Jurgen Klopp’s legacy at Liverpool

After a bombshell was dropped on the soccer world Friday in the form of Jurgen Klopp announcing his departure from Liverpool at the end of the season, I — like many fans around the world — began to reminisce about what the German has meant to Liverpool and the Premier League as a whole.

“It’s not so important what people think when you come in. It’s much more important what people think when you leave,” Klopp said in his first Liverpool press conference. 

When I think of how to describe Klopp the coach and person, I keep coming back to the word he kept using during his departure announcement interview: energy. From the moment he walked through the door at Liverpool, that’s what he’s displayed. 

Whether he is running on field celebrating a last minute winning-goal, jeering up his fans, hugging his players or arguing with referees, there is almost never a dull moment when the cameras are on him during or after a match.

When you look at all that Klopp has achieved at Liverpool — such as winning the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup — it’s not surprising that he believes he no longer has the energy to keep doing what he’s been doing for over eight years. 

“I’m running out of energy. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again,” Klopp said in the announcement interview on Liverpool’s YouTube channel. 

The shocking part is the timing of it all. Liverpool is currently first in the Premier League, in the final of the Carabao Cup and are among the favorites for the FA Cup and Europa League. They also rebuilt their squad during the summer after a disappointing previous season. It looked like Klopp had the foundation for the next version of his team for years to come. Despite all that, he just didn’t feel it was right to continue beyond this season. 

“I signed a new contract not too long ago, and I was over the moon when I did it. It was exactly what I felt in that moment. One thing I didn’t know and underestimated was the fact that my energy source is not endless because I never had that issue,” Klopp said. 

While Liverpool fans and Premier League fans will be sad to see him go, no one can blame the man for wanting to experience a “normal life.” 

Even with the way he is leaving, it conveys what I respect and admire about him. Which is always doing what he felt was best for Liverpool. He could have easily just stayed until the end of his contract and gone through the motions, but never wants to give anything but his best for the club. 

On a personal level, what Klopp was doing for Liverpool made it clear as to what I wanted to feel like as an Arsenal fan. When Klopp was bringing Liverpool back to the top, Arsenal was going through a lot of difficulty. It wasn’t just that they were struggling. It was hard for fans to feel connected to the club. If you put the on-field success to one side, the biggest thing Klopp has achieved is the connection he has with Liverpool fans. Thankfully, Arsenal fans now have that connection with current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.  

The standout moment from his tenure at Liverpool was the second leg of the Champions League Semi-final against Barcelona. Liverpool lost the first leg 3-0 away from home and looked like they were down and out. They came home for the second leg and turned it around with a 4-0 win. Everything about that night was iconic. Two great clubs, the Liverpool crowd was ruckus, a crazy comeback and an all-time smart pass that led to the winning-goal. At the end of the match, the Liverpool players, staff and fans belted out a rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” 

While Klopp has said he currently doesn’t think he’ll ever manage again, I certainly hope this season isn’t the last time we see him on the touchline. His greatness as a coach and charismatic personality is something that makes the sport better.

Header Photo: In just over eight years at Liverpool, Klopp has won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. (Kin Cheung /The Associated Press)

Write to Mohamed Warsame at mohamed.warsame@mnsu.edu


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