Thursday, 13 Jun, 2024

Sports

Anfield awash with emotion as Klopp says farewell

Sports Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2024-05-20 10:19:05
Anfield awash with emotion as Klopp says farewell photo collected

Jurgen Klopp punctuated his opening-day mission statement as Liverpool manager by insisting it is not important what people think about you when you arrive, the true measure of achievement is what they think about you when you leave.

As a beaming Klopp disappeared down the tunnel for the final time as Liverpool manager in front of packed stands at 6.46pm on a glorious Merseyside Sunday night, the German was in no doubt about Anfield's feelings.

Klopp, clad in a red T-shirt with 'I'll Never Walk Alone Again' on the rear and 'Thank You Luv' - the phrase he closely associates with the city of Liverpool - on the front, was accompanied by roars of appreciation, smiles and plenty of tears.

It was the finale of a nine-year thrill ride summed up by a banner stretching across the full length of The Kop before kick-off that provided a neat three-word summary of Klopp's reign from first day to last.

"Doubters. Believers. Conquerors."

Liverpool ended a season that brought third place and a Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that gave Klopp his 299th victory in 491 games. Of 167 league games at Anfield, he lost only 12.

This was a football match that took place around Klopp, not in front of him.

Indeed, until the celebrations and tributes kicked into gear near the final whistle, the normally highly animated, often agitated, manager was a low-key figure.

Klopp did not stalk the technical area, instead sitting alongside his loyal, long-time lieutenant Peter Krawietz, seemingly content to just take in the closing 90 minutes at the place where he has built a legend.

This was the day when Liverpool and their supporters wanted nothing other than to pay homage to Klopp, his crowning achievements being winning the Champions League in 2019 - the club's sixth win in the competition - then bringing the league title back to Anfield for the first time in 30 years the following year.

From the moment thousands of Liverpool fans basked in the sunshine on Anfield Road hours before kick-off waiting to greet Klopp one last time as he took his seat at the front of the team coach, this was an occasion that went through the full range of emotions he has brought to the club.

As soon as foot was set inside Anfield, the playlist set the tone with All Things Must Pass by George Harrison followed by The Monkees' I'm A Believer - another reference to Klopp's "we must turn doubters into believers" message in his opening address.

There was even a somewhat suspect German version of The Beatles' I Feel Fine, the anthem adopted by Liverpool's fans as I'm So Glad Jurgen Is A Red.

Klopp looked emotional as Anfield belted out You'll Never Walk Alone, owner John W Henry flying in from Boston, impassive behind his sunglasses, to take a seat in the directors' box shortly before kick-off, wanting to deliver his own personal thanks to the man who helped him fulfil the dreams he had for Liverpool.

Three sides of Anfield were transformed by mosaics - 'Danke' in the Anfield Road, 'Jurgen' stretching the expanse of the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand, with 'YNWA' on The Kop.

Klopp stayed seated, head bowed, clad in a black baseball cap and black T-shirt. The final act of a dramatic sporting story had begun.

In reality, the game was little more than a pleasant backdrop to the Klopp farewell - first-half goals from Alex Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah giving Liverpool a deserved 2-0 win.

And then it was time for the finale all Anfield had been waiting for.

Seconds from the final whistle, Klopp stood up and went along his backroom team one by one, all grabbed in the familiar bearhug.

His only mis-step all afternoon was going slightly too early through a guard of honour formed by Liverpool's players and officials, but no matter - he did another lap for good measure before approaching a platform of club dignitaries to thunderous roars and applause.

He made his way down a line including Henry, chief executive Billy Hogan, chairman Tom Werner and club legend Sir Kenny Dalglish before receiving a presentation recording the honours he has brought to Anfield.

Klopp delivered a pre-recorded message on giant screens to Borussia Dortmund's supporters when he left the club, after breaking down in tears when he addressed fans on leaving Mainz.

No such worries this time.

Anfield has no screens but this was no problem for Klopp, who was in boisterous mood as he took the microphone.

He said "I'm so happy. I can't believe it" before bursting into song as an instrument for passing the Liverpool torch from himself to soon-to-be-annointed successor Arne Slot.

Simply replacing his own name with Slot's, Klopp told Anfield what they must do when the Dutchman arrives, singing: "Arne Slot, na na na na na" to the tune of Opus' Live Is Life.

As with all Klopp's demands, expect them to follow to the letter.

If Slot was watching, he may have felt daunted by the task of replacing a manager and personality plenty believe is irreplaceable but he would have been hugely grateful for such an endorsement from his predecessor, even if it was a musical one.

Preaching to the most converted fanbase in football, Klopp said: "We have you, the superpower of world football. We decide if we are worried or excited. We decide if we believe. We decide if we trust or don't trust and since today I am one of you and I keep believing in you."

And then it was time for one final round of Klopp fist pumps in front of The Kop, this time accompanied by his support staff, met with the usual staccato roars.

Anfield demanded one final encore of a scene acted out at the end of so many triumphs. Klopp obliged - six for The Kop and three for the surrounding stands.

"I love you to bits," shouted Klopp, who delivering an optimistic parting shot as he said: "It doesn't feel like an end. It just feels like a start. Today I saw a football team full of talent, youth, creativity, desire and greed."

As Klopp pulled out of Anfield late on Sunday night and left Liverpool behind after his long farewell, the curtain closed on an era.

The murals adorning the sides of houses close to Anfield will remain as reminders of the seismic impact Jurgen Klopp had on Liverpool - but the man who made doubters believers was gone

Source: BBC

BDST: 1018 HRS, MAY 20, 2024
SMS 

All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.