Jürgen Klopp ended Liverpool’s trophy drought and in doing so completed the task of uniting the fanbase that his predecessors could not…


TO see how far you’ve come, you have to look at the beginning.

In August 2015, no one knew what a Brendan Rodgers season looked like. His first was far from great, but there was optimism as the signatures of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho gave the lie to the adage that you can’t buy quality in January.

His next season took us on the crest of the highest wave.

They might have fallen short, but 2013-14 will always be one of my favourite seasons. They were that close.

And then came his worst. Sure, we’ve finished lower, but 2014-15 saw the club take a backward step.

And then we kept going. The semi-final against Villa would have been the nadir had Steven Gerrard’s last ever Liverpool game not sank us further.

It finished 6-1 to Stoke, and they even gifted us our goal so Stevie could have a present. Stoke City bought one player that season, we had a whole influx of nothing much.

It was hard to tell which was a typical Brendan season. Zenith or nadir.

I’m not sure he knew either. He lasted 11 games of the following season and won just three of them.

By Goodison Park in October, we knew he was gone. He stood in the dugout looking lost, but it wasn’t going to be his concern for much longer.

It was an awful game. 1-1. Danny Ings.

I never thought we’d get Jürgen Klopp. Like everyone, I knew about the antics on the touchline and mad pronouncements, but I knew that if he said he was having a full year off, then that’s what he’d do.

A man keen to reacquaint himself with his couch and daytime telly. He was knackered. All played out.

He’d taken chunks out of Bayern Munich with an unfancied team and it had used him up too much. The man needed a rest and given what this club does to managers, it seemed unlikely that he’d be heading here.

The other option, or favourite at least, was Carlo Ancelotti. I could live with that. I’m glad I didn’t have to.

A few hours after Goodison, the betting sites had stopped taking money on the former Dortmund manager. I was with my mates in the car on the way back from the game when the news came in. One of them said ‘I just want someone I can get behind.’

I saw his point. Rodgers, Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson, Rafa Benitez, Gerard Houllier, Roy Evans, Graeme Souness. Everyone of them left with a slice of the fanbase wanting them gone.

Liverpool fans like a faction. I’m in several.

Liverpool managers seldom have universal backing when they’re heading for the door. It was February 1991 when we were last all together.

How does a man come in from Germany and heal those divisions?

And it didn’t start well for me, personally. I thought he might be a bit of a media darling. A maverick. A soundbite who would tell you black was white.

Then there was the baseball cap (I hate the things) and his liking for Genesis. I thought the Beatles t-shirt was a way to get around people like me and I wasn’t buying.

That lasted until half-time into his first game away at Spurs, I wanted to see a change.

I was tired of watching The Reds feel sorry for themselves. I wanted them to bust a gut to get a win over the line.

It didn’t come in that game – it finished 0-0, but Liverpool legged Spurs all over the pitch that day.

There was urgency, there was rush, there was Gegenpressing – the new word we’d all learned which used to be ‘put him under’. It wasn’t a football match – it was an aerobics class. They worked their arses off.

The team that day? Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Alberto Moreno, James Milner, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Lucas Leiva, Emre Can and Divock Origi. Not an 11 to quicken the pulse.

Three years later, one of those lads would seal a European Cup final for Liverpool. A lad who had already been written off, scored in a European Cup final for Liverpool.

But getting everyone onboard? The football was one thing, but how do you deal with the most argumentative, opinionated, right and wrong fanbase in the game?

He went after the Main Stand when he thought support was lacking. That rankled with me at first.

No one likes to be told they’re not doing enough, particularly if they’re paying for it, but he had a point. There could be no spectators here now – only auxiliary staff.

Sometimes he got that wrong (Seville), but he knew that this was about all of us, not just his squad and the bounce of a ball. We all had to come in with him. And we did.

Comparisons with former greats make me uneasy. We must be on our third or fourth ‘new Shankly’ by now and it’s unfair to all parties that they’re made so easily.

He’s our first Jürgen. He’ll be our last too unless he sees sense and realises that daytime telly is still shit to this day.

Our Jürgen. A man you’d want a pint with.

A strong man to have on your side, but overwhelmingly charismatic and with a sense of fairness. The sort of man who laughs off your concerns, but does it with care.

A human being. A hero to some, but most of all a good man.

Jürgen would tell you he’s fallible, maybe too emotional when clearer heads are called for, but that would just be modesty. He’s always fair.

What’s more, he was always brutal when it was needed. He used to hug Jordan Ibe at the end of every game, but he soon sold him when he realised we needed an upgrade.

Pep Guardiola must be glad to see the back of him, the PGMOL will have their own party, but his exhaustion has left the game duller, a little beiger.

I feel a bit sorry for the new lad. He’s got work to do and a lot of people to win over.

Worst of all, he’s not Jürgen and people will always think that when an inevitable misstep occurs.

Bob Paisley will always be my favourite Liverpool manager, but back then I was of an age where I wanted someone to lead us somewhere.

Jürgen is this generation’s version. I adore him, and it’s rare in this game, that you can adore a man for his personality and character as much as his ability.

He came here as a stranger and leaves as not just one of us, but the best of us.

Some doing, that.


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