Have Liverpool Got Their Man In Jurgen Klopp?
“Rodgers can do a Klopp”. These were the words of a bullish Nuri Sahin in 2011 after learning that Brendan Rodgers was taking over the reins at Liverpool after a relatively successful time at Swansea City. Four years on and countless millions spent, Brendan Rodgers has failed to emulate Jürgen Klopp’s brilliance at Borussia Dortmund and has therefore paid the ultimate price. Sahin’s foreshadowing of Rodgers success has failed to live up to the bill, and comically the club have now turned to the very man whom they aspired to emulate. Klopp’s arrival has brought much derived happiness from Liverpool fans seeking a return to the glory days of Bill Shankly and his stars during their dominance of the 80s. Without trying to quell the excitement of Klopp and what it will mean for Liverpool in the long term, the impact on the short term prospects should be examined as well.
Almost instantaneously, you see one connection that Klopp has with Liverpool – youth. The Reds have long been known for having a core group of local players developed at Melwood who then go on to be thrust into the depths of first team football. This was the case with Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and more recently the likes of Jordan Rossiter who is becoming an ever increasingly important figure at Liverpool.
Klopp has this approach too, youth first then results later. This was the case at the German’s previous employers Borussia Dortmund where he plucked numerous members of the academy and youth teams and brought them into the first team. Perhaps the prime example of this was Mario Götze who has gone on to become one of the finest playmakers in the world as well as a hero for all Germans after his exploits in the Brazilian World Cup.
There is also the fact that in a modern day frenzy of chopping and changing managers, The Reds have failed to follow the trend. Even the amount of time given to Brendan Rodgers was arguably generous considering the huge shortcomings of a multi-million pound side. With Klopp, they know what they are getting; someone to keep the club’s image intact and to carry them forward too, something that was always a doubt with Rodgers.
There is also the belief that Klopp could reinvigorate some players who have undeniable talent but had lost their way under Rodgers. At Dortmund, he saved the likes of Nuri Sahin and Marco Reus who; when not injured, are both exceptional players and could get into most starting XI’s in world football. Despite this, they were in danger of becoming lost and never able to showcase their talent simply because they were not given the opportunity.
You only have to examine his debut match against Tottenham to see how much they had learnt in a week. Just by looking at the score, some might say it seemed a dull affair, but this is far from the truth. What we saw was a team already buying into their manager’s philosophy of team pressing and playing as a unit. This is more than we can say for Rodgers’ last few games which seemed to consist of half-hearted performances by a bunch of players who no longer seemed to believe in the manager, and it was only ever going to end one way.
Anyone that ever witnessed a game at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund will know it to be a unique experience, even more so when Klopp was in charge orchestrating it all from the touchline. Now cast your mind onto what Klopp’s first game at Anfield was like; the buzz of the fans seeing their new manager on his throne and the eagerness of the players to go out and seize their opportunities. The charisma that Klopp will bring to the Kop will be something to be savoured for a long time and the euphoria that he will create is eagerly anticipated.
Perhaps one of the first things envisaged by Liverpool fans is that Klopp is the man to return them to the trophy-winning days of Shankly and his stars of the 80s. Now, it is early on in the German’s rein but everything suggests that Klopp is more than capable of replicating Shankly given that the following things happen; he is backed in the transfer market like Rodgers was and he is given time to build and mould his own side.
So with all this taken into account, Liverpool fans should be very excited to see what the future holds under Klopp, whether it is seeing the site of a local Liverpudlian making his debut for the first team, or Klopp leaping with excitement when his team score the winning goal in the last minute of the match. We all know that great moments are expected to come as a result of Klopp’s time at Anfield. Nevertheless, the caveat is that you should not expect too much too soon, or you may find yourself disappointed. The cliché “good things come to those who wait” should be adhered to.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Safraz Ali
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