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Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool killed my bank balance but gave me something far more important than football matches

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ECHO journalist Paul Philbin travelled around Europe with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.

I always thought that following Liverpool would never get better than the 2013-14 season under Brendan Rodgers.

Liverpool didn’t win anything that year but the ride was something that is still spoken about today – all because it was so unexpected.

The memories from that season, the wild scorelines, the days out, and the run-in felt as if this was the most fun I would ever have following Liverpool.
Then a period of dominance began under Jurgen Klopp when Liverpool were the best team in Europe
It was a different feeling to the season under Rodgers because we knew that the silverware was coming. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel the country and continent witnessing the greatest Liverpool team of my lifetime, if not ever.
Long days on endless stretches of motorways, sat in airport bars waiting for connecting flights, enjoying the nightlife in Europe, and countless beers enjoyed on a concourse.
It impacted my bank balance dearly, and also my liver. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
That period came in a time when I was in my late 20s and fortunate enough to go to every game barring the occasional shift in work that would get in the way.
When the weekend came I would be off to Anfield or on a coach heading to an away game. No matter who we were facing, three points were expected and anything less often came as a shock.
When it came to Europe I got to visit cities that I would never have thought of previously thanks to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side – reaching four European finals on the way.

On my travels, I could single out so many games that will live in my memory. Old Trafford 5-0, Leicester 4-0, Bayern Munich 3-1, Everton 4-1, Manchester City 4-1 and even more at Anfield.

But the best part of this era, along with the trophies, are the stories that happen away from the match. We will all talk about the games but everything that happens surrounding the day or days will live even longer in the memory.

This Liverpool team has given supporters so much to celebrate on the pitch, but has given my mates and I some of the greatest days and nights on our travels.

Since Jurgen Klopp’s shock announcement to leave Liverpool, many fans have taken to social media to thank him and share their memories of the nine years he’s been at the club.

Nobody put it better than former ECHO colleague and regular matchgoer Kristian Walsh.

He posted: “Yes, the incredible football, successes, trophies. But the friendships forged and memories created, travelling the country, continent and (for some) world. The post-match hugs and dances. The 6am starts and 3am finishes. The coaches, trains, planes. Forever grateful.”

After Liverpool went to Tottenham in 2020 and came away with a win thanks to Roberto Firmino’s goal, it felt like the Reds and Klopp were about to embark on a tour of the country as champions-elect. Nobody was catching them, but the Covid-19 pandemic prevented that – meaning Liverpool’s title win would be celebrated behind closed doors.

Jurgen Klopp’s handling of the pandemic and how he focused on people’s health being the most important thing in life sums him up.

He would have loved the party that was awaiting but he also saw the bigger picture.

Currently sitting five points clear, Liverpool are in the title race and it would be fitting with just 17 league games to go that Klopp gets that chance to win the title in front of fans and have one last party down The Strand.

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