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Jurgen Klopp left a mark on all of our lives – 9 years of milestones!

It feels egotistical to reflect on moments that are significant to the collective through an entirely individual lens.

But the truth is, we all largely interpret life based on what each experience meant to us on a personal basis.

And so, for a football journalist who has spent the last decade reporting primarily on Liverpool, it is hard not to look inward when considering Jurgen Klopp‘s departure.

That means not just mourning the loss of a genius football manager who brought greatness back to the club I cover closely, or of a charismatic figure always ready to dish out a memorable line.

No, it goes deeper than that because Klopp’s eight-and-a-half years in charge have featured a heady mix of both professional and personal milestones.

 

An era of milestones

For example, it is impossible to forget that my first date with my now-wife fell just three weeks after the Europa League final in Basel and a post-match party featuring a speech from Klopp that has gone down in Liverpool folklore.

We have since not only married but had a child, and the many landmarks along the way can usually be placed in time thanks to a typically thrilling victory or trophy.

Of course, most supporters will be familiar with this way of thinking, which is far easier to slip into when the memories around football tend to be positive ones.

And it should not be forgotten that, while Liverpool’s improved status now can cloud things, it was far from a given back in 2015 that this would be the case.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, October 9, 2015: Liverpool's Managing Director Ian Ayre [L] and new manager Jürgen Klopp share a joke during a press conference at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I recall sitting in Klopp’s first press conference in the ‘Reds Lounge’ of what was then called the Centenary Stand thinking that simply returning Liverpool to the Champions League on a regular basis would represent a success.

Instead, the German won that trophy, ended a 30-year league title drought, and collected every other piece of silverware available to him – well, the Europa League aside.

It would be fair to say, then, that expectations were exceeded, and in such fashion that any attempts to play down Klopp’s legacy should be immediately dismissed.

 

Hugs and beers shared with Klopp

TBGFF6 Manager of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players and the trophy - Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, UEFA Champions League Final 2019, Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Madrid - 1st June 2019. (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

In the end, can narrowly missing out on two Premier League titles to a state-funded Man City or two Champions League wins to the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, really be described as a failure?

And even if it could, perhaps ask an Arsenal fan how much getting ‘just’ one taste of such success in this era would mean.

The fact is, those victories should be celebrated with greater fervour given what Liverpool were up against, and the journey around them provided moments that all involved will never forget.

For me, that includes a Klopp hug in the mixed zone in Madrid, and the beers shared while conducting an interview on a flight over to Sydney.

Even a public dressing down from the manager at Goodison Park in 2019 made for a good story to tell at dinner parties.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 18, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

These memories only cement the feeling that with Klopp’s departure, Liverpool are losing not only his remarkable management skills but also an incomparable character.

And it does not bear thinking about what that means for Arne Slot, who arrives to unenviable expectations thanks to the work of his predecessor.

Instead, for now, it is perhaps best to reflect on what has been a perfect story that has left a mark on the lives of each of us associated with Liverpool.