Farewell to the Man that Made Us Happy: An Ode to Jürgen Klopp

If we bore people constantly, why should they come? So we have to try and give them some excitement. Not only silverware. That’s obviously the main target. But between the start and the silverware, there must be a lot of good moments together. And we’ve had them.


Goodbye, Jürgen. 


Those words came off the keyboard precariously, as if the final press of the full-stop might envelop my screen in a holy fire. That is the extent to which bidding farewell to the greatest of Liverpool’s modern managers, the architect of Liverpool Football Club’s arguably greatest ever achievement, seems entirely incongruous. 


Klopp, leaving? Jürgen Klopp, the man responsible for so many of our happiest nights and mornings, departing the place where he’s so adored, treated with a messianic reverence, THAT Jürgen Klopp? Leaving? No. No way. 


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Yet, that is not what he’d want. We’d know, because he’s told us so regularly. That quote above, courtesy of The Independent, was written in the buildup to the Champions League final – the one where Liverpool triumphed – a full year before the club would be celebrating their first title win in thirty years. He was the architect of that too, just as he brought the two remaining pieces of silverware home two years after that, buffeting record points-hauls and the greatest times young Liverpool supporters have ever known. 


The silverware became almost secondary to the moments. Because every moment inspired in Liverpool’s restless fanbase a sense of calm that complemented the football on show. Frenetic gegenpressing gave way to slick attacking football, which in turn gave way to the composed, death-by-intensity football of the title-winning season. Acquiescence to the natural way of things was the great testament to what Jürgen Klopp’s moments gave to this fanbase. 


The comeback against Barcelona was “impossible”, Jürgen Klopp told the players, “but because it’s you, we have a chance.” In many ways, a passing Liverpool supporter on the street might have said the same when it came to conquering Manchester City. A financially-doped supergiant with the greatest tactician of all time at the helm? Impossible to surmount, but because it was you, Jürgen, we had a chance. 


The run of 36 games where only two points were dropped? Outrageous, especially from a team that had to come down from the high of winning a Champions League final and the low of losing the league to Manchester City with a record-breaking second place points haul simultaneously. Fanbases would crumble at that, but with Jürgen Klopp, these were merely moments to be relished. The silverware, as it happened, didn’t matter inasmuch as the way it lavish Klopp with even more messianic adulation. 



Indeed, the meteoric moments of Klopp’s reign aren’t the highlight. The Barcelona comeback was an emblem fans could stick to a feeling, not the instigation of the feeling itself. What Klopp brought to a fanbase that was, and this cannot be stressed enough, entirely restless, was a sense of pure contentment. 


“Man’s happiness really lies in contentment”, Mahatma Gandhi is purported to have said. It may be the kind of quote that appears in a “live, laugh, love” self-help book, but in the case of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, this was no espoused mantra, but a way of living. It was not forced contentedness, in the way that Arsene Wenger’s final years of finishing fourth attempted to impose on his own restless fanbase, but the content knowledge that we would always be there, so long as that father figure told us everything would be alright. 


It meant that even the most placid and pessimistic Liverpool fans could always rise off the couch with excitement as the boys strode out onto Anfield. It meant that raising fists in front of the Kop after a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion was eventually a celebratory moment of nostalgia, and it meant that one Champions League final loss led to a Champions League final win, and an agonising second place led to the club’s first Premier League title win in 30 years. 


There were moments when, as an Australian Liverpool fan, this writer would be paralysed with nerves ahead of a 3AM game against Manchester United, unable to sleep, unable to check the scores. April and May of 2014 was equally one of the most euphoric and depressing months of this writer’s young life. There was never, ever the kind of energetic, delighted confidence that Jürgen Klopp instilled. 


Because even if it didn’t go well, we’d still have him. And as long as we had him, we’d be back. 


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“The world is not full of winners, the world is full of triers hopefully. And I try and sometimes I win with other people together. I am happy with that.”


Klopp said the above during Liverpool’s pursuit of a quadruple in 2022. It perfectly summed up the resonance he has had at this previously tumultuous football club. To be winners in modern football, in the way Jürgen summarised, is to be funded entirely by a state, largely dependent on oil, a winning machine without a soul. Jürgen Klopp encapsulated the soul of Liverpool Football Club, and gave to its supporters’ souls the contentment that only a very special football manager could. 


The saying goes that “you never know the good old days until they’re gone.” That is categorically untrue. 


Every Liverpool fan cherished every one of those days for what they gave us; an unparalleled sporting contentment in which we could and can watch our football team fully confident in the knowledge they would give us something to be happy about, whether they won on the day or not. After all, as the man himself said, “football without fun is not great.”


It was cherished then; it will be especially cherished now. Nothing this season, whether Liverpool bring home four bits of silverware of no bits of silverware whatsoever, will deter Klopp’s legacy. This is all just window dressing, now. This is affirmation of what every Liverpool fan already knows, this is why there will be the same amount of tears no matter what happens on that final goodbye. 


Jürgen departs with no regrets, no maybes, no what-if’s, only a legion of people incredibly happy to have known him, however distantly that may have been. 


By: Alex Barilaro /@Alex_Barra12

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Getty Images