OPINION: Replacing Klopp off the pitch will be Liverpool's biggest job


OPINION: Replacing Klopp off the pitch will be Liverpool's biggest job

Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the season
Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the seasonProfimedia, Flashscore
Jurgen Klopp (56) will leave Liverpool at the end of the current season, which will open up an alluring if not seemingly impossible job at the Anfield helm in the summer.

Replacing the manager will be one task for the Reds, but replacing the man himself will be the biggest responsibility for whoever takes Klopp's place.

We could wax lyrical about the German's winning power during his Liverpool reign, but the honours accrued speak for themselves - you can check them out here.

There are numerous qualities that make Klopp the perfect manager for the Merseyside club.

For that reason, the new Liverpool manager from next season doesn't need to be Jurgen 2.0 - but rather, simply, the genuine version of themselves.

'The normal one'

One of the first things Klopp said after joining Liverpool was that he is "the normal one", which is a play on Jose Mourinho's nickname "the special one".

To be clear, he didn't call out the former Chelsea boss in his first press conference; he was prompted by a journalist to put his own spin on it.

Klopp, far from 'normal' by most definitions of the word, is one of the more genuine characters in world football.

There are people in the sporting spotlight who are an enhanced or altered version of themselves when the cameras are rolling, but it's quite clear Jurgen is the man he presents himself to be.

It's difficult to put that into words (his vibe, essentially), so enjoy the compilation of his refreshing personality below:

Klopp isn't driven entirely by success either; he obviously wants to achieve things and celebrates when his team wins, quite heavily too, but he clearly also enjoys the sport and what it entails.

Two things that come to mind to that end; when he smiles and sometimes laughs after his team concedes a goal. Another is when he refuses to see a defeat as a complete loss - something fans who don't take football too seriously also do often.

"I’m completely happy about the full performance," Klopp said after losing the Community Shield to Manchester City in 2019.

He described the match as "pre-season" in the extended quote, but silverware is still silverware and he remained fairly positive after being beaten at Wembley.

"I liked the game a lot," he said. "I don’t like the result but I liked the game a lot, so for us, it was very, very important."

Additionally, Klopp has always been quick to shower his managerial team with credit - these are the people who make it easier for him to remain 'normal', for lack of a better word.

Some successful managers over the years have appeared robotic, or at least very serious - think of Rafa Benitez, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Didier Deschamps, or even Pep Guardiola to some degree - you see less of their genuine personality, how they behave when relaxed, and more of their work-mode brain.

Perhaps it's something those of Klopp's era benefit from (overlapping the social media boom) that other managers didn't, but this clip shows a side of the man that isn't engulfed by football.

Man of the people

Klopp was given freedom of the city of Liverpool in 2022, which made him the second non-British person to receive the honour (the other being none other than Nelson Mandela).

That gesture will be a surviving symbol of the impact the German will leave on the area; he will be remembered for much more than being a manager of a football club.

There are countless things to point at and say "he's alright, isn't he?" for Jurgen - from people bumping into him with his dog in Formby, to him writing out personal letters to supporters going through rough patches - but two things from over the years have remained at the forefront of my mind.

The first goes back to Klopp not allowing defeats to crush his spirit.

After losing the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid, when supporters were crestfallen, the Klopp household was still in high spirits - see the video below.

Did he know he would guide Liverpool to their sixth title just 12 months later? Probably not, but he certainly had his eyes on the bigger picture...

When the Reds finally got their hands on the Champions League trophy again, after beating Tottenham in the 2019 final, a victory parade through the city was due.

Klopp has always been a family man - with his wife, Ulla, silently his centre of gravity away from the pitch.

That's not unique to Jurgen, of course, but given the context of just how influential she has been in his career, it does add some extra weight.

According to Reds legend Phil Thompson, Ulla prevented Klopp from joining Manchester United before he signed for Liverpool in 2016.

Speaking to Norway's TV 2, Thompson added: "When Liverpool arrived, his wife said it right: 'There is something strange there. It is as if he's created for Liverpool.'"

Ulla has also been credited with helping Klopp decide to leave his former club Borussia Dortmund after seven years when it appeared the job had begun to suck the life out of the man.

Klopp signed a contract extension with Liverpool in 2022, despite concerns he may opt for another break from football after being with the club since 2015.

As part of the announcement, the German quipped: "'Why?' is now the question. Because Ulla wants to stay and, as a good husband, what are you doing when your wife wants to stay? You are staying."

With all that in mind, the image of her below - being supported on a public bin by two locals during the aforementioned victory parade - does tug on the heartstrings a little bit more.

It's just another example of Klopp, and his family, really buying into Liverpool and throwing their entirety behind the club, the supporters and the city.

Every football club has an 'it' that fans talk about (a sort of unspoken bond; "he gets it") and, for the Reds, they get 'it' entirely.


This is a touchy subject, so I won't be making any grand statements here, but both Liverpool and Everton have a reputation for having left-leaning supporters.

That isn't to say other clubs don't, nor is it to say all Scousers wind down with a copy of The Communist Manifesto before bed. You can read more about it here because this article isn't a political discussion.

With that said, though, and factoring in Klopp's willingness to speak his mind, his saying “I'm on the left, of course,” in an interview with Raphael Honigstein (for his book Klopp: Bring the Noise) was always going to go down well with the Anfield faithful.

“More left than middle," he continued. "I believe in the welfare state, I'm not privately insured, I would never vote for a party because they promised to lower the top tax rate.

“My political understanding is this, if I am doing well, I want others to do well too. If there's something I will never do in my life it is vote for the right.”

In a way, it echoes Bill Shankly: "The socialism I believe in is everyone working for each other, everyone having a share of the rewards. It's the way I see football, the way I see life."

Liverpool's next manager doesn't need to be a staunch socialist - the club's US-based ownership, FSG, certainly aren't - but it does provide a bonus layer of suitability.

At the end of a storm...

To finish, this is not an exhaustive list of all the things that make Klopp the brilliant man that he is.

Books have been written and more will be written that could delve into that topic in vastly more detail.

These are just the ramblings of one Liverpool fan, who wanted to get out a few of his thoughts and feelings in light of Klopp's impending departure.

He is the embodiment of the famous Shankly quote "Liverpool was made for me and I was made for Liverpool".

Shanks comes up for a second time because Klopp and himself share one key common trait; they've both been, in a way, spiritual leaders for the Liverpool fanbase.

To be sure, Klopp would be - and has been - the 'perfect' manager for other clubs around the world, but that doesn't take away from the fact he has been and still is the ideal man for Liverpool.

And for the new manager... to call back to a line I wrote earlier, they don't need to be Klopp 2.0; they just need to be themselves earnestly and buy into Liverpool, which includes everything else that comes with the players kicking around a ball.



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