, because Klopp is utterly unique, both as a manager and a man.

Contemplation of what we have been with him, what we will still have for another four months, what we will lose at the end of May and what we will become without him, is a natural reaction.

But once the world stops spinning and the dust settles, not only will Liverpool move forward, but Klopp himself will insist upon it – because despite the light he absorbs, he does so reluctantly, and for him it is all about his lads.

It is all about the collective, and not the individual.

When Shankly spoke of his resignation, he did so in terms of it feeling like he was walking to the electric chair, and there were shades of this in the social media reveal of Klopp’s announcement.

Liverpool manager Bill Shankly announces his retirement and resignation as Liverpool manager at a press conference. 12th July 1974. (Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo)

Here was a man with words he didn’t want to utter but felt no alternative but to do so.

His lips were mouthing the message that he would be leaving us, but his face suggested that what he was saying really was hurting him more than it was hurting us. Impossible as that might be to imagine.

Timing is everything. Klopp, in making this announcement now, will be angling to draw the sting early; he will be looking to make the impact of the end of the season less bruising, for us, the club, and for he and his family.

A once-in-a-multigenerational union, we were made for him and he was made for us. We are the perfect fit.

Don’t expect to experience anything quite like it any four or five decades soon – unless there is a second coming of him a few years down the line, when he feels re-energised.

I wouldn’t put it beyond him answering the call, if we were badly in need of him.

What Klopp won’t want, though, is the focus to linger on him and his momentous decision for too long.

2JACCCW The Liverpool mens and women's team buses during the trophy parade in Liverpool. Picture date: Sunday May 29, 2022.

There are trophies at stake, and he won’t want to leave without an open-top bus parade with his players: a party, a communion with the supporters on the streets of Liverpool, a city he has claimed as his home from home.

Just what this means for the remainder of this season only the days, weeks, and months ahead will decide. Early announcements of managerial departures don’t always provoke the bounce to last-chapter glories that are intended when making them.

One cup final spot assured, another two still a possibility, a league title to fight for.

Maybe Klopp’s intention to leave was originally meant to stay under wraps until the season’s end, before unwelcome chatter of quadruples resurfaced this week.

What a way to distract from such unnecessary pressure: by introducing the ultimate counterweight.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 3, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Within this, what we are left with is a minimum of 21 games in which to enjoy Klopp’s Liverpool 2.0, with a maximum of 30 league and cup fixtures to play (not counting for FA Cup replays).

Whatever the number turns out to be, embrace each and every one of them for all they are worth.

On Sunday, we will file into Anfield for the visit of Norwich in the fourth round of the FA Cup, and then Chelsea will roll into town on Wednesday night. Both will be emotional, but we will need to see through the potential tears to the tasks at hand.

Two crucial statements of short-term intent will need to be made.

We need to acknowledge that while we are suddenly experiencing extraordinary times and will do so all the way through to a summer of change, that it will also be business as usual.

Thanks will undoubtedly be given to Klopp in these upcoming games, but the ultimate eulogies and farewell-tinged homage should be kept on ice until the end of the season.

It might well be the unexpected last lap of Klopp at Liverpool that we are now living, but for 2023/24 there are no shortage of dreams and songs to sing.

He wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s do it Jurgen’s way.