Thank You Jurgen Klopp: The man who made Liverpool believe again

 | January 26 | 

7 mins read

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“Thank you Jurgen Klopp, from the bottom of my heart. You have given me some of the best memories of my life. Not just my football fandom, of my entire life. It was an absolute pleasure to sit down in Boston and talk football with you for an hour, it wasn’t as much of a pleasure when you laughed at me because I wasn’t going to the Championship League final in Madrid, but the fact you remembered me was pretty cool. 

“Thank you for the support you’ve given each and every one of us. Thank you for the memories, thank you for the trophies, thank you for the friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have made a difference in the lives of many, for the good, and not many people can say that nowadays.”

Chris Pajak, the co-founder of RedMenTV, summed up how every Liverpool fan is feeling after today’s news that Jurgen Klopp will leave the club at the end of the season. Speaking to The Sportsman just after the news broke, he gave an emotional response to the news that this nine-year romance was coming to an end. 

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“I am not good,” he told us over Zoom. “I am a complete shell of a man. I’m holding back the tears. I don’t know what’s going to happen with my life. I don’t know what’s going to happen to my football team. I am in shock. 

“I am absolutely devastated. Obviously we’ve had it good for a good few years now as Liverpool fans. Not the best of course, but we’ve had it really good. Much better than the years that preceded Jurgen Klopp and the first thing is, this pessimist inside me saying ‘You’re going to go back to obscurity, you’re not going to win any trophies again, it’s going to be another 30 years until you win a title’ - and that’s like the first thing that I can’t get over. 

“But then there is the other side of me. What a time we have had. What a football manager we’ve had. What a man we’ve had in charge of this football club. And then I started to think to myself, we might be the best job in world football, for somebody. But right now, that’s for another day. It’s all about living and wallowing in this moment almost and appreciating what Jurgen has done but also thinking what you can do this season, but I’m devastated. Absolutely devastated.”

It’s easy to look at Klopp’s success at one of the biggest clubs in the country and believe it has all been plain-sailing, after all the Reds have competed for every major trophy over the past few years. But he walked into a shell of a club. One without a plan, with a clear lack of talent and a club losing its identity. Liverpool - the former dominant force of English football - hadn’t yet won a Premier League title since the competition was rebranded in 1992. 

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The first team he picked featured Nathaniel Clyne, Adam Lallana and Alberto Moreno. Over the years he has transformed the club into one of the best in Europe, and now they boast the likes of Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold in their ranks. From a neutral point of view, it’s been remarkable to watch one of the finest managers in the world in action - but for Liverpool - both the city and the fans worldwide - it was something more. It was love. 

It still is. 

“He’s just meant so much to us,” Chris explains. “We deify our football managers in Liverpool, and this guy is up there with the best of the best of our club’s history. We are the most successful side in English football and he’s right up there with the best managers we have ever had and that is going to be so difficult to replace.”

“If there is a Mount Rushmore of Liverpool managers then, Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish are going to be on there. You’d be adding a fifth to your Mount Rushmore I think, if you were a Liverpool man right now. He sits right at the upper echelons with those guys. I don’t want to put an order on it, but for what Paisley did in that short term, the amount of trophies he won, he’s got to be right there. 

“But Shankly built us up and Jurgen Klopp has done a little bit of everything hasn’t he. Seven trophies in nine years so far, could end up being eleven trophies in nine years, but he built us up in the same sort of way as Shankly did. Obviously not through the divisions, but gave a fanbase and a team belief that they can do anything in world football. He made us champions of the world for the first time in our history. He won the European Cup. He has to be in Liverpool’s top three managers of all time.”

Klopp and Liverpool were the perfect match - from day one. And it wasn’t just about the football - politically he is so aligned with the people of the city. Liberal, welcoming, kind. Klopp understood what this club needed right from the word go, and then made it happen. A generation of kids had grown up without Liverpool competing for major honours - but the German made them believe again. 

One Premier League, one Champions League, one FA Cup, One EFL Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and one Club World Cup. He’s won everything with Liverpool, and put them right back to the top of English football. They may not be in the Champions League this term, but how does Chris think the season, and Klopp’s reign, ultimately ends?

“I think we win the Carabao Cup, and let’s go one deeper, after a 0-0 draw with Chelsea because that is what happens, on penalties against them. We’ve done it in the FA Cup final, we did it in the Carabao Cup final, we did it in the Super Cup final - the last three times we have met them in finals. It’s going to be an incredibly boring game. But we will hopefully win it on penalties. 

“In the FA Cup, I think we might not go all the way, priorities might take place. I can’t see anyone is going to knock us out of the Europa League - other than Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen - I think we will be in Dublin, it is basically a home game - I think we can put our name on that trophy. 

“Then the Premier League - the big one. The one that we all want. The sign-off of sign-offs for the greatest manager in world football. Liverpool win it. By three points, over Manchester City, who finish in second. It’s a close-run race, but Liverpool prove that they can lead Man City. The charges are brought against Man City, they are relegated, we might even get another Premier League - who knows - but that one goes to Brendan Rodgers. It’s complete pie in the sky, it’s complete hope of course. But let’s sign off with three trophies.”

“Do it for Jurgen.”

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