October 8th 2015 brought a new era at Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp was announced manager. I remember thinking it can’t be anyone else but Klopp. The era of the ‘normal one’ was upon us. At this point Liverpool had only won four of their 11 games in all competitions. Prior to the announcement i remember videos of Liverpool fans sending plea messages to Klopp to join Liverpool and what a fantastic fit he has been.
The excitement was all round and the moment he referred to himself as the ‘normal one’ i knew we are in for a great ride. Very charismatic, charming and relatable and that has not changed three years on. I was really a fan of him since his time at Dortmund, mainly his type of football-full throttle. His first game as Liverpool manager came in terms of Tottenham away and during this game you could see glimpses of his philosophy ie working for the ball, accurate passes and a bit of attack and his first Premier League win was a 3-1 victory away at Chelsea.
By the beginning of 2016 Liverpool had reached the League cup final and were on their way to the Europa League final. More importantly he had brought back the belief and passion at Liverpool. Despite losing both competitions in the final you could see that he was building something special. In terms of new signings Klopp opted for a more evolution rather than revolution tactic whereby he opted to work with what he had until he identified players that could fit his system. His patience in the transfer window has been remarkable in that he would rather wait for his top target than settle for number two.
Klopp’s stand out signings so far include: Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Allison Beker (finally a GK), Oxlade Chamberlain, Geoginio Wijnaldum (especially this season). Apart from these other players have really flourished and evolved under him casing point Roberto Firmino. He has really embraced his false 9 position and as part of the front three he is the glue that holds the attack. Very intelligent player and his work rate is out of this world!
As part of his philosophy Klopp has really invested in young players from the academy with the likes of Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexender- Arnold playing in the first team with the later having a permanent position at right back. This was also evident when the likes of Camacho, Woodburn, Curtis Jones, Nat Philips, Kamil Grabara and Caoimhin Kelleher who traveled with the first team for 2018 pre season. According to Klopp this is to build confidence in these young players.
Some of the highlights (highs an lows) under Klopp include: reaching the Champions League Finals (2018)-as a fan the journey to the final was one of the most memorable one, breaking Manchester City unbeaten run, kicking Manchester City out of the Champions League, beating Dortmund to reach the Europa League final, Klopp losing his glasses during the celebration at Norwich, surviving after the departure of Coutinho which now seems as distant memory, Klopp’s emotional celebrations and expressions at the touchline(hehe).
Liverpool has evolved from an in-balanced team full of midfielders to an attacking team with issues in defense to now this season a balanced, disciplined and professional team that plays very attractive football. Despite still not yet in full gear this season, this team has shown the ability to grind out results and after 10 matches they sit on top of the table which is dependent on today’s match between Manchester City and Tottenham.
Trophies? Soon? Klopp now has to at least deliver a trophy this season(icing on the cake) but then again as a fan i don’t mind enjoying the attractive football and the trophies will eventually come to Anfield!
In other words, Klopp and Liverpool were meant for each other!
What can i say its the best time to be a Liverpool Fan!
N/B My condolences to Leicester Football Club’s family, staff, players and fans during this difficult time. YNWA