Dear Jurgen Klopp
A night in May 2018, unable to watch the match because of a splitting headache and unable to sleep because of the match, the only option I had was to keep checking the score. We lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final after such an amazing run of games.
We looked unstoppable, dangerous, scoring goals for fun throughout the tournament. Things looked so bright for Liverpool those days. Then it came to a jarring halt in the final.
If we parted ways back then, I would have still remembered you with a smile on my face. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end.
From Doubter to Believer
The first message you wanted to give us fans after you joined the club was “You must change from doubter to believer. Now.” How did you know? How did you know that was what was needed at that moment? It was hard to believe to be honest and doubts lingered, yet with your beaming smile and rallying call, hope was kindled.
What ensued in the following months was some great football with great results mixed with dreadful performances with depressing results. We reached the League Cup final and lost. We reached the the Europa League final and lost.
None of that mattered. Liverpool were on an upward trajectory.
Celebrating a Draw
That upward trajectory culminated with us being champions of England, champions of Europe and champions of the World. These are the glorious moments that I and all fans around the world remember fondly.
There is one moment amongst many, however, that I (and many others) consider as pivotal to your time at Liverpool. It was a normal, yet important, league game against West Brom, back in the winter of 2015. Three points were at stake. This was a time when fans were fed up with the team, and knew that staying for the whole game didn’t matter because this team didn’t have the mettle to fight back.
We were losing the game again but at the death, we scored, rescuing the game and getting at least a point. You brought all the players to come forward and thank the fans for staying till the end of the game.
It looked like the team was celebrating a draw, the likes of which aren’t usually seen in the country. Trolls on social media mercilessly capitalized on the moment (and still do, the dimwits). But you knew what you were doing. You were thanking the fans for changing from doubters to believers.
“Who Is The Greatest German? Martin Luther“
In a fun interview, your answer to the question, “who is the greatest ever German?” was Martin Luther, the man who sparked a literal reformation of Christianity in the 16th century. I’ve always wondered if you also live by the principles that guided Martin Luther, and if you live by the same faith that Martin Luther had in God. I wonder if the way you approach your job flows from the belief in the same God.
Maybe that’s why you care about both the professional and personal side of players. It’s not just about improving their game but improving them as people. What you’ve always looked for in players is just not ability but character too. Your idea of players “pushing the train, not jumping on a running train” has stuck with me.
I admire the importance you place on fostering a bond of brotherhood amongst players, the attitude of “I’ve got your back”. I love that you’ve considered even the training ground and kitchen staff as vital to the success of LFC.
There are so many things that make me thankful that you are the one who is coaching Liverpool Football Club. The results don’t always go our way but that doesn’t dampen the fact that you’ve done your own kind reformation at the club.
So dear Kloppo, from the bottom of my heart: thank you.
A lot of insight into the workings of Jurgen Klopp was from Raphael Honigstein’s book “Klopp: Bring the Noise”. You can enjoy the book even if you’re not a fan.
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