Today marks five years since Jürgen Klopp took over as manager of Liverpool following the departure of Brendan Rodgers.
It’s safe to say, the German has proved a success at Anfield. The man, self-proclaimed as ‘the normal once’ turned out to be anything but normal as he transformed the landscape of one of the countries biggest clubs.
Five Years as Liverpool Manager for Jürgen Klopp
Klopp Makes Good On His Promises
“We have to change from doubters to believers” was one of the messages from Klopp’s first press conference as he was appointed as Liverpool manager on October 8, 2015. He’s done that, and so much more.
In truth that was just one of the premonitions made by the ‘heavy metal football’ loving charismatic German, who on the back of his successes with Dortmund asked Liverpool fans for time.
Remarkably, Klopp said “When I sit here in four years, I think we’ll have won one title in this time. I’m pretty sure. If not, next…maybe Switzerland!” Thankfully for Reds fans and perhaps Klopp himself, he did not need to head to Switzerland.
Just two months into his tenure took the surprising step when he and his squad vociferously celebrated a late equaliser at home to West Bromwich Albion. The boss, alongside his players, lined up in front of the Kop and took the plaudits for what in truth was a less than average result, but this wasn’t a single moment, this was a sign of what the German was building, a unity between himself, the players and the fans – they were all in it together.
What followed has been a slow and steady progression, marred with some big-name departures as well as disappointing moments. In fact, Klopp remarkably lost his first three finals as Reds’ boss, including the first of back to back UEFA Champions League finals.
However, through smart recruitment and a change in the mentality at the club, the 53-year-old has masterminded one of the greatest periods in arguably the most successful club in the countries history.
After the disappointment of the final in Kyiv as Liverpool went down 3-1 to Real Madrid, Klopp took his side to another, and this time to glory as he delivered the club’s sixth European Cup triumph in Madrid. A success that brought about Super Cup and FIFA World Club Cup trophies to boot.
But there was a bigger axe to grind, having missed out on the Premier League title on the final by just a single point in 2018/19. Now in his fourth season in charge, Klopp went one better and ended a 30-year wait for a domestic league title as his Liverpool side left the others in their wake, eventually finishing 18 points clear of the chasing pack.
Far from being another of Anfield’s nearly men, the man born in Stuttgart is now already synonymous in Reds folklore and whenever he should move on will be spoken about in the same breath as some of the greatest men to ever take the helm at Liverpool Football Club.
From his first match against Tottenham, a 0-0 draw, Klopp has taken the club and its people to his heart. Through gegenpressing, goal fests, cup final heartaches, to delivering the glory and everything in between.
Once accused of simply being a ‘cheerleader’ or perhaps even a ‘hug merchant’, for his impassioned persona and his appreciation of a post-match embrace. Klopp is now more known for lifting trophies, counting Europen Cup glories on an open-top bus, and still enjoying a post-match celebration in front of a packed Kop stand.
Building a squad of what he describes as ”mentality monsters” to rival some of the biggest spending clubs the world has ever seen hasn’t been an easy feat. But by sheer will of the mind and some well thought out recruitment of his own – Liverpool are now a forced to be reckoned with once more, and perhaps in their rightful place.
The footballing world hasn’t seen many like Jurgen Klopp, perhaps even bitter rivals find time to like him, although they’d never admit it, and he’ll undoubtedly go down as a Liverpool legend.
Currently contracted until 2014, his departure, hopefully, after another five years on top, could well bring about another statue outside the famous Anfield. A stadium already adorned by many a worthy occupant.