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Jurgen Klopp has taken Liverpool into the future. Now he’s letting go.


For Jurgen Klopp, the montage will be long and emotional. Naturally there are clever drone shots of the Liverpool skyline. There will be slow-motion shots of red and white scarves spinning and twisting. There will be, definitely a thrilling, possibly classic soundtrack.

But most importantly, after Klopp announced on Friday that he would Resigns as Liverpool managerthere will be images of all the memories he left behind: bus parades and trophy liftings, fist pumps and hugs, rich and widespread images of glory.

Chances are, when they arrive – and they will arrive in large numbers as Klopp’s final game at the club approaches the end of May – they won’t stay too long immediately after the 2-2 draw with West . against Bromwich Albion in 2015, a game that lifted Liverpool to the dizzying heights of ninth in the Premier League.

More than eight years later, however, that night feels both like a signpost of what was to come and a summary of how to get there. Klopp had only been in charge of Liverpool for a few months at the time. In hindsight, though, it was very similar to the moment Liverpool became his club.

To recap: a patchwork Liverpool side needed a last-gasp goal from Divock Origi (another leitmotif) to keep a point at home against West Brom. At the end of the game, Klopp insisted his players walk hand in hand to the Kop, the towering stand that is home to Liverpool’s most passionate fans, and thanked them for their efforts.

In Germany this is standard practice. Klopp has known since he was young that this is what the team will do, or should do, in almost every game regardless of the result. However, England’s bleak and distant past in 2015 is unfamiliar. This is not what British teams do. Or worse: it’s a foreign affectation.

So the fans did what they always do when faced with uninvited imports: they immediately misunderstood it, mocking Klopp for encouraging his players”celebrateAt home against West Brom.

Klopp’s view of Liverpool over the years has made it difficult to imagine the Liverpool he found when he agreed to become Liverpool manager in October 2015 could exist. It’s not just that the team he inherited didn’t exist. A particularly successful one – the Luis Suarez-inspired title challenge in 2014 was a beacon of mediocrity – it lacked any real idea of ​​how to succeed again.

Fenway Sports Group, the club’s owners, made several smart appointments in an attempt to turn it into a bastion of modernity – sporting director Michael Edwards and Ian Graham, who later became director of research. Ian Graham) – but their appointments have been met with resistance. Input from coach Brendan Rodgers. Over the years, the club has seemed to lack consensus, direction and even, to some extent, purpose.

This has trickled down to the stands. Of course, all fan bases contain a diversity of opinions, but Liverpool’s opinion has seemed irreconcilably divided over the years. Some people love data-driven American bosses, some hate them. Some people believe it is their duty to protest. Some people feel they have a duty to protest. Think this is bordering on treason. Some supported Rodgers. Some yearn for the return of trophy-winning seniors such as Kenny Dagley or even Rafael Benitez. Each camp believes the other is not only misguided but also somewhat malicious.

Of course, the football world believes that a coach’s legacy can be measured relatively easily. For a club like Liverpool, it’s measured in silver and gold medals: it’s something measurable. By these standards, Klopp will be assessed as more than nice.

He led Liverpool to win the Premier League Championship, Champions League Championship, Club World Cup Championship, European Super Cup Championship, FA Cup Championship and League Cup Championship. (Of course, he may yet win more trophies: Liverpool are still alive in four competitions this season) and have reached the final of one of them already.) He is without doubt the club’s finest manager of the modern era and certainly deserves to be included in the pantheon of Premier League greats.

There are other milestones that add to his credentials. He has repeatedly set the highest points record in Premier League history. At one point, he scored 106 of 108 points in a league that bills itself as the best in the world. From 2018 to 2022, he led Liverpool to three Champions League finals in five years.

Of course, among the tribal boredom of football fans, this is taken as a sign that he should win more.Even Klopp sometimes wonders if life could be more pleasant. If Guardiola and Manchester City weren’t thereA kinder interpretation would suggest that Klopp’s Liverpool have not only shown remarkable consistency, but that their occasional defeats have also humanized him and his team.

However, the best coaches should not be evaluated solely by how much they win, but by what they leave behind. It was under Klopp that Liverpool transformed from a faded giant, a nostalgic brand, into a possibility – at least alongside Manchester. Cities – the most advanced, cutting-edge modern superpower in the game.

Klopp is proud to be a natural empowerer. He didn’t understand how the club’s data department arrived at its conclusions. He doesn’t pretend he knows how their algorithms or data pipelines work. But he knew he trusted their judgment, and he wanted to work with them rather than against them.

So instead of resisting, he empowered Edwards and Graham to lead the club’s recruitment efforts. One story is that when Klopp wanted to sign German playmaker Julian Brandt in the summer of 2017, Edwards was no timid violet and he had to have a hard time convincing him that Mohamed Salah was Better choice.

This same approach is present in almost every aspect of the club’s existence. He ceded control of the players’ diets to him. Mona Nemer, a nutritionist he hired from Bayern Munich. They used to joke that one day the club should publish a recipe book. Regardless, Neimo thought they were joking. Book Coming out in 2021.

On top of that, Klopp outsourced the job of making Anfield majestic again to the fans, and West Bromwich Albion didn’t think they might steal a point or three. Asked to be a little combative, fans exhorted to be more vocal, and even those who didn’t want to join were encouraged to give their tickets to someone else.

However, it’s worth it. What has distinguished Liverpool over eight years is a sense of unity, something he has deliberately created. The awkward moment against West Brom was the first step in rebuilding the connection between the pitch and the stands between players and fans.

Ultimately, that’s what the best managers do. No one is greater than the team. Players and coaches are fleeting and temporary. The institution of the club is timeless. But only occasionally does a character emerge who, through sheer force of personality, can bend, shape and twist a club’s identity with such charisma that it can change the code of a place.

Liverpool – not alone, but perhaps more prone to this than most teams. In a way, it craves it. This is a club passionate about the theories of historical greats, a place in desperate need of a leader to follow, an idol worth worshiping, a creed worth believing in. Klopp fits the bill perfectly.

The Liverpool he left in May was clearly his, not the same Liverpool he found, not the same Liverpool he had before. Its style of play, rooted in the high-pressing philosophy Klopp brought from Germany, is his, but so is its faith in data, its desire for experimentation, its belief that success is collective rather than individual. All credit to Klopp. All of this is what he left behind, and the best measure of his legacy: The place he left is not the same place he found.



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