‘In Klopp we trust’ resonates with every Liverpool faithful now more than ever in the wake of the Merseyside club recently winning their 19th league title, after an astounding gap of 30 years.
Many legends in the decades gone by, the likes of Rafael Benítez, Sir Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers to name a few, have tried to get their hands on the elusive Premier League title but alas, they couldn’t end the drought.
So, what is so different with the mighty Jurgen Klopp?
Humility and team spirit
Jurgen Klopp had once confessed, he was always more suited to a managerial role as compared to being a player during his stint at German club Mainz 05. Well, that is a testament to his honesty as a player and a coach – knowing where his strengths lay.
As a player, Klopp always put the team first and a case in point example being, after playing as a striker for five years, he made a 360-degree shift, and featured as a defender, in the interest of the side.
The German scored 56 goals for Mainz, and is still the club’s third-highest goalscorer, though his humility was such that he never considered himself a class player due to his constant desire to improve.
These values of team spirit and humility have held him in good stead even as a manager, with the German always giving credit to team performance over individual brilliance, whether it was for Mainz 05, Dortmund or now Liverpool.
Such are his antics that he cries when his players cry, celebrates with them when they score, hugs each one of them after every match, irrespective of the result. Well, truth be told he enjoys being one with his team.
What’s more, Jurgen Klopp has always believed in cultural inclusivity where players of diverse backgrounds play as a cohesive unit, thanks to a thriving team environment.
Every loss is a learning curve
When Jurgen Klopp took the reins at Anfield in October 2015, Liverpool were in the doldrums, struggling in the Premier League.
The Reds finished eighth in the league that season but went on to reach the League Cup and the Europa League finals, losing both. However, the German’s impact on Merseyside was already beginning to show.
In his first-ever Liverpool press conference, Jurgen Klopp said:
“You have to change from doubter to believer. We have to change our performance because nobody is satisfied at the moment.“
Well, he always had the belief that every loss would be a learning curve and Liverpool would improve, taking one game at a time.
To increase player confidence, he always reiterated to them, you know yourself better than anyone else.
As a result, Liverpool finished fourth the next season and hence, qualified for the Champions League.
What’s more, the upturn in Liverpool’s fortune started, when few had touted the Reds to reach the final of the 2018 Champions League, and to everyone’s surprise, they accomplished that feat only to falter against a very strong Real Madrid team, owing to Loris Karius’ blunders between the sticks.
The loss did not dent them, on the contrary, their belief and confidence only soared further. Soon the results were there for everyone to see, with Liverpool being the 2018-19 Premier League runners-up, finishing just a point behind champions Manchester City.
The Champions League triumph last season was a case in point example of the 360-degree turn that Klopp had started accomplishing with his team.
Heavy metal football
So, how did this turn around happen from purely a playing perspective? Well, the answer is heavy metal football.
Jurgen Klopp has ingrained the aggressive and counter-punching style of play at Liverpool, capitalizing on every opportunity to score and put opponents under the cosh.
Such is the desire to win that not once in the last five years did Liverpool look to change this ideology and as a result, the Reds have become one of the most feared teams not only in England but in the whole of Europe.
To top it up, their home record to date is stupendous, with an unbeaten run of 46 matches dating back to April 2017. Klopp has truly made Anfield a fortress for the Reds.
Making winning a habit
Jurgen Klopp in his first press conference for the Reds in 2015, also said:
“If I sit here in four years, I am pretty confident we will have one title.”
So true were his words, with Liverpool not only winning one trophy but three in 2019 – the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, thereby becoming the only English club in history to accomplish a continental treble.
But the most important silverware of them all – the elusive Premier League title – headed towards Anfield last week, during Klopp’s fourth full season in charge of the club.
Truth be told, with such accomplishments, one has to compliment Jurgen Klopp, who truly has made winning a habit.
Apart from his relationship with the players, such is Klopp’s connect with the fans that they have now become the 12th man of the team. You’ll never walk alone hasn’t meant more to them than ever with their limitless love for Klopp.
What’s more, Liverpool will only go from strength to strength with Jurgen Klopp at the helm, with the German penning a new deal. The Merseyside giants might run out of space to keep trophies but their will to win will remain the same.
The lessons of team spirit, humility, aggression and positivity that Jurgen Klopp has indoctrinated in every player at Anfield are not just for footballing purpose but they are for life too.
The only question that remains – are we, as Liverpool faithful, willing to imbibe them?