Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has vowed to defend Liverpool ‘forever’ after receiving the freedom of the city at a special Town Hall ceremony on Wednesday night. The city’s highest civic honour was granted to the German in light of his achievements as manager of Liverpool FC.
Klopp said: “The city of Liverpool is home, that’s how it is. We arrived here more than seven years ago, from the first moment people are very open, very friendly.” He said he felt “very honoured and very privileged” to be given the freedom of Liverpool.
Referring to the right to drive sheep through city streets, which comes with the honour, he said: “I read something about sheep in the city and stuff like this, I’m not 100% sure, but one of the duties is to defend the city, or in the past it was. I know they meant it differently but I will, with words, forever.”
Klopp is the only foreign national to be given the honour apart from Nelson Mandela.
Praise for Jurgen Klopp
Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, whose son James, 18, was one of 97 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 disaster, was among friends, families and dignitaries at the ceremony to see him receive the honour.
Mrs Aspinall said: “He’s a great ambassador for our club and also our city. He’s just a great manager, a great human being, a great personality and a great humanitarian.”
During the ceremony, Lord Mayor of Liverpool Roy Gladden said Klopp had the traits of a “true Scouser”. He also praised his response to scenes outside the Stade de France in Paris ahead of the Champions League final this year, when fans were tear-gassed.
Mr Gladden said: “His actions lifted the spirits of many thousands who had been treated in such a violent and loathsome way. I promise him it will be a long time before this is forgotten.”
Former Liverpool FC manager Sir Kenny Dalglish also spoke during the ceremony about the impact the club’s success under Klopp had on the city.
A video was played showing messages of congratulations from players and staff at the club, including captain Jordan Henderson who said: “I’ve been told if I get any car park fines you’re the man I need to come to.”
Klopp was given a standing ovation after signing the documents to become a freeman of Liverpool.