Jurgen Klopp’s place as a Liverpool legend has long been cemented.

In nine years as manager, he has led the football club to eight trophies, including the Champions League and their first league title in 30 years.

Beyond the silverware though, the charismatic German has become more than just a football manager to many in his adopted city, a feeling summed up by the 2022 move to give him the freedom of Liverpool.

As the 56-year-old prepares to hang up his trademark baseball cap for the last time on Sunday, some of those whose lives he has touched have paid tribute to him.

For Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall, Klopp’s understanding of what she and the others affected by the 1989 disaster had been through was what endeared him to the city.

“He really gets the people of Merseyside,” she said.

“The first time I met [him], I was quite surprised how much knowledge he had of Hillsborough.”

She said the affected families “have been through so much”, but the joy Klopp’s accomplishments with the Reds had brought had given some respite.

“We’ve won a lot of things with Jurgen,” she said.

“He’s took all our pain away for those 90 minutes.”

She added that he also had a unique way of making people feel at ease.

“If you only meet him for five seconds, you feel as if you’ve known him for years,” she said.

“I feel he is a Scouser.”

Klopp’s inspiring nature has had an effect on more than just the football field.

At Homebaked co-operative bakery, which stands in the shadow of Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, a particularly popular pie bears his name.

Head chef Dan Shiels said the Klopp pie, filled with steak, ale, potato and “German almost-pickled ingredients” in a nod to the Stuttgart-born manager’s heritage , was one of their bestsellers.

He said staff at the bakery were “devastated” Klopp was stepping down as manager, but his legacy would live on beyond his reign.

“Even though Jurgen is leaving at the end of this season, we are going to keep on running the Klopp pie,” he said.

Councillor Richard Kemp was the man who nominated Klopp for his civic honour. 

He said he put the German forward “because of the effect he has had on our city”, especially in the way the club’s success under him boosted tourism and the work he did during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He used the football club as a way of uniting people and bringing people out of the despondency they were in,” he said

“He spoke many times about that publicly, but he did a lot of work privately as well.”

Neil Pullar, from Formby, lives near the Liverpool manager and serves on the management committee of fans group The Spirit of Shankly.

Despite being a lifelong Red, he said it was not the footballing achievements that earned Klopp a special place in his heart.

He said he would never forget the messages Klopp sent him after he had a cardiac arrest in 2022. 

While he was recuperating, he was sent a Liverpool shirt signed by Klopp, his wife Ulla and the team. 

He said the completely unprompted act of kindness showed Klopp’s “place within the local community”, which meant “a great deal” to him.

Colette Halliday said her partner Stephen Murphy received a similar gesture from Klopp just weeks before he died of pulmonary fibrosis.

She said that “out of the blue came this absolutely beautiful letter”, which she added was written in Klopp’s “unique Scouse-German”.

“We just all burst into tears when we read it,” she said.

“I was so pleased Stephen got to see it because he died about three weeks later.

“The kindness that [Jurgen] showed in writing that letter when he didn’t have to is the measure of the man.”

She said the letter ended with a message about how the “managers, players, owners, directors, staff and supporters” of Liverpool were “all supporting” Mr Murphy “and the best thing about this I know is what a difference it can make”.

“We’re all with you,” Klopp wrote.

“You’ll never walk alone.”

It will be that exact phrase that many of the city’s residents will hope he carries with him himself beyond his final game.