While Jürgen Klopp brought trophies and success back to Anfield, there is something he will leave Liverpool with that is far more important…

 

IT’S mad to think I wanted Carlo Ancelotti.

I reckon it’s because I wanted to win now. I’d have taken success over any moral compass which loosely guided me through life at that point.

In some ways, you empathise with the North East. You try to understand the Etihad. They’ve been through the mire. We’ve been there.

When it was him, you felt a tinge of anticipation. A feeling that this could be different because we’re different. Maybe he gets the loneliness of yesteryear, but then do we even get it?

We were so consumed by our perception. We had never lived something forthcoming of such standard bearing. It was so missionary and boring that you wondered what they were on about.

And then, a blaze of Converse, jeans and ease which blew us to smithereens. The normal one is a call to arms. A crooked smile but he will let you know when you leave early after a Scott Dann clincher.

Are you with me? This is important. It’s the story you will proclaim to Grandchildren. The one which shapes you from here on in. Your end of days tales of “nothing will ever be as good as when Jürgen Klopp was here”.

We know what happens against West Brom at home. We knew that was for those who stayed. Because he told us nothing is ever over. Nothing on the watch of him is ever finished.

You’ve lost that when you get to Dortmund. Because you’re ecstatic and his former employers are in the crowd and they know this is what Jürgen does.

Stay with me, because there’s a point here. About him, and them, and us, and about how, maybe, it was never actually about winning at all.

He signs Sadio Mane. He loves the new Main Stand. He qualifies for the Champions League and reaffirms this is the minimum acceptable requirement for Liverpool.

There is a blaze of New Balance, of counter-attacking orange paint swirl and BOSS Nights. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain screams in the face of Mohamed Salah in Manchester and are you listening? Because there’s a life lesson here. A dream of you and me.

Andy Roberston comes to prominence in an environment centred around working-class values. Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker tell you evolution is abound. The best night out of your life awaits.

Barcelona happens out of sheer modesty, out of turning up to seeing Lionel Messi in the flesh but knowing, deep down that because it’s them, they have a chance.

They can do no more and achieve no less. Number six is James Milner ramming his digits in your face on a balmy Spanish evening. Liverpool Football Club: the absolute gear of representation. Shaggy hair and wavy pop-ditties won’t ever come close.

Please pay attention at the back. What I’m about to say is really important.

The league, then. Acts of God and pissing on goalposts couldn’t deter them. The thing you recount is their will and desire. Their absolute conviction that this was happening. They were braver than we’ll ever be.

Remember with fondness “null and void”. embrace the odyssey of the finishing line and these words, which he always seems to find:

“We will all be together soon. There will be a moment for us. For now, tell the world: We are Liverpool, Champions of England”.

There is the loneliness of crises and the realisation they’re human.

We come out the other side with endless gumption. You gaze in awe at their ability to reinvent under him.

We nearly do it all but they’re knackered and yet, his presence remains immovable. He remains the epicentre of what we need to build from.

That extends to Brighton, Wolves and Brentford away in 2023, because he earned the right to rebuild on our watch.

It was bleak, dire and toilesome, but if adversity doesn’t represent this place then what does?

I’ll get to this message, I promise. It’s nearly there. It’s a tonic, I beg you.

Now, we are in safe water again. We laugh at Everton, Manchester United and the North East, because a mean has been reverted. They all want the fist pumps, or some meaningful version, but we have the real thing.

And then this: effervescence matched with death and ending. The eternal creation of youth cocktailed with the sourness of that video on Friday morning and all its greyness.

And therein lies it, that just maybe this was all about how you win. Maybe what Jürgen Klopp leaves and best represents is a feeling of awakening to a people and place.

I remember the days of looking out from the Radio City Tower with The Anfield Wrap, the glistening water and the sense of anticipation. He did that.

He created something beyond relatable. He made a city fizz with kinships, hospitality and moments.

The more I think of him, the moment pervades. It’s almost like he set up a chapter of our lives from wherever on the planet we needed it.

Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool was about a feeling. He gave a sense of life and emitted togetherness in a way I could only fantasise.

Football is many things, usually arbitrary and glass ceiling-ed. But he made it pure, and communal, and ours.

He represents our city like no other.

Maybe it was never about just winning. Maybe it was about a time and place. About lessons in life you couldn’t get anywhere else.

Dan


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