A tribute to the lovable German has already taken us so, so far
“I sit here today and I can train a club like Liverpool…it still feels like a fucking sensation. It’s unbelievable!”
It may not me sterile enough for the PG13 market, but every Liverpool fan should pass that quote down to their kids in their formative Liverpool education. The already immortal words of Jurgen Klopp are a lovely, modern summation of the uniqueness of our club. It encapsulates what it means to those who truly love Liverpool FC and yearn to see it not just do well, but catapult itself away from the mundane and ordinary, to nights and experiences that few fans are lucky enough to experience.
The last few days have been a blur, mixed with bouts of excitement and nerves. Even as this article is written, jolts of anxiety and anticipation regularly spark as we are just hours away now from knowing. More in effort to calm the nerves, this article is a self-indulgent love letter to the Herr Klopp, an expression of gratitude for what he has already done for this club, and what we all hope is just the beginning.
Already a legend
Just three year ago the club seemed on the cusp of something else entirely. Sterling was about to leave for City, Rodgers had shown his mediocrity in a painful season culminating in a shameful rout at Stoke and the players were not performing. Worse still, Gerrard was gone, our last link to Istanbul and the shining lights of the noughties was heading off.
The melancholy at the club was palpable; we all mourned the false dawn of 13/14 and yearned for better days. Three years later, they are here, against crazy odds, we are in the biggest final in World Football and by some barometers, in all World Sport.
Jurgen Klopp has transformed the club in his own image. Two and a bit seasons have see us whines his wonderful wrecking ball sift through the scrap left behind by half a decade of failure and made room for some truly beautiful football. The joy of watching the players on the pitch has blown fresh spirit and humour into the fan base; Klopp has made it enjoyable once more.
The players seem to love it just as much as the fans. Who can blame them? Andy Robertson is a football romantic’s dream, Trent is a local lad and we all love them. Milner has been a revelation next to the hardworking and improving Jordan Henderson; whilst the front three have exhausted all superlatives. It’s great fun to watch and is yet another example of Klopp’s masterly command of this Red machine.
A long, long way
The days of watching Wolves and Wigan come to Anfield with genuine hope of a nicking a win were painful to all fans connected to the club. The manner of the performances and the squalid personalities to play for the club made it a real chore to watch us. The gallows humour at the match was perhaps the only entertaining thing about Liverpool back the as Raul Meireles pouted and Johnson took his money but was “alright going forward.”
All of that is gone, Klopp has made it right. His simple achievement of putting Liverpool back were we should be means the world to supporters. No club has a divine right to be at the top, but Liverpool were falling away. For Klopp to have steered us back is one thing, but what makes him a legend is the fact that we have that dignity back. We are talked about in the corridors of power again, and the right players will want to be part of this.
History cannot repeat itself
You’d be right to argue that Houllier and Benitez did a similar thing at the turn of the century, as they propelled Liverpool back into the light, winning trophies and signing quality players who would serves us well for years. Houllier in particular has become slightly diminished with the passing of time.
The Frenchman’s revolution was similarly huge and effective in its early years to what Klopp has done, albeit without the pyrotechnic football. The mid to late nineties had seen the club dragged to the indignity of being a tabloid dream machine off the pitch. On it, Players like Ince and Ruddock were not cut from the same cloth as the great men who wore the Red before them. Our defence was a joke and the club was adrift, lacking leaders and quality. Sounds familiar.
Houllier altered all of that. Big names like Ince were publicly taken on and driven out. Discipline and hard work came in, as the bedrock of a solid team was built almost from scratch. Trophies followed and within a three period Liverpool were Champions League Quarter Finalists and title challengers. Like the Benitez era though, the funds dried up and the right players were missed when they should have easy prey. Success wilted and we all felt an opportunity had passed us by.
Klopp is a different man to his predecessors. We all know the football is now at a peak it hasn’t been at in three decades, his personality is on steroids and he has everyone on board. Crucially that last one is a biggie. There were division and mutters of boring football despite the success with Houllier and Benitez. Klopp though has won all hearts; he will bowl them over completely if he wins number six tomorrow night in Kiev. Whatever happens though, the funds cannot dry up, the chance we have with this man cannot pass us by. He has made us dream, he should be allowed to finish his work and continue on what has already been a wonderful journey so far.
Allez, Allez, Allez…