Jurgen Klopp: Turning Six Years at Liverpool Into a Lifetime of Memories
01:31 GMT 09.10.2021 (Updated: 06:58 GMT 09.10.2021)
© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarLiverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp speaks during a press conference
© AP Photo / Hassan Ammar
When Jurgen Klopp took over Liverpool FC on 6 October 2015 he was asked, as he was at Borussia Dortmund and FC Mainz, to drag a club to new heights. After six years at the helm, Klopp has more than delivered on his assertion to deliver trophies within four years.
There was a period when Liverpool FC were the greatest team in Europe. From 1972 to 1990, the side won eleven English League titles, three FA Cups, and four European cups, despite English clubs being banned from the competition from 1985 to 1990. Their dominance domestically and abroad cemented their status as the greatest English club of the pre-Premier League era.
However, the advent of the Premier League ahead of the 1992-93 season, saw Liverpool fall into a dangerous malaise. The club, up until 2015, had failed to add another English League title, but had managed to add two more European Cups, a Champions League victory in 2005, and a UEFA League Cup in 2001. For a club that spent two decades dominating, a return simply wasn't enough.
As Jurgen Klopp settled into Liverpool he knew success and failure would be determined by one thing: a Premier League trophy. To say Klopp worked magic over his six-year tenure at Anfield neglects all that he accomplished while in Germany. He had led Mainz to their first-ever promotion to the Bundesliga and resurrected Borussia Dortmund from mid-table mediocrity to a global power.
Dethroning Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga had made Klopp a superstar in Germany, but taking on the big-spending threats in the Premier League represented a whole new challenge. At Dortmund, Klopp had to slay one goliath, but in the Premier League, he faced four. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal all have equal or greater financial firepower than Munich, and they've never been shy about wielding it.
However, Klopp was more than up for the challenge. In his first season, he inherited a team sitting in 10th in the Premier League and led them to an 8th place finish in the league and an appearance in the Europa League Final. Each of the next four seasons he would lead Liverpool a little closer to the mantle they carried in their glorious past.
In 2016-17, Liverpool finished fourth in the table and earned Champions League qualification. In 2017-18, Liverpool again finished fourth, but made it all the way to the Champions League final, where they lost to Real Madrid. In 2018-19, he led Liverpool to 97 points in the league, the third-most in history, only to finish second by one point to Manchester City.
Yet, his Liverpool side would embark on one of the most fantastic Champions League runs ever. They dismantled Bayern Munich 4-1 over two legs before crushing Porto 6-1 in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals, Liverpool faced Barcelona where they were thrashed 3-0 in the first leg at the Camp Nou.
Liverpool needed a perfect performance in the second leg at Anfield. In the most emotionally enthralling match of Klopp's tenure, Liverpool mounted an epic comeback and won the game 4-0, to take the series 4-3. The pure emotion radiating between the supporters and the squad after the game was a reminder of what makes sports so powerful.
Liverpool once again had made it to the Champions League final. Facing off against Tottenham Hotspur, they won the match 2-0 and exercised their demons from the year before. Klopp had said he would bring a trophy back to Anfield within four years and he delivered.
The 2019-20 season cemented Klopp as a Liverpool legend. His side stormed out of the gates and had a stranglehold over the league by January. Liverpool finished the season with 99 points, the second-most ever, and earned Liverpool their first-ever Premier League title and their 19th top-flight title overall. Klopp had brought Liverpool to the top of world and English football. The two-season stretch from 2018-19 through 2019-20 was one of the greatest stretches in English football history. Klopp had delivered what no one had been able to for close to thirty years.
The heights of the previous two seasons made the crashing down in the 2020-21 season all the more painful. Liverpool endured an injury crisis of massive proportions that saw them finish the season in third, collecting thirty fewer points than they had the season before. Through it all, Klopp kept the team afloat and led a late-season charge to make the top-four. While the 2020-21 season was a disappointment on nearly every level, it proved the class and resilience of the man in charge at Anfield.
Now, with the 2021-22 season underway, Klopp has Liverpool undefeated, second in the table, and atop their Champions League group. The pandemic and injuries curtailed Liverpool's run at the top, but now, with the world and his squad healthier, he looks poised to take another swing at the top of the football pyramid.
1 October 2021, 07:00 GMT
Sometimes it's hard to fully capture the influence of a manager. Year after year, the best teams in the world routinely outspend their opponents. To put it simply, championships can be bought. Yet, over Klopp's tenure, Liverpool have spent the fifth most on players, sold the second most in player sales, and have only the 11th highest net spending.
While Liverpool have spent closer to a mid-table team, Klopp's sides have played at an 80-point pace. A points tally that would have landed a side either in second or third in the table every season. Perhaps the best way to fully appreciate Klopp's influence as a manager is to see how he has developed talent.
When Klopp took over Liverpool, the squad had an estimated value of €325 million. The club had a net spending of €204.5 million over that period of time. Liverpool's squad value currently stands at €866.5 million. The math says this team should only be worth €529.5 million. The over €300 million difference has one common denominator.
Jurgen Klopp's first six years at Liverpool have established him as one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport. His combination of tactical acumen, man-management, and sheer personality have helped elevate a club to rarified air. Liverpool were never a small club, but faced with the economic realities of their opposition, the only way for them to break through was by having a manager capable of elevating everyone around him. In six years, Jurgen Klopp has brought Liverpool back and provided their supporters with a lifetime of memories.