When Jurgen Klopp took over the Liverpool job in October 2015, Liverpool were a team struggling to hold on to even the Europa League places (bar an extraordinary season where they narrowly missed out on the league).
After the owners listened to the cry of the fans by letting Brendan Rodgers go, they managed to convince the German to come to Anfield and even though the journey has been full of near misses in terms of trophies, Klopp’s Liverpool is a powerhouse these days and its owing much to the German’s style of management.
Two years after taking over the job at the Kop, Liverpool look to be an established top four side and are sensationally in the UEFA Champions league final, beating English Premier League Champions for this year, Manchester City, en route to the final.
Such a feat is owing to enormous changes Klopp made behind the scenes with intelligent, shrewd and what looks like amazing business on the transfer market. Immediately Klopp took over, he requested that the bizarre red nets behind the goal posts at Anfield be removed claiming it does not help the visibility of the strikers (a decision many criticised him for but in truth was the right move). Then the player clear-out began as Martin Skrtel, Lazar Markovic, Joe Allen and a host of other players left the Kop (including the January exit of star player Coutinho) as most of the players were told they do not have any futures under Jurgen Klopp.
In the two years, Klopp has brought in Sadio Mane, Giorgino Wijnaldum, Lloris Karius, Ragnar Klavan, Domnic Solanke, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohammed Salah, Andy Robertson and Virgil Van Dijk , which underlines the vision Klopp has of working with young players who are ready to play the highly intensive pressing football his teams are characterised for.
Klopp’s technical and backroom activities are held in high esteem and if you listen to the man speak about how meticulous his backroom staff are concerning these issues, you will understand why Liverpool is progressing steadily in these two years. His two faithful assistants Zeljko Buvac ( who recently has uncertainty surrounding his future) and Peter Kraweitz have been with the German since his early days as a coach at the German club Mainz. Klopp, describing h relationship with the two, once said that, Buvac was the ‘brain’, Kraweitz the ‘eye’ and himself the ‘heart’.
Hence, Buvac’s explicit role is to actually make the players understand the philosophy and style of play going into games, Kraweitz monitors and studies the opponents through video analysis and searches for loop holes for which the team can capitalize on. Klopp is a manager whose type of management dwells mainly on effective man management and the players feel more comfortable with him around and relate with him mostly as a father figure.
It’s no surprise Liverpool are where they are this season and for a team that score forty Champions league goals this season, Klopp’s team is sure to be a potent attacking threat for the Madrid defense. It is the defending Klopp must worry about going into the Champions League final against a lethal Madrid side.
Nevertheless, no matter how you see it, Liverpool deserve to be in the Champions League final and despite Mohammed Salah’s impressive form this season, Jurgen Klopp is Liverpool’s real hero and come 26th May, if Liverpool do win it, he deserves most of the plaudits.