TV View: Emotions high at Anfield as Klopp bids fond farewell

Pep Guardiola might win more trophies at Manchester City but the popular German manager arguably won more hearts in his time at Liverpool

As if it wasn’t an emotional enough day at Anfield, word came through that the resident DJ was booming our Sinéad’s Nothing Compares 2 U over the stadium speakers in the build-up to Jürgen Klopp’s final game. By then, you’d have been expecting to hear a flood alert for the red half of Liverpool.

For fear there were any tears left unshed, Sky then showed us Klopp sitting watching past and current players pay tribute to him, not near enough Kleenex in the house. Among them was Trent Alexander-Arnold. “If he told me it was snowing outside today, I’d believe him,” he said.

It was a reminder that the very great managers have powers of persuasion that can drive their players to achieve the seemingly unachievable. And on this day, it fell to Mikel Arteta’s to find just such persuasive words to convince his Arsenal team that the Premier League title was still winnable.

What did he say to his players when they left the dressingroom? We might never know, unless Amazon Prime filmed it, which they probably did, but it could have been something along the lines of: “If Scottie Scheffler can get arrested, you can win the Premier League.”


The problem was that they were dependent on West Ham, and when you’re dependent on West Ham, you’re largely fecked (unless you’re Blackburn Rovers in 1995). In fairness to the Bubble-blowers, they held out for a whole 79 seconds before Phil Foden did Phil Foden things. “Ugggghhhhhhh,” said Gary Neville in appreciation of the moment he inserted the ball in the net.

Gary, incidentally, turned up at the stadium in a T-shirt and jacket, while Micah Richards and Jamie Redknapp wore a suit and tie, which suggested he was being rebelliously belligerent in the face of a historic four-in-a-row.

Which seemed even more likely when the Foden lad made it 2-0 after just the 18 minutes. That left Paul Merson in despair on one of the many Sky channels covering the final day, one of them showing Chelsea v Bournemouth. To which Sky’s viewers said: “Huh?”

“It’s all over,” said Merse, “I might as well go home and watch Neighbours or something.”

And when Everton went a goal up against Arsenal, well, he was even prepared to tune in to Home and Away. But then West Ham scored and hope, being the eternal thing that kills you, was alive.

“Just when you thought it was all over,” our host David Jones beamed.

But second half and Rodri made it 3-1, so that was that really. So it was safe to abandon the title race and monitor the tear-jerker at Anfield.

“Doubters > Believers > Conquerors,” read the banner on The Kop, which began serenading Klopp in the closing stages of the game, Jamie Carragher struggling to hold it together.

“My God, he’s going to be an almighty miss,” he said as the post-match goodbyes ramped up, the farewell ceremony lasting almost as long as the Eurovision.

There were adeius to Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip, both of whose names rang around Anfield, as well as several members of the backroom staff, including head of fitness and conditioning Andreas Kornmayer. There was polite applause, but no lusty crooning of ‘there’s only one Andreas Kornmayer’.

Finally, Klopp made his appearance, wearing a “Thank you Luv” hoodie, the crowd just about managing to fight off the tears until he told them “I love you to bits”. He urged them to give their full support to his successor, even suggesting a chant: “Arne Slot, na na na na na na”. The crowd tried to respond lustily, but fell short in their efforts. Brokenhearted, they were.

“It almost feels like your best friend is moving to Australia or something,” said Carra, “and you love him to bits and you’re not going to be able to see him for a very long time – you will bump in to him at some stage, but you’re not quite sure when.”

There was no end of chuckling when Carra suggested that Klopp winning more relationships than trophies during his time in Liverpool was “almost as important”. The chucklers, you suspect, haven’t a notion about how much that relationship meant.

Sunday’s channel-hopping suggested there was a whole lot more emotion in Anfield than there was in the City of Manchester Stadium come full-time. Pep Guardiola might win more trophies, Klopp, evidently, won more hearts. A decent enough legacy, that.