With the Jürgen Klopp era now in the past, it is now the time to assess the legacy his leadership of Liverpool fans will have…


LEADERS are generally in short supply.

Not the tagline you want to accompany a pivotal forthcoming general election, but here we are.

Who have been the real, standout, inspirational and recognisable figures throughout my life that I – a Millennial born and raised in North Liverpool – can hang my Porto or Atletico Madrid cap on?

In a city which lays claim to most leadership figures from sources of football, politics or music, you end up with lines through a list.

An odd squad of the controversial, the grotesque and those just lacking in something, despite giving everything.

The thing about leaders is you get to choose them. It’s one of your single remaining sources of independent agency.

So, while you might scoff at sovereign fawning over the Crown and tales of Churchillian war-general hyperbole from hordes of Peaky Blinders extras, you are entitled to pick your own fighter.

Leaders can and often do let you down because you need them to fix too much, to make the world make sense.

Sometimes leaders make fools of you with time. Sometimes they age like milk.

A reminder they come from every imaginable source.

From Rafa Benitez to Jeremy Corbyn. From Alex Turner to Luis Suarez.

They can make fools of us all.

The thing about Liverpool is that its best people, its leaders and community stakeholders, its propellors of inspiration and embodiments of help often – if not always – exist in the shadows. They do for this very reason.

The perception of themselves is one without grandiose until you point out just how special they are. At which point they’ll give you a little shake of shoulders and mutter something inaudible as a plea for you to change tact.

Remind you of anyone?

Jürgen Klopp is, at his heart, a local leader. Someone who describes himself as a normal person living a very abnormal life.

He’s right, but it also forms part of his endless contradictions. He’s an extrovert until he’s incredibly introverted. He’s bombastic until the point of shy. He’s limelight gold, until all he wants is privacy.

Leaders are meant to be complex. It forms part of the mystique.

Of how we’re always trying to solve them. To complete them like a game then extract their brilliance onto ourselves.

On Anfield’s pitch on a fine Sunday afternoon, when an army of Liverpool staff were bumbling about over an erected stage, where to put people in suits and just what to do with the departing Liverpool manager, you got the feeling this was one of the rare occasions the place looked unorganised and like it had no idea about what it was doing.

The scantness of the feeling is massively down to Klopp’s contribution to a legacy of excellence. What he’s left us is priceless. Liverpool can withstand the rain in a manner Manchester United now can’t.

They’ll have to improve to better City again, and that unknown is what’s had everyone feeling an undoubted sense the future is increasingly opaque.

In his departure, Klopp did the thing he’s always done best: he motivates. Anfield – amongst an expectation of something much more funeral procession – was a celebration.

Supporters received our own unique team talk from the German. He talked about us, the power of us and the facilitation of him.

He begged, reminded and warned us not to lose our own agency in what happens next, and he gave us the greatest gift of all by declaring himself one of us. Klopp now becomes a stakeholder of Liverpool in the way he always wanted.

He becomes a legacy of someone who has done their bit and hopefully improved things (he did). He operates in the same shadows, now he’s no longer Liverpool manager.

The key differential is that Liverpool’s true leaders will continue going about their lives with impunity from attention and spotlight. Jürgen can’t do that, even if he wants to.

His anything-but-normal life won’t allow it. He had to do things his way and has done so with an explosion of life and light.

Others won league titles on Sunday and still they made it about us. They chose culture wars over their own manifesto pledge and, in truth, they looked a little bit wet and sad. Like they wanted to be put out of their misery.

They strive for what Liverpool has, even with being the ones stood on the podium.

The city of Liverpool, you, me and all of us were gifted with true, loving and such trusting leadership that we can now govern ourselves if we choose. To lose sight of Jürgen’s message means it will all have been in vain.

Jürgen Klopp was a truly unique leader, in what became an era that will come to signify and define so much of who we shall become as a collective. It was that important. He was that special.

The thing about true leaders is they’re incredibly good at telling you someone else is better. Don’t be fooled.

In a world where people’s flaws are so often used against them and held up as ransoms, he wore his open and honestly and remains one of the greatest ever embodiment of our club.

Maybe our guy now disappears into Black Forest anonymity for the rest of his days, offering only the odd Instagram update to add to his wonderful list of contradictions that we accept because he accepts ours.

Maybe he gets to be the stakeholder who operates in the shadows. We’ll wish him well in whatever endeavour he chooses.

If he needs us, we’re here. If we need him, he’s already told us he’s there and we already knew.

He was a gift. In a dark corner of the British experiment he was called.

He served. He is counted. He did his bit for Liverpool.

In a week where leadership has shaped the narrative, we can once again consider ourselves so very lucky that Jürgen was a Red.


Buy Dan Morgan’s book ‘Jürgen Said To Me’ on Klopp, Liverpool and the remaking of a city…

Jürgen Said to Me: Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool and the Remaking of a City

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