Jurgen Klopp bids farewell to Liverpool as 'emotional day' marks the end of an era

Reds manager addresses the capacity crowd at Anfield and tells the fans to embrace change

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Jurgen Klopp encouraged Liverpool fans to embrace change as the departing manager addressed the Anfield crowd on an emotionally charged final day of the Premier League season.

KLOPP AT LIVERPOOL

Years: October 2015 - June 2024
Total games: 491
Win percentage: 60.9%
Major trophies: 6 (Premier League x 1, Champions League x 1, FA Cup x 1, League Cup x 2, Fifa Club World Cup x1)

Moments after Liverpool signed off the Klopp era with a 2-0 win over Wolves, the German took to a stage on the pitch, where players, staff, owners, club greats, and a capacity crowd watched him make his final speech.

"Change is good," said Klopp who leaves having returned Liverpool to elite level and six major trophies richer. "And you never know exactly what to expect, but if you go with the right attitude into that, then everything will be fine."

Klopp then looked ahead to the club's future and led the crowd in a song for incoming Arnie Slot, the Feyenoord manager with enormous shoes to fill.

"What I want you to sing, I have an idea," Klopp said, then launched loudly into: "Arne Slot! Na, na, na, na, na!" as the crowd sang along.

On a day Liverpool fans had been dreading since Klopp announced in January he would leave at the end of the season, the manager sounded genuinely happy rather than heartbroken.

"It doesn't feel like an end. It just feels like the start, because I saw today a football team playing full of talent, youth, creativity, desire, greed," he said.

"In these few weeks where I have had too much attention, I realised a lot of things. People say I turned them from doubters into believers. That's not true.

"I just said we have to. You did it. Nobody tells you to stop believing. This club is in a better moment than a long time. We have this wonderful stadium, training centre and you – the superpower of world football. Wow."

Klopp's team, who were on course to give their manager a fairytale ending before a dip in form last month derailed their title challenge, finished the season third in the table on 82 points, nine behind winners Manchester City and seven behind second-placed Arsenal.

Klopp bade farewell to the Anfield faithful having won 305 matches, including penalty shoot-outs, since joining the Reds in 2015, plus six trophies including the Champions League in 2019 and a first English league title in three decades in 2020.

But he was loved as much for his charisma and passion as his on-field success and it was on full display on Sunday. He was saluted with a guard of honour in the post-game celebrations, and after pausing to wrap an emotional captain Virgil van Dijk in a bear hug, he turned and ran through it again.

"It's a very emotional day," Van Dijk told Sky Sports. "[Klopp] deserves every bit of love that he's getting."

Tears rolled down defender Trent Alexander-Arnold's cheeks while the team stood arm-in-arm and the fans serenaded them with "You'll Never Walk Alone."

"I've never seen or experienced someone who can inspire or motivate with a click of his fingers," Alexander-Arnold said. "If he told me today it was snowing outside, I'd believe him – that's probably the best way of putting it."

Klopp famously introduced himself as "the normal one" in his first Liverpool press conference after his hiring, "but he's definitely a special one for us for the players who played under his leadership," Reds keeper Alisson Becker said.

"His passion, his desire to win things, to achieve things ... but he thinks about the personal side also, he wanted to do everything to make the players feel good to play for his team. I have so many good memories."

While news of Klopp's departure sent shock waves through the football world, the manager said he felt a sense of relief about his decision. His energy for the job was waning, he said. He could not do it on "three wheels."

He looks forward, he told Sunday's crowd, to throwing his energy into being a fan.

"Obviously I saw a lot of people crying and I will tonight, too, because I will miss people, but change is good," he said.

"You welcome the new manager like you welcomed me. You go all in from the first day. You keep believing. You push the team. I'm one of you now. I love you to bits."

And before the final curtain came down on his time with the Merseyside club, Klopp ran the length of the Anfield pitch for one final round of fist pumps with the crowd, and then pointed with two thumbs to the back of his shirt, which read: "I'll never walk alone again."

Updated: May 20, 2024, 6:10 AM
KLOPP AT LIVERPOOL

Years: October 2015 - June 2024
Total games: 491
Win percentage: 60.9%
Major trophies: 6 (Premier League x 1, Champions League x 1, FA Cup x 1, League Cup x 2, Fifa Club World Cup x1)