On 8th October 2015, Jurgen Klopp took the first step towards establishing his dynasty at Liverpool when he was announced as Brendan Rodgers’ replacement at Anfield.
The German has earned the affection of all those on the red side of the city, but he has also gained the respect and admiration of supporters outside of Merseyside. Klopp has never shied away from talking about the big issues happening in the world outside of football, and that is why he is viewed as more than just a football manager - more so a man of the people.
The last six years have seen Liverpool enjoy their best period of success in decades, and Klopp has been the architect of their return to the top. He inherited a squad that was not entirely to his liking and he has slowly built one more adapted to his vision, while also improving many of the players he kept from the era of his predecessor.
Those six years have gone by in a flash, and it is amazing what the 54-year-old has accomplished in the Anfield hot seat. He guided the club to a UEFA Europa League final, before two successive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the prestigious competition at the second attempt. He then added the ultimate prize, leading the club to their first Premier League title in 2019-20.
He has made good players great, and his man-management is about as good as the English top-flight has ever seen. Due to his quick evolution at Liverpool he has also helped create one of the best title rivalries in the league with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, as last weekend’s enthralling 2-2 draw proved.
The great German’s tenure has been nothing short of incredible, and while he is adored for his contributions on the field, he is equally appreciated for speaking out on key issues within society off it. Over the course of his time in charge of the Reds, Klopp has always spoken up on subjects within society, whether that be racism, equality, Covid or politics.
“This is absolutely a society problem, and we have to show finally – and hopefully for the last time – that we are all the same,” Klopp said when talking about equality last year.
“It is just unbelievable that we still have to talk about it because things happen still.
“It is not that we just have discussions about black managers and things like this, we should talk about it in all parts of life in all leading roles… Why should anybody make a difference between two people because of one thing that is absolutely not influential?
“I will never understand it, I have never understood it. But in this moment, it’s about making a clear stance from all of us.
“If football is a role model for anything in life then it is for that – for equality. Where everybody is exactly the same, wherever you come from, you are absolutely the same. It’s all about who you are, not which colour you have or whatever.”
The Liverpool boss has never been afraid to speak up for what is right, and that is why more than just Liverpool supporters show such an appreciation for him. He recently weighed in on the debate regarding Covid-19 vaccinations, highlighting the importance of people getting jabbed. Following a report that highlighted that five senior England players had not been jabbed, Klopp voiced his disappointment.
“I would just appeal to these people, whether they are footballers, whoever it is… that the vaccines are working," he said.
“They are role models in society. People, especially young people, I think will look up to them and they should recognise that and the difference that can make in terms of encouraging others.”
The use of his platform to spread positive messages is why Klopp's popularity has rocketed since he arrived on these shores. He’s willing to speak out on key issues in the hopes of making society better for everyone and not just a few. He understands his position, but he always remembers his own background in Germany where the working class are the backbone of the economy. It’s one of the many reasons why the Kop have come to love and cherish him and it is why he has become relatable to so many people across the UK.
Of course, in the beautiful game, his efforts on the pitch are remembered more, but the way he addresses societal problems is what makes him more than just a football manager – he's an advocate for a fair and just society. Here’s to another six years of Klopp on Merseyside.