This quote from Jürgen Klopp became one of his most well-known and helped him gain even more attention from a larger and more intrigued audience. It was said in November 2013 when the popular Borussia Dortmund manager was in the spotlight and had fans all over, particularly in England.
In the summer of that year, Manchester City and Chelsea both expressed interest in him. Now, he was getting ready to face Arsenal, a Premier League team also looking to recruit him, in a Champions League group match. Some Arsenal fans saw Klopp as the perfect replacement for Arsène Wenger, which brings to mind the prolonged end of Wenger’s tenure. The Frenchman would not leave until 2018.
Both managers had some commonalities such as their career paths, focus on developing young players, and preference for an entertaining style of play. However, Klopp did not fully identify with these similarities. He described his own style as more aggressive and compared it to heavy metal music, while likening the other manager’s style to a more delicate orchestral performance.
Klopp was engaging in conversation with a small group of English reporters and they distinctly recall every aspect. Klopp has a way of drawing people in like this. The charisma, the hearty laughter, the strength of his demeanor and character. The liveliness, which can sometimes be eccentric. Or intense.
Klopp, like other legendary coaches, has a knack for building strong relationships. It seemed likely that he would eventually move to the Premier League, despite his insistence that he would not leave until 2018 due to his recent contract extension with Dortmund. However, unexpected circumstances can always arise.
Manchester United had their sights on him. Sir Alex Ferguson, who was retiring, had spotted him at Wembley after his team, Klopp’s team, had lost to Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Ferguson took the opportunity to congratulate him on his performance. However, when Klopp decided to make a move in 2015, there was only one place that felt like the right fit – Liverpool. The match between Klopp and Liverpool seemed almost too perfect.
Klopp has joined the ranks of legendary Premier League managers, alongside names like Ferguson, Wenger, Guardiola, and Mourinho. Following his shocking announcement on Friday that he is exhausted and reaching his physical limits, he has no choice but to step down at the end of the season. This news has sparked numerous tributes, reminiscent of a statement made by Wenger upon leaving Arsenal. “I no longer have to experience death because I already know what it feels like,” he said.
Klopp’s impressive nine-year tenure at Liverpool is being looked back on, which could potentially impede the momentum he wants to create as he aims to leave with a strong finish. This is something he must address. However, Klopp is known for his determined approach, constantly fighting and giving his all each day.
The 56-year-old has achieved success in all of Liverpool’s major competitions, although perhaps not to the extent he desired. Ferguson’s main disappointment at United was winning only two European Cups. Klopp would have three with Liverpool had it not been for two losses in the finals against Real Madrid. As for Klopp’s number of league titles, he has been unlucky to face Guardiola’s dominant City team. In 2019 and 2022, Liverpool earned 97 and 92 points respectively, which would have been enough for a championship win in most other instances.
Klopp plans to increase his total of seven significant victories with Liverpool before he departs. He has the team competing in all three domestic competitions, as well as the Europa League. In terms of achievements in English football, he is behind Ferguson (38), Wenger (17), Guardiola (16 and still counting), and Mourinho (11).
According to the data, Klopp has the third highest points-per-game average in Premier League history, ranking below Guardiola and Ferguson, but above Mourinho and Wenger. His overall win percentage of 60.7 is also the highest among all Liverpool managers. However, it is Klopp’s success in less tangible areas that truly sets him apart.
The Liverpool crowd has been very enthusiastic about the style of play and intensity that this team has brought. Their competitiveness and entertainment value should not be overlooked. The coach’s pressing strategy has revolutionized English football.
But ultimately, it all goes back to the connection. This is what makes Klopp highly regarded among Liverpool supporters and begrudgingly respected by fans of other teams. Do these opposing fans find his outbursts on the sidelines bothersome? Absolutely. However, do they also desire that level of unwavering passion from their own coach? Yes, they do.
Klopp’s impact on his club goes beyond just asserting his authority, as all great leaders do. He has also connected with the collective mindset of the larger community of Liverpool, fostering a strong sense of identity and unity.
“I am incredibly proud to be a noble scouser, it is the greatest achievement of my life,” said Klopp during a Friday interview. “The resilience and perseverance shown by these individuals is truly inspiring and has taught me a great deal.”
Klopp gets Liverpool, mainly because his values chime with those of the city. An incurable romantic, he likes to paint his teams as the plucky, hard-working outsiders up against those with more money. He did it at Dortmund with Bayern. And for Bayern then, read City now. It is a move that usually plays well and it has underscored the restoration of Liverpool’s aura of confidence.
When Klopp stated that he would be stepping down due to feeling like his “energy level was endless and now it is not,” some may have been tempted to search for a different, perhaps more controversial or conspiratorial reason. However, his explanation holds up and remains genuine and consistent.
Rewind back to Wednesday evening at Fulham, following Klopp’s team’s advancement to the Carabao Cup final. The Liverpool fans had displayed a banner that read: “Can you imagine being in our position?” So, how does it feel? “There are certainly worse situations,” Klopp answered. But he quickly shifted to discussing the stress of a packed schedule of upcoming matches. “Imagine being in our shoes and having to play all the games we have on our plate,” he added. “That’s not as enjoyable as watching them.”
In the past, Wenger stated that one must possess animal-like physicality in this profession. This requirement will inevitably catch up with you at some point. After his time at Barcelona in 2012, Guardiola took a year-long break.
The main topic of discussion is why Klopp has chosen to announce this now. It is believed that he wants to give Liverpool enough time and clarity to prepare for the future, although the news has been shared earlier than expected. Klopp’s intention is to avoid making the remaining matches of the season about himself. Good luck with that, Jürgen. Another possibility is that the team will be motivated by this prolonged farewell.
Ferguson’s declaration in May 2001 that the upcoming season would be his final one at United is reminiscent of a similar situation. However, he later acknowledged it was a mistake as many players had mentally checked out. Ultimately, he changed his mind in January and remained until 2013.
When Ferguson retired, he made a sudden announcement with only two games left in the season. It is not relevant to compare Mourinho’s Premier League departures as he did not have control over them, but Wenger also announced his retirement suddenly with seven matches remaining in the 2017-2018 season.
The FA Cup match against Norwich on Sunday marks the start of Klopp’s farewell tour. It is expected to be a passionate and sentimental event, which the manager thrives on.