Once-in-a-lifetime Jurgen Klopp can never be truly replaced at Liverpool

We’ve all seen the video, haven’t we?

You know, the one where Liverpool fans are informed on camera that Bill Shankly has left his role as Liverpool manager.

Well, now we have that moment for this generation, and to say it feels worse than the death of a distant family member could even be an understatement!

Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season... Still doesn’t feel real, does it?

I even had to double-check that time hadn’t suddenly moved incredibly fast and that 1 April wasn't upon us.

The magnitude of this news simply cannot be downplayed, with Klopp the most important and influential thing to happen to Liverpool since the 1980s.

His appointment felt special from the moment it was announced back in October 2015, and he has carved out a spell at Anfield that will be remembered long after we are all gone.

Klopp is Liverpool Football Club right now. More than any player, despite so many modern-day legends still playing for the Reds.

The 56-year-old carries with him the values required to be a Reds manager, whether it be his understanding of the club’s history, his political leaning, or even the way he naturally clicks with the people of Liverpool.

That has always been one of Klopp’s greatest strengths. He ‘got’ the city of Liverpool more than anyone could have expected when he arrived over eight years ago, and he is the embodiment of everything great about it. He cares deeply about community.

Has there ever been a greater adopted Scouser? Kenny Dalglish clearly stands tall for both his on and off-field impact, but Klopp is certainly worthy of being mentioned in a similar breath.

There was a time when Klopp’s failure to win trophies at Liverpool was used as a stick to beat him with, not least because of constant final heartbreak against the likes of Manchester City, Sevilla and Real Madrid.

He was labelled a ‘bottler’ by those who think childish tribalism is one of the best aspects of modern football, but us Liverpool fans always knew what a generational manager we had in charge.

Even if silverware had never come Klopp’s way, he would have left being adored by the majority of the fanbase, but let’s face it, success was always going to come eventually. He is too good not to have achieved lots of it.

Jurgen Klopp - Pro Shots

Jurgen Klopp, FA Cup final 2022 - Pro Shots

The iconic German has overseen a legendary priory of glory at Anfield, winning the Champions League in 2019 and the long-awaited Premier League crown 12 months later. There has also been the FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup to add to his collection, and this season, the quadruple is still on.

Frankly, had Liverpool not been up against, for all intents and purposes, footballing cheats during the same time – I know, I know, innocents until proven guilty, but come on! – we would have witnessed a true English football dynasty under Klopp, with endless league titles and even more trophies coming Liverpool's way.

We have to accept that, all of a sudden, we are into the final few months of Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager, though, which even while typing this, is just not sinking in.

Work now has to get underway on finding the perfect replacement for him, which is going to be one of the hardest jobs any club has faced in many years.

Essentially, Manchester United need to be looked at as everything that must be avoided since Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

The truth is that Klopp will never be truly replaced, and Liverpool will just hopefully find another fantastic boss who can lead this talented squad to future glories.

The aura that Klopp possesses, and the way he has managed to convince so many wonderful players to move to the Reds, is something that the next manager is unlikely to have because individuals of this ilk are a very rare commodity.

Xabi Alonso instantly stands out as a front-runner, given the wonderful job he is doing with Bundesliga leaders Bayern Leverkusen this season, and it is easy to see why.

© Proshots - Xabi Alonso

At 42, the Spaniard is one of the leading young managers of the new crop coming through, and his past connections with Liverpool could help him get the job. He knows exactly what is required of a manager there.

Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi could also be an intriguing appointment, as could Julian Nagelsmann, but any talk of Steven Gerrard coming in must be quashed this instant.

This is a decision that could genuinely shape Liverpool’s future, with failure to bring in the right person potentially setting them back years, at a time when City are City, Arsenal a young team who could grow, and even United are making shrewd off-field appointments.

The hope is that Liverpool find their equivalent to Bob Paisley when Shankly moved on, admittedly not in the same Boot Room manner, making a seamless managerial change and ensuring Klopp is missed as little as possible.

It is hard to shake the feeling that not having him around is going to leave quite the gaping void throughout the entire football club, though. How can it not?

If the footballing Gods have any kind of heart whatsoever, Klopp will be about to embark on one of the most legendary ends to a managerial stint of all time, as he looks to clean up on the trophy front between now and his exit.

The players will surely have never felt more driven to do it for their manager, and if you are rival fans right now, you may be gleeful about him leaving, but also concerned about what the Reds could do until May.

The past has taught us that football can be cruel to Liverpool when fairytales are expected, however – Gerrard against Chelsea, need I say more – but the only fitting way for Klopp to bow out is to win the Premier League title and finally get to celebrate it front of his adoring fans.

Just imagine what a day that would be. It could even be worth all this heartbreaking resignation confirmation!

While the Reds’ success back in 2020 will never for forgotten, not having supporters in the stadium will always hurt a little, and it is only right that Klopp has his moment in the sun.

He has been even better than we hoped he would be when he was confirmed as Brendan Rodgers' replacement all those years ago, and the memories he has given us will be forever appreciated.

You have been everything to all of us, Jurgen. I hope you know that.

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