Liverpool FC, befitting the city they’re based in, have always been a club you can’t fully separate from politics. The city’s history as a bastion of the working class, of unions, and of anti-Tory sentiment that peaked during the Thatcher years and has remained strong ever since informs the club’s local fanbase.
The club, in its modern form, was built by Bill Shankly, a man not afraid to voice his political views or to view successful football as a thing to, ideally, be built off the same foundational, societal socialism he espoused. The club anthem even would seem to speak to the communal mindset embodied by those beliefs.
For those not born within the shadow of Anfield, or at least for many, it’s part of the draw—or can be. Football, after all, is a vast and varied landscape, and there are plenty of clubs with different histories and local fanbases for those seeking them. It’s a question of fit. For fans and even, sometimes, managers.
“I'm on the left, of course,” Jürgen Klopp notes, as relayed by journalist Raphael Honigstein in his new book about the Liverpool manager. “More left than middle. I believe in the welfare state. I'm not privately insured. I would never vote for a party because they promised to lower the top tax rate.”
It probably shouldn’t be a surprise for most to hear him say as much given he turned down other English jobs before cutting his sabbatical short to join Liverpool—there was a draw there, clearly, to tempt one of the game’s most lauded managers to join up even when on paper there were other, perhaps better, destinations.
Other clubs with more money or more recent success or based in more renowned locales. Klopp, though, felt a connection that drew him to the club, a connection based at least in part in the club’s ethos and history and in the city’s politics. In short, the same draw that helps to attract so many to the club.
“My political understanding is this,” he added. “If I am doing well, I want others to do well, too. If there's something I will never do in my life it is vote for the right.”