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Rating Jurgen Klopp’s Time At Liverpool

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By TKTAdmin

German tactician Jurgen Klopp is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season after almost nine years at the club. Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked after a turn of poor results.

Before Klopp, Liverpool was in a bad place. The club was still struggling to return to their best form after Rafael Benitez was let go in 2010. During his time at the club, the Spanish tactician helped Liverpool to the English Super Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and the Champions League.

After Benitez, Liverpool had coaches like Roy Hodgson, who spent just six months on the job, Kenny Dalglish, and Scottish manager Rodgers. Of these managers, the only one that gave Liverpool a glimmer of hope was Rodgers. With him in charge, Liverpool had a close shave with the Premier League title in 2014, their longest in a long time. Unfortunately, their party crashed after Steven Gerrard’s legendary slip that handed the title over to Manchester City while Liverpool finished second.

When Klopp took over at Liverpool in 2015, the Reds were sitting 10th in the Premier League after eight games. They picked just 12 points from a possible 24. The season he took over, despite lacking quality players, the German tactician laid out a new style of play at the club- the popular gen-gen pressing. Liverpool started scoring goals aplenty in the league and on the continent. At the end of that campaign, the Reds reached two finals- the League Cup and the Europa League. Unfortunately, they lost both to Manchester City and Sevilla respectively. That season, despite finishing eighth, Liverpool scored the fifth-most goals in the top flight. Although there was no visible success in terms of trophies, there was an improvement, Liverpool looked like they finally had a direction.

Before Klopp took over, it was evident that the Liverpool board was not going to support any big-money signings. However, Klopp was able to get Sadio Mane from Southampton for €41.2 million, Georgino Wijnaldum linked up with Newcastle United for another huge fee at the time, and Joel Matip from Schalke. These players went on to play important roles in the run-up to their fourth-place finish in the Premier League in 2016/2017. Again, Klopp’s imprint was clear, as it was almost impossible to defend against Liverpool with Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Mane, and Adam Lallana. They scored 78 goals in that season. But their problem was the defence. Liverpool shipped in 42 goals in the top flight. In light of this, Klopp signed Virgil Van Dijk was signed from Southampton for a club-record €85 million to shore up the backing. Youngsters Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were introduced into the team. Mohammed Salah also linked up with Roma looking to prove his mettle in England after a previous failed stint at Chelsea.

It is important to note that Klopp did not just go out of his way to sign players who were doing well at the time. Liverpool put a lot of effort into scouting players. That was what gave rise to the likes of Robertson and Alexander-Arnold.

With the new signings, Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League again, with Salah winning the Golden Boot after banging in 32 goals. Meanwhile, the Reds were impressive in the Champions League, reaching the final, where they lost to Real Madrid. It was a game that could have swung in Liverpool’s favour if not for Salah’s injury and Lloris Karius’ calamitous mistakes. Also, Los Blancos had Cristiano Ronaldo, who was firing on all cylinders.

Klopp finally finished building his Liverpool machine in the 2018/2019 season, with the signing of Alisson, all the goalkeeping inconsistencies with Karius and Simon Mignolet were over. Also, Fabinho joined from Monaco for €45 million and took over the midfield, forming a strong partnership with Jordan Henderson and Wijnaldum.

That season, Liverpool had their best-ever Premier League campaign. They registered 97 points, but they were denied the title by Manchester City, who finished one point higher.  The demand for has been on the up since then. That year, defending against Liverpool’s deadly attack seemed impossible. Firmino, Mane, and Salah formed one of the deadliest attacking trio in the world.

Nonetheless, despite the disappointment of the Premier League, the Reds made up for it on the continent, beating Tottenham 1-0 in the final.

The Reds finally got their much-desired Premier League title in the 2019/2020 season, and they did it in style. Liverpool won the league with 99 points. They also had the best defensive record, conceding just 33 games all season. Klopp did not make any major signings that season. He simply stuck to the team from the previous campaign, and it profited Liverpool in the end.

Unfortunately, Liverpool dropped in form in the 2020/21 season, majorly due to injuries to key players. They were on the brink of missing out on Champions League football but for a last-minute goal from Alisson in the final game of the season.

Klopp improved on the team in the following season, and they went on to finish second again. One point behind Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. They were also disappointed in the Champions League, as they lost to Real Madrid in the final again, a game which they dominated.

When you take a holistic look at Liverpool under Klopp, he deserves credit for how he has set up the team to play. He has also shown great tactical prowess. Liverpool were down when he joined the club in 2015. They did not have a playing style or identity, but he has changed that narrative. Also, he has done it with a restricted budget. Klopp has spent just over $938.5 million as Liverpool coach, and they have hardly had flops because of their great scouting.

The former Borussia Dortmund man has also learned to adapt to the changes in football. After Mane left, Luis Diaz took over the left flank. Also, Klopp has revamped the midfield, following the exits of Henderson, Fabinho, and Wijnaldum. He has also allowed young lads to prove their mettle.

One thing is clear, it would be tough for Liverpool to find a coach that can fill Klopp’s shoes. Nonetheless, they would have to move on.