Farewell to England: Klopp era in Liverpool ends with victory and great emotions

Jürgen Klopp clapped his right hand on his heart and sent a kiss to the stands. There, his wife Ulla shed a few tears, which Klopp himself was initially able to suppress successfully.

After several hugs, the German coach disappeared into the dressing room after his very last competitive game for Liverpool FC, only to say goodbye to the fans half an hour later with emotional words and gestures. Not wistful, but proud, grateful and optimistic about the future.

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe it. I’m so happy about the atmosphere, about the game, about being part of this family and about us celebrating this day,” said Klopp after the 2-0 win (2:0) against Wolverhampton Wanderers into the stadium microphone.

Anfield prepares for a bitter farewell: full house until the end

He wore a red hoodie with the inscription “I’ll never walk alone again” based on the club anthem “You’ll never walk alone”. “It doesn’t feel like the end, but like a start,” added Klopp, whose speech was repeatedly interrupted by fan chants. He himself sang a song for his Dutch successor Arne Slot – and the audience sang along enthusiastically: “Arne Slot, na, na, na, na…”

The 57-year-old had previously walked through a line formed by his players after his 491st and final game for the Reds. He took off his black cap, hugged captain Virgil van Dijk – and then ran through the trellis a second time with a mischievous grin.

Hardly any spectators had left Anfield Road after the final whistle, they all wanted to give Klopp the well-deserved farewell applause. Even in the final minutes, hardly anyone remained in their seats, and Klopp was honored with ovations. He watched the goings-on in the stands from his red coach’s bench almost in disbelief. At times, he even looked down at the ground in shame, wearing a black cap. “I’m in game mode,” Klopp said on Sky immediately before kick-off: “People called it ‘The last dance’ – so let’s dance.”

Klopp on the attention: Difficult to process

But the people around him didn’t necessarily make it easy for him to maintain professionalism on the final day of the Premier League. On one side of the stands his first name was presented with red banners in large letters, on the other a huge heart in the colors black, red and gold could be seen. Chants like “I’m so glad that Jürgen is a Red” echoed through the arena. The club icon is also honored in the official stadium brochure – and even in German on the front page: “Thank you Jürgen.”

Family, friends, companions – they also came and all wanted a hug with Klopp. He wasn’t happy with all the attention. “I don’t think I would wish this situation on anyone. It’s very difficult to process it as a human being. Everyone sings my name – I’m not sure we’re made for that,” said the 56-year-old: “I’m trying to to put as much distance as I can.” But that was difficult for him. When there were no spectators in the stadium, Klopp stood alone at the center of the pitch in an almost spiritual moment.

Keep in touch with the Reds fans: “See you around”

One day before his farewell game, Klopp had already addressed the fans with emotional words on social media. “On October 8, 2015, we met properly for the first time. I would call it a love affair,” said the coach in a two-minute video on his new Instagram account called “Kloppo” – Jürgen Klopp, The Normal One. “From day one, it was an absolutely incredible time. I enjoyed it so much and I want to thank you so much for all the support and strength you have given us over the years.”

In the video, which also shows the most emotional moments of his eight and a half years as coach at the Reds, Klopp sits in his office. One last time. He said it was very difficult for him to leave this “incredible place.” That’s also why he wants to “stay in touch with the fans. And even though I’m not a social media person, people have told me that social media helps with that. So, let’s go. See you around.” A day later, the video already had more than 26 million likes and 1.6 million people had already followed Klopp’s account.

Klopp on the “best time” at the “best club”

But it’s not just the fans who don’t want to forget Klopp so quickly. “We will stay in touch forever, for life. It’s not just a working relationship,” said Liverpool offensive star Mohamed Salah on Sky. “We helped each other a lot and we gave everything for the club to win trophies, everyone can see that.”

The former Mainz and Dortmund Bundesliga coach led Liverpool to, among other things, the championship in England and triumph in the Champions League. But his work at Anfield also included dramatic defeats. “I know we could have won more,” admitted Klopp, “but that’s okay with me.” He spent his “best time” at “the best club I could have imagined”.