Jurgen Klopp finally explains the ‘drunken’ decision that Liverpool fans loved after ‘horrendous’ flight
The morning after the nightmare before and a German rock god is laying prone on Jurgen Klopp’s soggy back garden, excitedly reaching for his phone.
Liverpool had just lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid and, having endured a miserable flight home and a heart-wrenching reunion with their families, the Reds boss and a select group responded in time-honoured fashion.
The post-Kyiv ‘party’ has subsequently gone down in Anfield folklore, not least the impromptu singalong with Die Toten Hosen singer Campino that declared: “We saw the European Cup, Madrid had all the f****** luck, we’ll just keep on being cool, and bring it back to Liverpool!”
It soon went viral. And that, reveals Klopp, was no accident.
“Campino is probably the most famous singer in Germany, a good friend and a massive LFC supporter, like crazy massive his whole life,” recalls the Reds boss. “Then the song starts.
According to liverpoolecho.co.uk
“The fun part about it – we were all drunk – was it was a bit rainy, then we sang it, and recorded it on a smartphone. Then somebody said ‘We have to put that out, the world needs that as well!’. It’s not a good moment when you are slightly drunk to make a decision like that.
“Campino called his agency at home and said ‘put it out on Twitter!’ and stuff like this, and they said ‘wait, wait, wait, let me speak to Jurgen, if he really wants that?’. And he was lying outside in socks, in the rain, on the grass… ‘Jurgen, Jurgen! Do you really want to do it?’ ‘What?’ ‘Do you want to do it?’ ‘Yeah, of course!’. So bam, it was out. Then it all started, that was that!
“It pictured the mood we were in. It was already then… we were over it. The new season had started already and it started with that.”
The air of defiance and eagerness to move on that proved such a turning point of his tenure first struck Klopp when waiting to board the flight home shortly after the Reds had been beaten 3-1 by Real.
And, as the lyrics forecast, the trophy was brought back to Liverpool 12 months later when, in Madrid of all places, Tottenham Hotspur were vanquished 2-0 – the first silverware of Klopp’s reign, and the start of a special journey that continues on Saturday evening when Real are once again in opposition in the Champions League final.
“It started as one of the worst nights in my life,” says the Reds boss. “I remember actually only a little glimpse of light while standing in the queue at the airport where we had to go through a security check going to the plane, and I had this thought there… ‘do we come back next year?’.
“But I actually remembered it only a year later. At that moment, I didn’t know the final was in Madrid. If I would have know that already, I’d have thought ‘definitely, we have to!’. I can’t explain it. It wasn’t a clear thought or idea that from here we will go, that’s perfect, now we are rock bottom and from here we can start again like a phoenix. It was just this one moment.
“The flight was obviously horrendous. The feeling was down. The families were in another plane, and the worst moment was still to come – facing family and friends. That’s exactly how it was. When we arrived at Melwood on our bus, all the wives, girlfriends, friends, everybody was crying. Unbelievable. We were not crying. I cry quite frequently in these similar situations, but not that day as I was okay, kind of. It was a football game, there were strange circumstances, but everybody was crying. My agent was crying! I was going ‘eh, what’s going on?!?’.”
Klopp adds: “It was now morning pretty much and then we went to the house and let a few people in. It’s the former house of Stevie G, so a little bit of the furniture was still in there. There was a big vase in the guest toilet, and Peter Krawietz goes in the toilet and comes out (motions to lift a big vase like a trophy above his head) and goes ‘Yes!!! It looks like the Champions League trophy a little bit!’. Everybody took it and had pictures with it here and there, ‘ah that’s how it feels’. The magic of beer? It was not only beer!
“We finished some time in the afternoon. It was really a long one. It’s really better to suffer together, much better in fact, than sitting alone with your thoughts. That’s not cool. So we brought some people in and had, not the best time of our lives, but an okay time. The next day was holiday and that was fine as well.”
Real will encounter a much different Liverpool when the two teams step out at the Stade de France. Four years ago, the Reds had surprised by reaching the final and were ultimately undone by the greater experience of the Spanish giants, who were winning the most recent of their 13 European Cup successes.
Now, though, there is little to choose between the sides, with Liverpool having gathered the knowledge of how to come through such showpiece occasions, winning their last five finals including those in the League Cup and FA Cup this season.
“It’s not like when we qualified for finals in the past that we were like the favourite of the competition or something like this,” says Klopp, speaking to a select group of journalists at the AXA Training Centre earlier this week. “I think it’s fair to say that we rather overachieved.
“It’s not like everybody was waiting for us, and already in November people from Liverpool were booking the hotels wherever we play the final. It wasn’t like this. We have improved obviously a lot over the years and I think this year was a year where, while we didn’t expect to be there (in the final), we were for sure one of the four or five teams who people would say ‘yes, they can go to the final’.
“I don’t think that was the case in 18/19 or 17/18. The Europa League final (in 2016), I don’t think you could say we were (expected to be) there. When the game started against Sevilla we were probably level as favourites, but that’s it.”
Klopp adds: “It’s not unlikely to lose finals, but obviously it’s not recommended because it’s really harsh to deal with these kind of things. But what I learned in life, if you don’t learn from it then it’s a real waste of energy. If you lose and you’re that down you can never come back, that makes just no sense. It’s just one piece of information on a long, long trip.
“When we lost to Sevilla it was a really bad moment. But here we are today, we have won the Champions League once so obviously it’s possible. Maybe not immediately, but in the long term. That’s what I strongly believe in.
“I really think our Champions League story so far is a pretty special one. And it’s to be continued.”
And if Liverpool get the job done in France, expect there to be a different kind of party at Chez Klopp on their return.