Pints, Pub Quizzes, Personality—How Jurgen Klopp Has Embraced Liverpool Life
The Tuesday night quiz at the Freshfield public house on Massams Lane in Formby, England, is a popular affair. Teams of five or six huddle around wooden tables and hush descends upon the bar, with its award-winning selection of 14 cask ales, as a quizmaster clearly enjoying his authority reads out teasers. On busy nights at the ‘Freshie,’ as it is known locally, up to 100 residents pack this space. Bowls of curry, mini-hamburger platters and nacho sharers wait uneaten. Mobile phones are forbidden; concentration is absolute.
And then Jurgen Klopp walks in.
Liverpool’s manager lives just around the corner in Victoria Road, a three-minute stagger from home to pub. If Liverpool aren’t playing—if there isn’t a game to prepare for later in the week—this is where he sometimes spends his evenings. He’s sometimes with his wife Ulla, sometimes with other members of Liverpool’s coaching staff, but he sometimes comes alone as well. He doesn’t just sit there quietly sipping a pint, collecting his thoughts. He politely asks to join one of the quiz teams at random, whoever happens to be congregated closest. One quiz regular revealed he is good at answering questions about music, geography and politics. He buys a round of drinks, not to say thanks but because this is the cultural norm where groups are concerned.
Klopp has reached the point where he is now accepted as a member of the community. Neighbours like to speak to him, but they respect his privacy. They respect his humility, that he hasn’t tried to be different to anyone else. At the beginning, though, when Klopp appeared on the boundaries at the nearby Formby Cricket Club with his pet dog Emma, a seven-year-old retriever cross named after former Borussia Dortmund striker Lothar Emmerich, word quickly spread across the town. It had been his first public sighting. Crowds did not surround him; rather, they watched him from a healthy distance, as if a prophet had appeared on their land. That was how it widely felt when Liverpool appointed him as manager: Klopp had come to save a fallen club.