It was December 2011 and a place in the German Cup quarterfinals was on the line. Borussia Dortmund had played the bulk of the match against Fortuna Dusseldorf with 10 men but Klopp’s team had taken it to penalties.
At 4-4 in the shootout, the crucial kick fell to Dortmund’s Ivan Perisic and he kept his nerve, rolling a shot into the corner. That was the signal for Klopp to spring from the technical area and sprint to his players to lead the celebrations. His emotions took over.
In the commotion, Klopp pulled a muscle that left him walking gingerly for three weeks. It was a madcap moment but, as English football is finding, one perfectly in keeping with Klopp’s character.
He split opinion at Anfield on Sunday with his antics in the rumbustious final minutes of the 2-2 draw with West Bromwich, when he clashed with Tony Pulis and his assistant Mark O’Connor before lining up Liverpool’s players in front of The Kop to acknowledge the support.
That is a German custom and Dortmund frequently did it in front of the Westfalenstadion’s ‘Yellow Wall’ during Klopp’s reign. Certainly Liverpool will do it again in the coming months.
Fans from rivals clubs have mocked Klopp — ‘Why celebrate a point at home to West Brom?’ — but to be at Anfield as he took centre stage was to be struck by the impact he is making. Now, clearly, Klopp can overstep the mark. The image on the back of the Daily Mail yesterday, Klopp’s eyes blazing as he squared up to Pulis, evoked memories of the night in 2013 when he was sent to the stands during a Champions League game against Napoli for screeching in the face of the fourth official.
He almost crossed the line against West Brom, too, with referee Craig Pawson having to tell him to calm down after Divock Origi had equalised in the sixth minute of added time. But, as his arms circled like windmill sails and adrenaline surged, it was clear Klopp was putting his stamp on Anfield.
He was in the zone. Having beaten his chest in front of Pulis, Klopp turned his back on the action, cupped his hands behind his ears and implored everyone behind him to get out of their seats. They did. Even in the directors’ box, they were on their feet exhorting Liverpool forward. ‘There has been a poor atmosphere at Anfield for a long time — all of last season and the majority of this one,’ said Les Lawson, chairman of the Liverpool Supporters’ Club Merseyside Branch. ‘But Klopp asked for a special atmosphere and he created one.
‘Some people have perceived that he was celebrating a draw when he took the team to The Kop but it was not about that. He wants to get the bond between the players and fans back. You want to see that a goal means as much to your manager as it does to you. I thought what he did was brilliant.’
It was also very clever. Klopp is getting inside the minds of Liverpool fans. When he turned around and saw a stream of supporters heading down the steps of the Paddock Enclosure and out of the stadium as Liverpool went down to Crystal Palace on November 8, he looked aghast.
‘The goal (from Scott Dann) was on 82 minutes — 12 minutes to go — and I saw many people leaving,’ Klopp said that day. ‘I turned around and I watched my team and I felt pretty alone. We decide when it’s over.
‘Maybe it is easier to come out of the stadium with 10 minutes to play. We are responsible for making sure nobody wants to leave before the last whistle, because anything can happen.’
Events against West Brom proved as much.
Klopp wants to be at the heart of an Anfield that bounces and intimidates the opposition, and he is going to drag Liverpool fans along with him. And now we know for sure that, with him in the spotlight, it will not be dull. – Daily Mail
Original source: The ‘madness’ of Jurgen Klopp