Danke Jurgen for making us dream and making those dreams come true

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp on board a parade bus after winning the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 2, 2019
Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp on board a parade bus after winning the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 2, 2019 -Credit:2019 Getty Images

Our coverage of Jurgen Klopp's first day at Liverpool saw planes being tracked and black minivans followed. It ended with the news Liverpool’s manager was having a pint on Hardman Street as stunned supporters watched on in disbelief.

The German ended a whirlwind day the same way many of us on Merseyside do - de-stressing with a well-earned pint. And, in many ways, the remarkable nature of the man was summed up in those 24 hours.

He arrived to much fanfare and, within hours, had found the words to ignite the passions of a fanbase still struggling to come to terms with the 2014 near-miss league title and the damned season that followed for Brendan Rodgers' side.

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Klopp inspired us and then reminded us he was normal. On Hardman Street, he put his pint down to take pictures and speak to those who plucked up the courage to approach him. And there were many. He fitted right in on Merseyside from the very beginning. Indeed, the boy from the Black Forest could have easily been born in Belle Vale. And that's why his departure will leave such a big hole.

Our sport department has been spoiled. My colleagues and I have covered nine major cup finals. We've worked on one league title and drawn up plans for one or two more (that unfortunately never saw the light of day). Klopp made us dream.

He made us dream of quadruples, unbeaten seasons and comebacks that, for most other football clubs, would clearly be impossible. How many other clubs even dare to think those possible? But he set that bar. And he made many other dreams come true.

A sixth European Cup. Champions of the World. A nineteenth league title.

For some supporters, that final achievement felt like it might never happen. A thirty-year wait ended and a whole generation of wishes were fulfilled.

And when we needed him, Klopp always found the words. Whether that be talking about Brexit, social justice or appealing directly to the people of Merseyside in this newspaper when covid was raging. He found a way to reach people when many others could not.

He had his moments, of course. He didn't like losing. He didn't like every question, just ask my colleagues...

But in some ways that only proves the point. He was so very normal. He was also so very, very special.

And so what will we do without him?

His are big shoes to fill and it's likely, if not a little negative, to say I may have a few less trophy planning meetings to attend. My rotas might get a little easier.

But hopefully his legacy will endure like Bill Shankly's did before him. He reminded Liverpool Football Club what it should be.

And so the ECHO coverage of Klopp's Liverpool reign will end with days of special reports across these papers. But from all of those privileged enough to have covered his time in charge of the club - Danke Jurgen. Auf wiedersehen. Ta ra. Thank you Luv.

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