Jurgen Klopp shoots down shout from the crowd as tearful farewell hasn't sunk in yet

Jurgen Klopp's event at the M&S Bank Arena brought the curtain down on his reign in charge of Liverpool FC
-Credit: (Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)


It's a moment I've been dreading.

The idea of Jurgen Klopp not being the Liverpool FC manager is a thought that has haunted me for years and last night was the final time I got to see him with my own eyes while he is the current boss. The legendary manager has been the architect of some of the greatest nights of my life and having him in charge of the team I support while I was in my 20s has truly been a blessing.

Raising a glass to the outgoing boss (I'm still not ready to say former until June) should have made Tuesday night a sad occasion as I waved goodbye to the footballing love of my life, a one off who can surely never be beaten. However, an Evening With Jurgen Klopp at the M&S Bank Arena was far from a sad affair as it was a joyous celebration of an incredible nine years that will forever live in the memory for anybody lucky enough to experience it.

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In the cutthroat world of modern football, Klopp's long goodbye has been refreshing and the likes of which we may never see again. The unique nature of the event was summed up within moments as the evening was kicked off with a video message from Daniel Craig. I'm not sure any other football manager in history can lay claim to having a tribute from James Bond at their final farewell.

The Hollywood actor branded Klopp his "hero" and led the way for a host of famous faces paying tribute to the manager's legacy. The outpouring of emotion towards Klopp from all corners of the world since he announced his exit in January has been overwhelming and a testament to the self described "relationship collector's" ability to forge special bonds with people.

Klopp took over at a time when the club had lost its way and thousands of fans gathered in the sold out arena to say thanks for how he changed them from doubters into believers. However, throughout Klopp's Q&A with John Bishop and Peter McDowall, it was fascinating to see how much the manager has been changed by the city.

Klopp is proud of his status as an honorary Liverpudlian and spoke again of how privileged he was to receive the freedom of the city in 2022. The 56-year-old received a huge round of applause when he arrived on stage and said he was the third Scouser to sell out the M&S Bank Arena, after Paul McCartney and Jamie Webster.

Soundbites such as this would seem forced in less charismatic hands, but it has always came naturally to the manager, who once again earned the adulation of the thousands in attendance as he freely discussed all aspects of his managerial reign. A prevalent theme he couldn't help but return to throughout the chat was his love for the city and its people.

Klopp admitted it was a culture shock when he first arrived at Liverpool and joked he thought he was coming to England, but soon realised he was in "Scouseland" and things were different here. He has since gone on to become one of "Scouseland's" greatest ambassadors and, the more you hear from him, the more bizarre it is to find he wasn't actually raised in the city.

It's clear Klopp has picked up Liverpudlian turns of phrase that will stick with him for the rest of his life as he wanted "thank you luv" to be the slogan for his exit and ended his final address to fans last night by telling the crowd he "loves them to bits". All of this is why the final chapter of the farewell wasn't as painful as I had feared.

Over the course of an emotional few months, fans have had time to get used to the prospect that Klopp won't be in charge next season and the departing manager has been keen to usher in the new Arne Slot era. Last night, Klopp was once again frank about how he needs a refresh and looked like a man content with what he has achieved across his run in charge at the club.

It is clear he is looking forward to the break from football and, when talking about what is next on the horizon, he was keen to shut down a singular shout of "come back" from the crowd. He scoffed as he said: "Come back? I will be back to watch games."

Klopp's time on the touchline, and as a resident of Formby, has reached its end - but his bond to the city will never be broken. Even as he rides into the sunset to play padel in Mallorca, the manager's connection with the club has just entered a new era as he confirmed he will become an ambassador for the LFC Foundation and all the profits from last night's event would be donated to the charity.

Whatever comes next for the German, he will always carry the city of Liverpool's influence too as Tuesday's event was as much a party in celebration of the region as it was Klopp's time here. The discussion with the manager was broken up by musical performances from The Zutons and Lightning Seeds, as the manager wanted to pay tribute to the three things represented by Liverpool: "Music, football and life."

Getting used to someone leaving who understood the club and city so strongly as Klopp did will take some getting used to, but last night was a great way to bring down the curtain on his remarkable reign in style. As a fan, I exited the arena as content as the manager looked at the end of the evening.

Although, I may be talking a big game as I'm not too sure the emotional moment of him breaking down in tears as the crowd sing the Klopp song has truly hit yet.

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