Exploring Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool: The Reds’ Manager’s Favorite Spots and Special Memories as He Bids Farewell

Exploring Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool: The Reds’ Manager’s Favorite Spots and Special Memories as He Bids Farewell

As soon as you arrive into the city, it hits you. If you come by car, it is the graffiti on Queens Drive that screams, ‘Klopp you made us believe’. Take one step out of Lime Street station and you cannot miss the giant billboard of him with the quote: ‘I will never walk alone again.’

Jurgen Klopp jetted into Liverpool on October 8, 2015, on a private flight from Dortmund, touching down just before 5pm. He hoped to come in under the radar, just wanting to work on football matters, but he will leave the same terminal next week with his images festooning the walls.

There are places he will remember all his life and it is now impossible to be in the city without feeling his impact, whether it is in hotels and bars, in bakeries or on beaches.

Mail Sport spent two days touring around Jurgen’s Liverpool…

 

HOPE STREET HOTEL

Tucked away in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, sandwiched between the city’s two cathedrals, this boutique residence is a place where you used to be able to go unnoticed.

Jurgen Klopp has become part of the fabric of the city of Liverpool during his nine-year tenure

The outgoing head coach has been taken into the hearts of Liverpool-supporting residents

The outgoing head coach has been taken into the hearts of Liverpool-supporting residents

His journey began at the Hope Street Hotel, which later became the club's pre-match base

His journey began at the Hope Street Hotel, which later became the club’s pre-match base

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But that changed nine years ago when a silver people-carrier rolled along the cobbled streets with a German entourage.

Klopp was gobsmacked to see people waiting for him. He wanted to quietly settle in and, so, headed out to the back of the hotel for a quiet beer.

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Never mind the trophies, Jurgen Klopp created the best Liverpool team ever – here’s why his side was better than anything built by Bob Paisley or Bill Shankly, writes IAN LADYMAN

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No such luck. He was photographed all night, even at a dinner that had been arranged to introduce him to some key Liverpool staff members.

The following morning, before he went to meet the world’s media, a package was dispatched from the club store with two shirts bearing his name for his sons. Any idea that he was just going to be left alone was gone.

Hope Street became Liverpool’s pre-match base. They now use the Titanic Hotel — the club thought about staging his unveiling press conference there, but were aware of the symbolism — although Hope Street will forever be linked to the night his life changed. It was also here that Klopp gave a team talk, on May 7, 2019, that left those present ready to run through brick walls.

Trailing Barcelona by three goals in the Champions League semi-final, he told Liverpool’s players: ‘For others it would be impossible, but this is you — and you still have a chance.’

They won 4-0. With Klopp, it was always about having hope. It is a theme you quickly discover.

Mail Sport spent two days touring around key locations in Jurgen Klopp's time in Liverpool

Mail Sport spent two days touring around key locations in Jurgen Klopp’s time in Liverpool

 

ANFIELD

‘That is the word — hope,’ says Carlos Onyak, owner of Georgie Porgy’s cafe, which sits behind the Kop and is decorated with replicas of the trophies Liverpool have won since 2019. Pride of place is the Champions League, which he paid £900 to buy and ship from Moldova.

‘He can go into any shop, talk to anyone and nothing changes. People come from all over the world to be here, to see his team. Liverpool is friendly and Klopp is friendly. Since Jurgen, everything is different here.’

He is right. Klopp noted on that first day in 2015 how he had watched Liverpool’s last home game — a 1-1 draw with FC Sion, from Switzerland, in the Europa League — and felt the discomfort of fans, who were irascible and frustrated. The team was floundering and hope was dissipating.

It is easy to forget, too, that those first few weeks were tetchy. A 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace led him to wonder why supporters had left before the final whistle. Then came a 2-2 draw with West Brom, after which he was mocked mercilessly for lining players and staff up in front of the Kop.

There was a reason for it. Klopp wanted to show that Liverpool were in it together. To achieve anything was going to need a bond between squad and fans.

Klopp had a picture of Bill Shankly put on his office wall at Melwood. He now shares the honour with Shankly of having a pie named after him at the Homebaked Bakery, opposite Anfield. The Shankly is steak, bacon and mushroom, the Klopp is steak and German beer, Erdinger. Both are best sellers.

Klopp's attitude inspired many a dream-like comeback, most memorably against Barcelona in their 2019 Champions League semi-final

Klopp’s attitude inspired many a dream-like comeback, most memorably against Barcelona in their 2019 Champions League semi-final

His early attempts to bolster support from the club's supporters were mocked, but paid off

His early attempts to bolster support from the club’s supporters were mocked, but paid off 

Georgie Porgy's cafe is one of a number of Reds-mad businesses close to Anfield's Kop

Georgie Porgy’s cafe is one of a number of Reds-mad businesses close to Anfield’s Kop 

Like the legendary Bill Shankly, Klopp has been honoured with a pie - made with German beer

Like the legendary Bill Shankly, Klopp has been honoured with a pie – made with German beer

‘Not all for today!’ jokes a man, who is taking a few out of the freezer. He introduces himself as Brian Finch, managing director of Epsom Racecourse. Sporting a Liverpool baseball cap, he has made a pilgrimage to Anfield having attended Chester races.

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Asked to sum up Klopp’s era on Merseyside, he says: ‘Hope and belief. We have been through some tough times, right? We have taken a bit of flak over the years from Manchester United fans. But Jurgen gave us hope again. From that day, it bolted. He has been unbelievable.

‘He captures so much. I was very lucky to be invited into the directors’ box. There was a woman sitting across from me and I kept thinking: “I’m sure I know you”. Then it clicked. It was Ulla Klopp. She was as warm, engaging and sincere as Jurgen.

‘I spoke to her, I know how important it is to have a strong home life. I thanked her. The first thing she said to me was: “Can I give you a hug?” and she gave me a bear hug!

‘I thought, “These two are so similar”. I can see why he is how he is. He has given us all something to take away from the last nine years. As a human being he would be a success in any job.’

 

FORMBY

The aspect that has struck Klopp during the last nine years is the respect for his privacy he and his family have been afforded. But what is also true is that there is not another city in the country where the connection between the manager of a football club and the people is so strong.

Klopp spent his first few nights in Liverpool at club property in Sefton Park, but was shocked when he was again spotted by paparazzi. Quickly, he moved out to Formby, taking over the house whose previous owner was his predecessor Brendan Rodgers.

He walks his dog, Emma, most days on the beach, loving the freedom and nature on the dunes.

Fellow dog-walker Claire Lynch explains: ‘I am not football mad, but one day my dog jumped up at this tall man. He was so polite and friendly, saying he wished I had a nice day. I knew I recognised him.

Klopp's wife Ulla (pictured at Anfield in March) has a similar attitude and connection with the city she has called home since 2015

Klopp’s wife Ulla (pictured at Anfield in March) has a similar attitude and connection with the city she has called home since 2015

Formby Beach is the manager's preferred spot to walk his dog Emma and enjoy nature

Formby Beach is the manager’s preferred spot to walk his dog Emma and enjoy nature

His local is the Freshfield pub, where he was a regular in search of his preferred beer, Peroni

His local is the Freshfield pub, where he was a regular in search of his preferred beer, Peroni 

‘It wasn’t until about a week later and my husband was watching the football that it clicked. I have never lived it down that I did not ask him for a picture or autograph. My husband always says: “If I bump into him, I’ll give him a hug”. He loves him more than me!’

Such sentiments are shared in the Freshfield pub. Behind the bar of his local is a signed shirt and he has often popped in to wet his whistle — Peroni is his tipple — including one night, before the Champions League final in 2022, when he unexpectedly joined Steven Gerrard for a pint.

Locals believe the Klopps should be honoured as a thank you. A gesture from Ulla — who gave £1,000 of vouchers to supermarket staff during the Covid pandemic — has never been forgotten.

 

THE STRAND

The main road by the waterfront is home to Liverpool’s Three Graces, the buildings that form its iconic skyline. In May 2019 and May 2022 it was a sea of red, as fans flooded there to see trophy parades. They will be there again this weekend.

Tickets to get into Jurgen’s Bierhaus are scarce. This place used to be Tom Hall’s Tavern, but the name was switched when Klopp’s magic started to work. As you can expect, it is decked from floor to ceiling in memorabilia.

On one wall is a hand-written poem by Marvin Cheeseman called ‘Boss Man’. ‘Don’t ever think he’s not much cop,’ it begins. ‘Jurgen has Kopped the lot. So much silverware produced, lesser sides have been reduced, our hearts and minds seduced.

‘If you need further proof, give it time and that’s the truth. He called the shots, he stopped the rot! Jurgen Klopp is tip top, full stop.’

Someone who will attest to that is barmaid Joanne Morrison, who has worked at the venue for four years. The highlight of that period is the day Liverpool’s backroom staff walked in en masse to celebrate the stag do of elite development coach Vitor Matos.

Liverpool fans flooded the streets to pay tribute to Klopp's Champions League-winning team

Liverpool fans flooded the streets to pay tribute to Klopp’s Champions League-winning team

Supporters speak of how their departing manager 'got' both the city and Liverpool's fans

Supporters speak of how their departing manager ‘got’ both the city and Liverpool’s fans

‘He was just brilliant,’ she says. ‘When he walked in, everyone in the pub literally stopped what they were doing. There was a little boy in here, in his kit, and he just burst into tears.

‘I asked if I could have a picture but, when I got my phone out, I went to pieces and started shaking. He took the phone off me and took the picture. He came in and said: “I had to have a drink in my bar!”.

‘It was an incredible thing to happen, he was just in really good spirits. Everyone loves him, don’t they? It said everything about his character that he was wearing a Liverpool t-shirt in the colours of Ukraine. That’s him all over.’

As the former CEO and now fan from California, Peter Moore, summarises: ‘Having lived through the Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley eras, his impact on the club, the city, and English football is right up there with those two legends.

‘He “got” the city and its supporters. Regardless of wins and losses, the trophies and those that slipped through our grasp, he understood the assignment — to make people happy. That he did.’

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