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Beloved football manager Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

He's been called the, quote, "dad of the city of Liverpool." Jurgen Klopp is the manager of one of the biggest soccer teams in the world, Liverpool Football Club. He has also charmed the city.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Now his time with this team is coming to an end.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JURGEN KLOPP: I will leave the club at the end of the season.

SUMMERS: Klopp announced his departure in January.

CAOIMHE ONEILL: There'll be a lot of tears around the home field this weekend.

KELLY: Caoimhe O'Neill is a soccer writer for The Athletic. She's from the Liverpool area. The team's final game of the season is this Sunday.

ONEILL: Just dumbfounded, in disbelief and think that, on Sunday, he's going to turn around and say, you know, I'm not leaving. And that's the hope.

SUMMERS: Klopp's been in this job for almost a decade. When he arrived, the team had low morale, and he turned that around. Under his direction, the team won their first English Premier League in over 30 years. The city embraced him with a fierce adoration.

ONEILL: He's just become an honorary Scouser, which is the term used to call people who are from Liverpool. You know, he's become part of the city in more ways than just being a manager of a football team.

KELLY: Klopp worked to sculpt Liverpool into one of the most competitive teams in Europe.

ONEILL: The game that maybe encapsulates Jurgen Klopp's time at Liverpool best would obviously be the comeback in the semifinal of the Champions League at Anfield against Barcelona in 2019.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: Jurgen Klopp celebrates - still lots of work to do, but it's Liverpool one, Barcelona nil.

SUMMERS: Part of Klopp's appeal is that he's a regular guy. He grew up in a working-class part of Germany, and that's something this town relates to. And Klopp says the affection's mutual.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KLOPP: It's wonderful to know that I spent a big time of my life here. I don't imagine that the club will need my help in the future. But if the city needs me, I'm there.

KELLY: Jurgen Klopp has yet to announce his plans, whether he'll manage another team, but he has said he will not coach another team in England. Nope. He's Liverpool through and through.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) You'll never walk alone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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