When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool FC in October 2015, he vowed that the club would win a trophy in four years. Fast-forward four years later, Liverpool were the Champions of Europe and later went on to become the Champions of England after a long wait of thirty years.
This epitomizes Klopp’s legacy, a legacy of fulfilled promises and the revival of a sleeping giant.
Klopp’s job certainly was not easy. He had inherited an average squad which was hardly good enough for a top four finish never mind winning titles.
He did not have the resources and an endless pit of money that other state funded clubs possessed and the financial strength of Manchester United. He had to recruit players and win trophies by the book.
His initial gung ho, attacking, high intensity brand of football termed ‘Gegenpressing’ meshed with the ethos of the club well. Without having a competent defence Klopp’s teams usually focused on outscoring their opponents.
He reached the Europa League and League Cup finals initially and agonizingly came close in winning them, but that did not stop the overall progress the club was experiencing.
Now, with the team he has built, his tactics have evolved to a more possession based system. The team has multiple ways of beating low block teams, which tells us that Klopp is as much a tactician as he is a motivator.
He had and still has a great relationship with the club’s statistics and data-minded recruitment team. Infamously, he wanted Mario Gotze and Julian Brandt before being convinced by the Director of Football Michael Edwards led recruitment team to sign Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah instead.
Rather than telling us about Klopp’s eye for talent, it only speaks volumes about him listening to the team’s recommendations and not putting his ego ahead. This has resulted in Liverpool signing many gems, players Klopp has polished and turned them into absolute World beaters.
This harmony has helped the club to be where they are right now. Every season there was a sign of progress which was ultimately rewarded at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Liverpool lifted its sixth Champions League trophy.
Now the club is in the best financial state it has ever been. The club is stable. Furthermore, He has managed to win the aforementioned trophies with a sell-to-buy approach to player recruitment employed by Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG).
His ability to squeeze every last bit of quality from the players at his disposal has been unreal. The passion and desire he shows on the touchline has been reciprocated by the players and the fans, which has helped them to stage comebacks from hopeless situations, most famous being the one against Barcelona in Anfield before the UCL win. The Liverpool faithful have made Anfield a cauldron spilling with atmosphere especially on European nights again.
He has overhauled the entire culture around the club. He told the fans to turn from doubters to believers in his first press conference. His arrival helped dispel a feeling of pessimism post Brendan Rodger’s sacking and the legendary Steven Gerrard’s departure from the club.
He has restored a great club to back where they belong. He has etched his name in the club’s folklore and the German will forever be remembered alongside the likes of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley as the Merseyside club’s greatest ever managers.