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Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’s Incredible Journey to Premier League Glory

They finally did it. After three decades of failed promises, shattered dreams and endless frustration, Liverpool have been crowned as champions of England for the 19th time.

The fact that they look simply immovable as the kings of the beautiful game is down to one man: Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool and Their Journey to Premier League Glory Under Jurgen Klopp

A Risk That Paid Off

Liverpool’s approach for Klopp in the autumn of 2015/16 was not a move without its risks, with the then-Borussia Dortmund manager having endured a dismal start to the previous campaign. Hard as it is to comprehend now, Klopp was just as human as the next touchline tactician, but he knew exactly what he wanted from his charges.

Unassuming though his Liverpool debut (a 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur) was, it provided the first indicator that Klopp was not merely another throw of the dice. The first notable change between his predecessor’s final starting 11 and Klopp’s first was the use of Philippe Coutinho as a wide man in an attacking midfield trio, rather than deploying him as a lone number ten.

It was a foreshadowing of how Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane would be deployed as secondary strikers in the coming years, and how such players would develop their finishing skills by creating their own chances and finding their striking range independently.

The switch to using two deep-lying playmakers (Emre Can and Lucas Leiva) was also a precursor to the (quite literal) anchor of what we know today as an oft-unbeatable ‘Gegenpress’ system, which has seen Liverpool command utmost respect within Sporting Index fixed odds and prices markets currently available.

The reorganised midfield eased the pressure on Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho – a very fallible defensive pairing still overshadowed by a nightmare ten minutes at Selhurst Park, 17 months previously. While the newfound work-rate did not instantly translate to crushing victories, it certainly kept a cresting Spurs team at bay on their own turf, and provided the foundation for a long-term project.

European Effectiveness

Though the title was as good as gone by Christmas 2015, Liverpool’s newly-energetic style was a real asset in the Europa League, ensuring that they would be able to exhaust, and simply out-run their opponents over two legs. The obvious highlight was Liverpool’s scintillating comeback against Klopp’s former employers in the Europa League quarter-finals, recovering from two conceded goals inside the opening ten minutes to win 4-3 and progress to the final.

It would not, of course, be the last time that the Reds would indulge in such a miraculous European comeback under Klopp’s management.


One of two men netting a brace in that legendary comeback, Georginio Wijnaldum, was one of two key arrivals in the summer of 2016. The other was, of course, Sadio Mane, and with the two men ensuring a huge injection of pace in the wide and central areas respectively, the next step towards supremacy had been taken.

Defence remained an area for development, but free signing Joel Matip’s excellent sense of ball control and composure in central defence easily represented the best value for money. Overall, the 2016/17 campaign marked a thorough improvement in every possible metric, with Liverpool’s fourth-placed finish reinstating the Reds amongst Europe’s elite.

Recruitment Pays Dividends

By the start of 2017/18, Liverpool had come an exceptionally long way in just two short years. However, it was just a month into the new season that the gap between themselves and Manchester City manifested itself in the most brutal manner, with Liverpool going down 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

That 5-0 defeat was a devastating result, but whatever defensive mishaps the Reds were still experiencing would be more than compensated for by a certain Mohammed Salah. His first season at Anfield needs no real elaboration, with a final tally of 32 goals taking him level with the great Alan Shearer.

At £36 million, the Egyptian winger was seen as a massive risk, given how he had failed to make an impact at Chelsea in previous years. Far from the lightweight fringe player he was at Stamford Bridge, Salah stood a colossus, with the ability to both glide past midfield enforcers as he drifted inwards, and outmuscle defenders with ten or more years of Premier League experience.

The addition of £75 million Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018 is seen as a massive milestone. Spending so much cash on a central defender was seen by many as a step too far, but as he did with Salah, Klopp proved all of the doubters wrong. Signing Allison from Roma that summer was the final piece of the puzzle, with the Brazilian offering a better all-round game than Simon Mignolet.

As this in-depth video from Athletic Interest shows, Klopp’s impact expanded far beyond the pitch.

Where Do Liverpool Go From Here?

After the signing of Allison, it was seemingly just a question of when Liverpool would break their seven-year trophy drought. The answer was, instantly. The Reds had absolutely no weak links in the squad for the first time in a generation. Elongated and unconventional though it may have become, the 2019/20 campaign was realistically Liverpool’s from the moment they beat Manchester City at Anfield in November.

Speaking of Anfield, it is quite possible that nobody is going to take three points from the Reds’ fortress ever again for as long as Klopp is on the touchline. Anfield now has the same feel to it as Old Trafford in the late 1990s and Stamford Bridge in the mid-2000s – impregnable, menacing and utterly scorching for away teams.

Ultimately, great title wins come in all forms. City’s first Premier League title, for instance, was not secured until the final 100 seconds of the campaign. Liverpool have sealed their maiden Premier League crown with seven games to spare, putting them instantly on a par with the likes of Manchester United’s 1999/2000 squad and Manchester City’s incredible class of 2017/18. Both teams, incidentally, successfully defended the titles won in those campaigns.

Liverpool are also on course to win the title by a margin of 20+ points – which is hitherto unprecedented in the 38-game era – and smash City’s existing record of 100 points in a single Premier League season.

All of this makes Liverpool default odds-on favourites to retain the title in 2021, and though Chelsea and Manchester City will undoubtedly give the Reds a closer race next time around, the stage is set for Liverpool to win title number 20, and go level once again with Manchester United in the all-time stakes of domestic greatness.


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