The Reds (Liverpool) are reeling right now after their charismatic boss announced that he will walk away at the end of the season.
Jurgen Klopp said of his decision to stand down as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, “I can understand that it’s a shock for a lot of people at this moment.” That’s probably the understatement of the century.
Friday morning’s announcement has taken the whole world of football by surprise. Nobody saw this coming. Not now, not with Klopp’s construction of a second great team at Anfield going better than anyone envisaged.
Despite overhauling their entire midfield last summer, Liverpool are top of the Premier League and still in contention to win three cup competitions.
Klopp says he’s “running out of energy,” and that is understandable, given just how much he’s invested in the club since taking over in 2015.
Klopp only ever wanted to make the people happy
His love of Liverpool is very real; it’s been obvious from the moment he arrived at Anfield. He’s always just got it. In the very best traditions of the club, he’s only ever wanted to make the people happy.
So, it’s not in the least bit surprising that he’s worn out and that his renowned work ethic has taken a heavy toll on him.
There’s also no denying that there were times last season when he both looked and sounded exhausted. Results weren’t going his way but there was an unusual level of agitation about him, a surprising sensitivity to certain lines of questioning.
Amid all of this, it was pointed out that he’d never done more than seven years at his two previous clubs in Germany, prompting talk that history was repeating itself on Merseyside.
Evoking memories of the ‘champions of everything’
However, Klopp has appeared refreshed and reinvigorated since returning for pre-season, visibly relishing the task of putting Liverpool back on their perch after a trophy-less and trying 2023-24 campaign.
His renewed optimism and belief has been reflected in the fantastic performances of his team. Liverpool 2.0 haven’t just represented a serious upgrade on last season’s side; they have been evoking memories of the ‘champions of everything’.
And how many sides in history have ever better represented a manager on the field? At their best, Klopp’s Liverpool are industrious, passionate and absolutely relentless.
Problems behind the scenes?
That’s why this decision is so surprising. Klopp has looked like his old self this season. There have been no signs of fatigue or frustration.
Of course, there will be rumours that there’s more to his imminent departure than tiredness. There will inevitably be talk of dissatisfaction behind the scenes.
Several key figures have quit the club over the past couple of years and there has been constant chatter about the Fenway Sports Group’s alleged reluctancy to seriously back Klopp in the transfer market.
But Klopp says that this is “the truth” and that he was left with no option but to walk away at the end of the season. He’ll never walk alone, of course.
A Liverpool legend
Klopp will go down as one of the greatest managers in the club’s history, a true Liverpool legend. He took a club in utter disarray and transformed it into one of the world’s best—and without state support.
There were, of course, big money-buys along the way but Klopp worked wonders with nearly every player that arrived at the club. So many signings went to a whole other level on his watch.
But there was more to it than that. Anfield adored Klopp because of his character and the fans will be forever indebted to and enamoured with a ridiculously charismatic manager whose tactical genius is matched only by the warmth of his personality.
‘Let’s now really go for it’
The void he will leave behind will be almost impossible to fill and there is a legitimate fear that everything he has built at Anfield will come crashing down after he’s gone.
He’s determined to go out on a a high of course. “Let’s now really go for it,” he implored, and there’s no doubt that that call will be heeded by his players and the fans.
But even he knows that Liverpool’s rivals are greeting this news with glee: “The outside world wants to use this decision; laugh about it.” And that’s spot on.
Opposition fans know full well that Klopp has been the key to Liverpool’s success over the past nine years.
The day Liverpool fans had been dreading
For that very reason, he’s earned the right to bow out on his terms. And he’ll receive one emotional send-off after another as the season draws to an end.
He may also get the happy ending he deserves. He’s already set up at least one more Wembley outing, with Liverpool set to play Chelsea in the League Cup final next month.
But while Liverpool fans will savour the chance to express their gratitude to Klopp, they’ll also be feeling extremely anxious right now about what comes next.
Nothing lasts forever, of course. Klopp pointed out that Liverpool and its fans have been through, and come through, far worse. This dreaded day was always going to come eventually, he said.
It’s just that nobody thought it would arrive so soon. This isn’t just a shock for Liverpool supporters; it’s a disaster.
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