Love is in the air this month. I feel there is no better way to share that than to look back with our beloved manager in what has turned into a farewell season. The lights of Anfield will shortly grace us with one final glimpse of our grinning German, fist-pumping manager at the final whistle. This unassuming man has truly turned us into believers once again! What an experience! The Liverbird has returned to its perch. There have been parades in the streets accompanied by fireworks on and off the pitch. It still feels surreal how soon we’ll have to come to grips with a new manager, system, and era for the club we all love so much.
Many of you are probably asking why I’m writing what is essentially a tribute piece for Klopp months before the final home game. At that point, we’ll all get a proper chance to bid him farewell. My response would be: February is the month of lovers.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday steeped in history and mystery. Its origins revolve around both Christian and ancient Roman traditions, with at least three recognized martyred saints. Humor me a minute and allow the history teacher in me to educate you about the mythology of this loved holiday.
One of the legends that is in contention for the origin of Valentine’s stems from a priest who during the third-century reign of Emperor Claudius II decided to continue to perform marriages in secret for young lovers. This broke the Emperor’s decree that marriages were to cease since soldiers were better fighters when not emotionally attached. These secret marriages eventually led to the priest’s death. Another legend suggests that Valentine (the originator of the name) was killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman persecution. According to the stories he was the first writer of a “Valentine.”
This was a love-sick note written during his confinement as he awaited punishment for his crimes. Whatever the source of the holiday, lovers and couples the world over meet together in February to share quiet moments and create special memories. It is also around this time that great love stories are reminisced about and celebrated. This year I was a little slow to “ask” my Valentine to be mine (don’t wait till the last second, friends!) but I’ve enjoyed each opportunity I have had sharing this holiday with my wife that started with a movie date back in early 2013.
LOVE FROM THE AMERICAN SCOUSER CREW
Whether the story graces pages of poetry or is splashed across the silver screen, love stories hold a very significant place in human history. So, during the month of love, it feels apropos that at the time when we can celebrate the people we love, we carve out a minute to look back at the moment we fell in love with Jurgen Klopp. So I put the question to our fellow contributors at American Scouser and here are their stories!
“For me, there are so many moments. But I think the moment, I realized the magic and beauty of what he had brought to the club was the comeback win at home in the second leg of the Europa League against Dortmund when we came back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 on aggregate. It started the “magic for me.” I never EVER believed we were out of any match. This includes the 3-0 to Barcelona at home years later.”
“The perfect fit is something you always hear about. Whether it be for a position at work or with an opening at your favorite club, it is a term that is thrown around quite a bit. 99.99% of the time, the term perfect fit is a complete misnomer. In my four decades on this planet, I haven’t seen a more perfect fit in the sports world than Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. He adopted the city, club, and all of us idiots as his own and did so with a smile. Better yet, he never spurned that identity as successes came but rather embraced it further. Fair play to whoever has the Moyesian responsibility to replace this man.”
“From the moment Klopp stepped up for his initial press conference, it was evident he was the perfect fit. Just as Arsene Wenger was destined to lead Arsenal, Klopp seemed naturally aligned with leading Liverpool’s Kop.
Selecting a single standout moment from his tenure is challenging, given the array of memorable events. These include his applause for the supporters following the West Bromwich Albion draw, his spontaneous embrace with Alisson after Origi’s last-second goal against Everton, the incident where Lallana’s goal celebration resulted in broken glasses for Klopp against Norwich and Mane’s celebratory leap onto Klopp’s back after a decisive goal against Arsenal in his first league match.
However, if I must choose only one, it would be the euphoric aftermath of the 4-0 triumph over Barcelona. Witnessing the entire team and fans unite in singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the Kop end, joined by club legends like Dalglish and Rush, remains an enduring symbol of the unity and spirit fostered by Klopp and his squad.”
“I’m a soccer….err football nerd. And as such I didn’t know what a Jurgen was when I was first presented with shirts that said – THE NORMAL ONE – and weird eyeglasses on some German dude. I also didn’t know what gaffer meant. So when I say noob, I mean NOOOOB. But I do have a favorite memory of Jurgen Klopp and it’s from this season.
During a match that we won, our gaffer ran around the pitch pumping his fists and clapping to LFC supporters. And his wedding ring came off. At that moment I saw the genuine Jurgen. The guy who was freaked right out about losing his wedding ring on a giant field….and you know what….he was showing humanity. In the same way he hugs the players, shares his emotions, and leads this side. Thanks for this and all the memories Jurgen. #YNWA”
“It’s tempting to say that it was love at first sight with Jurgen Klopp. The rumors we were getting him made us feel like a big club again. The big gorgeous smile and “Normal One” press conferences were charming. The two-week period where everyone was saying “gegenpressing” was probably the moment I started seriously studying tactics for the first time.
But the real Jurgen Klopp moment for me wasn’t really anything to do with football. Early in the days of the pandemic, Klopp was asked about it in a press conference. He gave his answer: “I don’t understand politics, I don’t understand coronavirus. Why ask me? All I do is wear a baseball cap and I have a bad shave. Celebrities shouldn’t speak on these serious issues. Leave it to the experts.”
Living in the UK at the time, I had experienced years of political strategy where expertise was denigrated in favor of personality. It’s been catastrophic for the country in many ways, particularly with the response to COVID. Thousands of people died unnecessarily because of the charismatic idiots in charge.
To have a far more powerful, and popular, figurehead like Klopp demonstrate such humility, saying “I am not the expert here”, was such a powerful example of true leadership. We should aspire to have such leaders in all areas of our lives and to be such leaders, too. He’s the Special One who should be the Normal One. I’m so glad he’s been a Red.”
MY PERSONAL LOVE STORY
“I fell in love with Klopp the minute he insisted on having the players walk the field and applaud the Kop following a draw with West Brom in 2015. Pundits, opposing fans, and players laughed at the oddity. I instead saw a man who firmly believed in the club and the players. At a time when it would feel natural to hide within ourselves, he forced us to step forward even when moving forward seemed difficult and unsure. That has been a constant since his appointment. Klopp is a believer. He is a believer not just in the club, but in humanity. I can understand why he has cited being tired as a reason to step away from this project. The constant ability to be optimistic and to inspire others to be better has to take a large mental toll.
I know that no matter what happens come the Summer, Klopp will stand alone in my mind as a testament to the level of human character a person can achieve. The time we have been able to monopolize his energy and vision feels like it has gone too soon, but it will stand as a highlight in my life. So, at this time of lovers, I hope that we all can hold those Klopp memories close and still look forward to the time we have with him. Basking in the determination and belief that he has returned to both our club and our players. Exactly as Klopp intended.“