From the Moment Jurgen Klopp arrived at Anfield, Red’s fans, and football supporters in general, knew that something different was in the air. The glasses-wearing German had an aura about him that was hard to ignore.
He came to Liverpool as a bit of an unknown, and you could bet that some fans were a bit uneasy at his signing. But he changed minds almost instantly, and even in the early days at Liverpool, you could see game-changing moves happening.
Jurgen Klopp began coaching in 2001. He took over as manager of Mainz, after retiring as a player for the club the season before. He won 6 of his first 7 seasons in charge, and his style of play was already seen all those years ago.
Klopp is a lover of Gegenpressing, a style of play that focuses more on winning the ball back after losing possession, opposed to dropping back and reforming a defensive line. Not only does this style of play allow for his teams to constantly attack, it also constantly forms chances.
In his first season at Mainz, he led them to a 14th place finish, and avoided relegation. In his following two seasons with the club, he led them to 4th place finishes, very narrowly missing out on promotion both times.
In the 2003-04 season, Mainz finished 3rd and gained promotion, Klopp’s first large success as a manager. Not only was this a major success for the coach, but it was the first time Mainz had been promoted to the Bundesliga in the club’s history.
Mainz did fairly well in the Bundesliga, finishing 11th in their first season in the top flight. However, the end of the 2006-07 season saw Mainz get relegated once again. Klopp chose to stay at the club, but resigned after Mainz failed to gain promotion at the end of the 207-08 season.
Jurgen Klopp then moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he made a serious name for himself as a manager. He won his first trophy in 2008, after defeating Bayern Munich to win the German Super Cup.
The opening day of the 2010-11 season saw Borussia lose their game to Bayer Leverkusen. They went on to win the next 14 out of 15 games to secure the top spot by Christmas. They clinched the title in April with two games to spare.
Not only was his Borussia team the youngest ever to win a Bundesliga title, they went on to defend the title in the following season. They won with 81 points, the highest in the league’s history, and the 47 points they won in the second half of the season was also a record. Their 28 game unbeaten run was also a Bundesliga record.
At the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Klopp extended his contract until June of 2018. January 2014 saw Dortmund lose their star striker Robert Lewandowski. They won the German Super Cup again that season.
The 2014-15 season saw them win the Super Cup again, Dortmund had a disappointing start to the season, and Klopp announced that he would be leaving at the end of the season, cutting his contract short with the club.
On the 8th of October 2015, Klopp signed a three-year deal to take over as Liverpool manager, replacing Brendan Rodgers. Klopp’s first two seasons didn’t see any trophy success, but they proved he was the right man for the job, creating a team that had serious potential, but one that just needed time to prove what they were capable of.
The 2017-18 season saw Liverpool reach their first Champions League final since 2007. They unfortunately ended up losing 3-1 to Real Madrid, but the incredibly impressive performance throughout the tournament and the league, cemented Liverpool as a genuine force to be reckoned with.
The 2018-19 saw Liverpool enjoy incredible success. Not only were they on a roll in the league, but they made it to the Champions League final, after one of the most famous comebacks in Champions League history against Barcelona.
Liverpool went on to beat Tottenham Hotspur in the final 2-0, not only giving the Reds their 6th European title, but Klopp’s first Champions League trophy, and his first trophy as Liverpool manager.
Liverpool’s current form and league standing is undeniable, if it were not for the current pandemic, they would already be Premier League champions, there is still a very strong possibility of that happening, it is just a question of when.
Klopp’s effect on the club has been game-changing. Liverpool were abysmal for a long time before Klopp arrived. They had little to no direction, a team of players that some would call “misfits”, and a general lack of drive.
The German swooped in and has reinvented. Players like Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Allison Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, and countless others have become world-class superstars, all thanks to Klopp knowing how to play them, and how to set up the team properly.
The fate of this season is still up in the air, and it would be an absolute travesty to deny Liverpool the Premier League trophy, but either way, Jurgen Klopp has left an indelible mark on this incredible team, and has already secured his name in the books as one of the best managers the Premier League, and Liverpool, has ever seen.