When Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in October 2015 he wasted little time to set his intentions as the new Reds boss: ” we have to change from doubters into believers, were the words that Klopp would live by in his quest to revive the club’s elite status.
The 50-year-old issued this statement of intent with a large grin on his face, though, he would find out soon enough that his mantra would not strike a tone amongst all fans to begin with.
In Klopp’s first game in charge- a 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur- the initial signs made for good reading.
The German effectively showcased his brand of heavy metal football through his players’ relentless pressing for the entire 90 minutes. Kopite banners flailing in the away which read ” we believe” proved that supporters were already buying into their new manager’s long-term project.
Klopp guided the Reds to two finals that season, as the former Borussia Dortmund coach began to demonstrate his credentials for the job. However, heartbreak in Basel and agony at Wembley was the tale of these shots at glory.
The League Cup loss denied the German his first piece of silverware as Reds boss while Europe League misery crippled Liverpool’s passage to the Champions League for the following campaign.
Although Klopp would have had his heart set on returning to Europe’s elite, missing out on this competition did have somewhat of a positive outcome. In turn it would play its part in propelling the Reds to a fourth place finish, with a reduce in intensity levels ultimately counting for a great deal in a league where fixtures often tend to mount . In fact, you only have to look as far as Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers to discover just how much of a difference having no European football can have on a season.
Despite not having these extra games added to the mix, it seemed as if the gruelling winter fixtures had already done enough damage in itself, as the Liverpool side slowly began to fall to pieces.
Injuries sustained to Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane in particular laid bare Liverpool’s lack of squad depth as the Reds’ jaded January ended with just a solitary win in nine outings, which came against League Two Plymouth Argyle of all teams.
In his second season at the club, again, silverware eluded Klopp once more. Anfield proved to be no fortress for the Reds but instead a home from home for both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton, who sent Liverpool packing from the EFL Cup and FA Cup respectively.
Liverpool ended the season in fourth and secured their long-awaited return to the Champions League, having only featured in this illustrious competition just once in the previous six campaigns. With a place in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition confirmed, fans are daring to dream about the possibilities of a sixth European Cup.
This current Reds side possess the firepower to dismantle any side standing in their way of delivering a trophy not won since the heroics of 2005. A distant dream is becoming a feasible forecast.
And Klopp has been the driving force in this new-look Liverpool, as his rejuvenated Reds continue to impress each week.
The German’s transfer policy of late has played a large part in the changing fortunes at the club. And while these additions haven’t always been forthcoming, Klopp ensured they weren’t rushed and regretful but instead precise and pragmatic. Squad depth has vastly improved in such a short space of time with Liverpool looking better equipped than ever before.
Summer signing Mohamed Salah has been a revelation since his £36 million arrival, capturing the attention of the globe with his dazzling performances, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has proved his long list of doubters of wrong, Andrew Robertson’s tenacious work-rate has been a breath of fresh air to witness, while record-signing Virgil van Dijk has added undoubted quality.
Liverpool look hot favourites to secure a second-place finish in the league behind runaway leaders Manchester City in what has been a fascinating campaign. Now approaching the end of his third season at the club, Klopp is still to win a trophy. However, there is a real sense of optimism brewing at Anfield.
In his first two seasons at Dortmund, Klopp’s side finished in 6th and 5th place respectively, though, the two campaigns following this would yield back-to-back Bundesliga titles. You get the sense that the tide is now beginning to turn in the same manner in L4.
Klopp has transformed Liverpool during his Anfield tenure, it’s now just a case of waiting for this realisation to hit home. The endless Brendan Rodgers comparisons are starting to become a thing of the past as football fans are left to marvel at the brilliance being conjured up by the 50-year-old.
While it may take a couple of additions in the Liverpool trophy cabinet for the remaining doubters to turn to believers; if Klopp is the figurehead in the years to come the possibilities are endless.
The German’s blueprint plan is slowly being unveiled. Liverpool really are a force to be reckoned with. Shout it from the rooftops, let the world know. They may not believe it; they don’t have to, but they will soon enough.