In a move that has been mulled over for years, Jurgen Klopp ended his managerial sabbatical to join Liverpool on a 3-year deal worth almost £7 million.
Critics and pundits alike have had three weeks to recap his tactical preferences as well as personal qualities, which appeared during his opening press conference:
Fans disheartened at the departure of Brendan Rodgers have been given a new hope as his successor has been attributed as charismatic and down-to-earth – the self-proclaimed “normal one”. Only time will tell if he can continue this through the uncertainty of English football, where we have learned that nothing is set in stone for managers.
The Reds, who were left with a selection nightmare in the striker role with Sturridge, Benteke and out-for-the-season Danny Ings all sidelined, drew 0-0 with Tottenham in Klopp’s first game in charge. They looked animated in the pressing down of Spurs players and became the first to outrun them in a match this season, covering 116 kilometres – their best this season. It was this hard-line style of play that Klopp developed over his spell at Dortmund and hopes to translate into the notoriously physical nature of the Premier League.
And he’s had no trouble settling in to life locally – a group of fans couldn’t believe their luck when they spotted the ex-Dortmund manager in Hardman Street enjoying a Stella, and took to Twitter to post photos. This wasn’t unusual for him – during his time at Dortmund Despite the goalless draw at White Hart Lane last weekend, the away stands were seen sporting German flags – one with ‘Jurgen Meister’ ebulliently watching over the match. One chant overheard claimed him to be ‘the new King of the Kop’. Apparent then, the psychological boost his arrival has had so far in.
Such is the new sense of direction that Klopp’s arrival has instilled. Brendan Rodgers was successful in showing a close relationship with his players, especially in the 2013/14 season which saw Luis Suarez as the PFA Player of the Year and a unanimous appraisal from Steven Gerrard. After narrowly missing out on the Premiership trophy, Liverpool’s title ambitions began to stale as Rodgers failed to maintain consistent results thereafter. What Klopp will undisputedly aim to resurrect is the ‘top four’ status Liverpool could claim only a few years ago.
Following a mediocre start that saw 1-1 draws against Rubin Kazan and locals Southampton in the Europe League and Premiership respectively, Liverpool bagged their first win under new management against Bournemouth last Wednesday to secure a place for the League Cup quarter-finals, followed up by a phenomenal 3-1 Halloween victory over a struggling Chelsea side. This marks 5 consecutive matches undefeated.
Will Klopp be able to replicate his Bundesliga success in England? Liverpool go again this Saturday with a match against Crystal Palace in the league.