Premier League

The Last Dance, Jürgen Klopp does not wait to set up a stage for its end

By Mario Perez

The Last Dance, Jürgen Klopp does not wait to set up a stage for its end

Jürgen Klopp wanted to keep his shock departure from Liverpool a secret until the end of the season.

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The news that Jürgen Klopp will depart Liverpool at the end of the season was genuinely quite overwhelming. A detailed interview sought to provide explanations, but the sudden dump of information was difficult to process. Among the statement to the club website was the nugget that Klopp has been sitting on this news since at least November, when he informed Liverpool of his decision. It's hard to comprehend that such a monumental call has been known behind closed doors for months.

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In fact, Klopp had hoped to keep it secret until the end of the campaign, ideally bowing out having won everything still on offer this season. But he knew the news would come out at some stage, and indeed expressed surprise that Liverpool had been able to wait this long before making the announcement. So there was nothing tactical about the timing of the announcement, except in the corporate sense of ensuring Liverpool and Klopp controlled the narrative from the outset. But now the news is out, the manager must adapt to that reality, with the entire remainder of the campaign set to be viewed through a very different lens.

What was Liverpool 2.0's first shot at silverware, a bonus year that had been earmarked for transition, is now Klopp's last chance to add trophies to his Anfield collection. Of course, he's already won more than enough to cement his legacy as one of the club's all-time most important figures, having turned everything around since his arrival in 2015. But it is for that reason that the need to give him a fitting send-off is so strong.

In effect, a Last Dance situation has been created. And just as the Chicago Bulls harnessed the knowledge that everything would soon be coming to an end to hit new heights, Liverpool must rally around this Klopp news to drive it on to greatness. Any psychological advantage Manchester City derives from its tendency to finish seasons strongly is utterly dwarfed by the magnitude of this end-of-an-era bombshell. As Liverpool faces up to the run-in, it is now driven by the desire to deliver for Klopp.

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Of course, the manager himself cannot be the cheerleader of this common goal. He has probably never told his players to 'do it for him' in any circumstances, the fact he wanted to save the announcement until after his last game says it all. But the Liverpool players should take it upon themselves to instill a Last Dance mentality. In that respect, the onus falls on the leadership group: captain Virgil van Dijk and vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold owe a lot to Klopp, having won everything under him, and must now impress upon everyone the importance of repaying that in kind.

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