In May 2008, Jurgen Klopp was approached to become the new manager of Borussia Dortmund and changed the face of the club and German football forever.
After protracted negotiations, he eventually signed a two-year contract at the club, which had finished in a meagre 13th place under previous manager Thomas Doll. In his debut campaign, Klopp guided Dortmund to DFB-Supercup triumph, defeating German champions Bayern Munich. The first signs of the Stuttgart born manager’s tactical revolution were there to be seen.
In his tenure as boss of the Westfalenstadion side, he guided the team to two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final, amongst others.
But to what extent has he brought his charismatic charm and relentless football to Liverpool?
Almost as if he was trying to set himself apart from his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, in his first press conference as Liverpool boss, Klopp didn’t refer to a philosophy nor a process. But he does have a very clear and defined way of playing, ‘gegenpressing’.
Gegenpressing is about pure intense pressing and counter-attacking. His Dortmund players would hound the opposition out of the ball and reply with a ruthless counter. The death metal football was relentless and proved fruitful in Dortmund’s pursuit of silverware. If football betting is your thing, Klopp’s boys are worth a bet on as they search for their first Premier League title and could do it with their impressive new style.
The pressing system was about keeping as compact as possible, absorbing pressure, and springing back at ferocious speed. It worked superbly and led Dortmund to Bundersliga triumph in 2011 and 2012.
Just as he did in Dortmund, Klopp came to Liverpool on the back of the club having a torrid season and was thus welcomed with open arms as the team’s saviour.
In his first campaign as Liverpool boss, the manager guided the club to a Europa League final. En route to the final, Klopp came up against his former employers and executed a tactical masterclass overcoming Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate in the quarter-final. But such is the love for Klopp everywhere he goes, German newspapers reported the Dortmund fans were still in love with their former leader.
The German has brought his charm, but has not quite brought his exact Dortmund style to Anfield. His currently flying Reds side has the best home record in the league and has made the newly refurbished stadium a fortress. The style of place is still ruthlessly fast, but possession also plays a big part of the gameplan.
Every member of the team appears to have bought into the manager’s game and the cult of Klopp is likely to continue.