Opinion

In Klopp We Trust

EARLY DAYS

Jürgen Klopp was born on the 16th of June, 1967, in Stuttgart, Germany, and grew up in the Black Forest countryside. He spent 15 years as a player at Mainz, before becoming their manager in 2001. Klopp led the club to their first ever Bundesliga appearance and UEFA Cup qualification before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2008.

Unimaginable success was the theme of his time at Dortumund, and Klopp guided BVB to successive Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal, two DFL-Supercups, and a runners-up medal in the Champions League. Though his time in Dortmund fizzled out in disappointment, he’s still warmly regarded by the BVB faithful for what he did for their club.

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ARRIVAL AT LIVERPOOL 

Taking over from Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, Klopp’s charisma was immediately apparent.

Once more, Liverpool FC had a man of the people at the helm. Someone in the mould of Shankly, Paisley, and Dalgish; men who cared deeply about the club, the fans, and the city.

Klopp’s arrival on Merseyside was a light in the dark after the bitter end to Rodgers’ reign, and Klopp knew the size of the task ahead of him. Regardless, he committed to repeating his previous achievements through his style of attacking football, tactical nous, and a winning mentality.

In a press conference, Klopp said he wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t think he’d bring success to the club, and hoped it would come within four years.

Klopp said, “It’s a good time to make changes”, and stressed his desire to play “full throttle football”.

“When I left Dortmund, my last sentence was that it was not so important what people think when you come in, it is more important what they think what you leave. Please give us time to work on it.”

“We must turn from doubters to believers”.

Klopp played down the fanfare that greeted him upon arrival, dubbing himself “The Normal One”, and he’s lived up to the name by shouting and celebrating from the sidelines like a true fan.

However, as much as the supporters adore a likable character, we need, and expect him, to win trophies and to compete with the likes of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

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Controversially, Klopp chose to forgo any immediate plans for an influx of transfers in order to asses the squad that was already available to him.

With these players, he took Liverpool to League Cup and Europa League finals before clearing out the deadwood in the 2016 Summer transfer window.

He then made his first additions to the squad, including the likes of Mane, Karius, and Wijnaldum.

KLOPP’S PASSION

A memory that sticks out in my mind was the 4-5 win against Norwich in 2016 when Adam Lallana scored in the 95th minute to secure a memorable come-from-behind victory.

Klopp’s celebration has become legendary among Liverpool fans. He bounded over to the players and was mobbed by the whole team. He even copped an accidental punch in the face from Christian Benteke in the madness, breaking his glasses.

It was a magical moment that brings back special feelings. The exhilaration of the game was one thing, but the passion Klopp showed is what made it so significant.

FOLLOWING SEASONS

Liverpool finished in the top four in the 2016/17 season, gaining entry to the Champions League qualifying rounds. As Klopp’s popularity grew, there were plenty of good vibes buzzing around Anfield again. Belief crept back into the minds of the supporters; Liverpool were on the up again at last.

During the Summer of 2017, Klopp signed Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and what may be the signing of the decade in Mo Salah. All three players proved to be excellent additions to the club.

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The 2017/18 season kicked off with optimism, particularly due to the incredible attacking lineup of Salah, Firmino, Coutinho, and Mane. ‘The Fab Four’, as they were known, were unstoppable at times, tearing defences to ribbons. Teams feared us for the first time in many years, and Klopp’s attack-first approach was exactly what fans had been crying out for.

Klopp had built a team that provided great entertainment value, but we still struggled in defence. Even though ‘The Fab Four’ were scoring goals for fun at one end, we were conceding goals just as quick at the other!

We unquestionably needed a world-class goalkeeper and central defender to rectify the problem. The lack of confidence throughout our whole defence was a major concern for the fans.

THE COMMANDER ARRIVES

In January 2018, Klopp signed Virgil van Dijk for a record £75 million, and from the day van Dijk put on the Red shirt, he commanded our back four like a true leader.

There was an immediate sense of calm upon his arrival. He breathed confidence into the team, proving he was capable of organising the defence and raising the game of those around him.

His quality was undeniable, and to top it off, he even scored on debut in a Merseyside derby in front of the Kop. You couldn’t ask for a better start to his Liverpool career, could you?

He made his price tag seem like an absolute bargain and Klopp recently awarded him with his first Liverpool captaincy. He excelled in the role, so here’s hoping he’ll become the permanent captain in the future!

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It wasn’t all good new though, because in that same month, Coutinho left to join Barcelona. He was such an integral part of the team, and certainly one of our best players, so his loss caused many fans to become disheartened. I for one was devastated to see him leave.

We now had ‘The Fab Three’, who, amazingly, went on to play even better without Coutinho, (who’s clearly the Ringo of the group). Their goals led the team to the Champions League final and brought elation to the fan base. Finally, Liverpool were in the running for silverware again.

THE EUROPEAN CUP

After beating Roma in the semi-finals, Liverpool were back where we belong. This instilled even more belief in Klopp and meant so much to the fans. We were all bursting with pride and excitement.

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Unfortunately, we lost to Real Madrid, but what an achievement for the team to get to final of the most prestigious competition in Europe!

Sheer pride in Klopp and the players’ progression trumped the disappointment. Klopp became firmly entrenched within the club and had well and truly turned doubters into believers.

NEW SEASON, NEW SIGNINGS

The signings in the 2018 Summer transfer window consisted of Fabinho, Keita, Shaqiri, and Alisson, which exceeded fans’ expectations. Most satisfyingly, we finally had a world-class goalkeeper, and the fans were over the moon.

Alisson signed from Roma on a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper, but nobody at Liverpool questioned the price as we knew he’d be worth his weight in gold.

Klopp clearly had another incredible transfer window, and he appears to be an expert at identifying players that he knows he could improve. He bought Shaqiri for just £13 million from Stoke, and even though Klopp’s still easing him into the team, he’s greatly impressed.

If Shaqiri’s given more game time, he’ll excel. The Swiss flyer will create many chances for his teammates while chipping in with a few goals of his own. Definitely one to watch!

Klopp originally closed the Naby Keita deal in January 2018 with a clause that he’d officially join Liverpool after the end of the 2017/18 season. He made an impressive start, and looked comfortable in his new surroundings, but then dipped slightly, which is understandable for a new player adapting to a different league and system.

Keita arrived back from the dreaded international break with a thigh injury, and he’s been sidelined ever since. Once Klopp is ready to integrate him back into the team though, he could be a key player for us this season and beyond.

Our final signing was Fabinho from Monaco. Adapting to the team and the Premier League has been a challenge; but Klopp knows all he needs is time to adjust, as he possesses talent in abundance. He’s had very few minutes so far, but in the last few matches he’s opened the fans’ eyes to his potential, and I believe he has a successful career ahead of him at our club.

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HOW WELL HAS KLOPP DONE IN HIS TIME AT LIVERPOOL?

The start to this season has been sluggish in some ways, particularly as our attacking players haven’t been at their best. However, some of the reactions to our form are ridiculous. You’d think we were bottom of the league with no hope of our players ever clicking again.

In fact, according to the statistics, the start to this season has been better than 2017/18.

Premier League Statistics After 10 Games

17/18 18/19
6th Position 2nd
16 Points 26
16 Goals Conceded 4
17 Goals Scored 20

Not bad for a team that’s supposedly struggling. We haven’t reached top gear yet, so imagine how good the team will go on to be. I pity our opponents!

Over the past few games, our front three have shown signs of their best. Salah and Mane have registered seven goals each, and Bobby’s managed four. Their passes and finishes weren’t coming off as much as last season, but it was only a matter of time before they all gelled again. The linkup play has looked exquisite recently, which is a positive sign for the rest of the season.

Klopp wasn’t worried about our ‘Fab Three’s’ form though, and he knew his patience would pay off. He’s instilled a level of confidence in the players when others were quick to criticise, which is another reason why they have the utmost respect for him.

Klopp’s been with us now for three years, and during that time he’s transformed our whole team. For example, Milner and Gini have given us some amazing performances this season.

Our defence looks far more stable, and Joe Gomez is another who’s stepped up to a level that’s exceeded even the most optimistic fans’ expectations.

Finally, Alisson has only conceded four goals in ten games so far, and has kept six clean sheets in the league. It’s early days, but it’s an impressive start, even by his standards. That’s why Klopp paid big money for him, and is why fans are backing Alisson with full faith.

From a tactical point of view, Klopp’s worked wonders in creating the type of attacking team that Liverpool fans have missed for years. He uses different formations depending on our opponents, and likes certain players to rotate positions, sometimes even in the middle of a match.

He also uses the full depth of his squad to avoid the fatigue that cost us a higher league finish last season. Now he has the players to do so comfortably, without jeopardising results in any competition.

He’s unified his team, and Melwood’s become the happiest training ground in the world. You only ever see photos of players smiling during training. The camaraderie is evident, and that’s down to Klopp’s infectious personality. He shows nothing but respect to the players and fans alike. He’s brought the belief back to the club as a whole, and has won the hearts of everyone.

Some fans still say “Klopp hasn’t won anything”, but in my opinion success will come sooner rather than later.

It’s easy to forget that when Klopp arrived the club wasn’t in a strong financial situation, but that never phased him. He got on with the job at hand and developed players who have revolutionised our club.

He’s done a superb job so far, and we’re blessed to have him at Liverpool FC. We couldn’t ask for a better manager.

IN KLOPP WE TRUST

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