Jurgen Klopp promises to 'defend Liverpool forever' as he is given the freedom of the city

  • Jurgen Klopp on 'being on the same team' as Nelson Mandela

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has vowed to defend the city he considers home "forever" as he received the freedom of the city.

Klopp has had many special nights with his team and this was a personal thank you to him at Liverpool Town Hall.

Speaking before the ceremony, Liverpool FC boss 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."

Jurgen Klopp says he's surprised but honoured to be alongside Nelson Mandela as the only two foreign nationals to get the honour. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Klopp, who is German, is the only foreign national to be given the honour apart from Nelson Mandela.

He said he was surprised and embarrassed to find out that, but to hear that "Nelson and I are on the same team is absolutely fine with me"

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.

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Klopp said he met Mrs Aspinall soon after joining the club.

He said: "I cannot be more impressed to be honest, it's unbelievable."

"We had a fairly close relationship from the beginning."

"I'm a person who really cares but Margaret helped me with understanding the situation because it was obviously quite long ago.

"I think it actually says the most about the club and the people in the city that we don't forget it, in the right way."

Mrs Aspinall said she was "absolutely delighted" to see him receive the honour.

She 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."

Klopp, 55, became Liverpool manager in 2015 and under him the club has won the Champions League, the Premier League and the FA Cup.