A Liverpool fan's open letter to Jurgen Klopp
It's the final day of the 2018-19 season and we are a point behind the leaders. But irrespective of what happens today, I think it's time someone put into words what it has been like with you at the helm of Liverpool Football Club.
Over the past decade and more, being a Liverpool supporter has not been easy. There have been some major lows that I and millions of fans of this great club have had to witness. There have been ups as well.
Reaching the FA Cup final in 2012 was a great achievement considering the squad we had then. The title challenges of '09 and '14 brought great joy. Nevertheless, it has been with a sense of mild trepidation that I have approached every season since the Roy Hodgson era.
As with most sports, I grew up when there was one dominant force in English football. They are located some 30 miles from Liverpool, and from 2005 to 2013, Manchester United won the Premier League 5 times, and reached the Champions League final thrice, winning once.
In the same period, Liverpool's highest league position was 2nd, attained twice, with no Champions League football at Anfield for almost half of that period. Throw in a couple of 7th place finishes, and you can understand what turning up every day for a game of football with friends felt like, especially when most of them supported United.
Even King Kenny could not arrest the slide. And as if handling Manchester United wasn't already tough, the other half of Manchester came prancing in with their big bucks and took in a couple of titles for themselves. It felt like Liverpool would cease to be part of the famed 'Top 4'.
When Brendan Rodgers was announced as manager, the air of pessimism remained. But then came that 2013-14 title charge, and it took blowing away a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace and that Stevie G slip for us to lose the title.
The season after saw normal service being resumed and it brought us to you, as we languished in 10th place. Your first press conference saw you call yourself 'The Normal One'. But more importantly, you promised to turn us from doubters into believers. 3 years and 7 months on, I can safely say that you have delivered on that promise.
You brought back crazed passion in the dugout, and you brought back emotional Anfield nights. Goal celebrations took on a whole new meaning with you in the dugout.
Gegenpressing entered Anfield lingo, and you built a team the world would rave about and Kopites could sing about. A team where a winger could win player of the year one season and a centre back win it the next.
Boss, you have given Liverpool Football Club a new lease of life. And while critics may say there has been no silverware, three European finals in less than 4 seasons is something no Liverpool fan would have dreamt of that October day in 2015.
Like I said earlier, it is the final day of the season. Simply winning today would not be enough to win the title. The future may see you at a Bayern Munich or a Real Madrid, and in some people's opinions - the German national team.
But whatever happens, one thing is for certain. Whether it's a Dortmund fan, a United fan, or more recently, a Barcelona fan, they'll all see this team and their manager and go "Boss tha!"
- A Liverpool fan