Doubters to Believers: Looking back at 3 years of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool
The last three years have been a wild ride for Liverpool fans. A ride of progress. Back in October 2015, the Reds were in a dire state in the Premier League. The team was severely fractured, a mere shadow of the free-spirited title challengers in 2013-14. The spirit and belief at the club were gone, Brendan Rodgers was completely helpless. He was sacked following a 1-1 draw at Everton, having gained only 12 points from eight games. To put that into perspective, that is eight points less than what Liverpool have now, at the same stage.
Jurgen Klopp, who left Borussia Dortmund that summer, was heavily targetted by the Fenway Sports Group to become the new Liverpool manager. FSG got their man and the German was on his way to Anfield, and so changed the atmosphere around the club. Klopp stated in his first interview, that we had to change from doubters to believers. The spirit was coming back, along with the unity between fans and players. The rest of the 2015-16 would turn out to be quite the memorable campaign for the Reds.
Liverpool endured a long and testing campaign but managed to reach two cup finals. The Reds lost the League Cup final only on penalties, to a Manchester City side they beat twice that season. There were a lot of memorable European nights at Anfield as well, the first in a very long time. The run to the Europa League final produced many magical moments for Reds fans, especially that game against Dortmund.
Klopp welcomed his former club to his new home and showed just what Anfield was all about. Liverpool looked dead and buried on multiple occassions, fighting back valiantly to stay in the competition. After trailing 2-0 and 3-1, the Reds came back to win 4-3 thanks to a last-minute header from Dejan Lovren. The Croatian is just one example of how the German has improved current Liverpool players.
The likes of Lovren, James Milner, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino have all benefitted from Klopp's arrival. Almost every player has improved under the former Dortmund boss, a true testament to his supreme man-management abilities. He has righted the wrong of many mistakes made by Rodgers at his time at Anfield. From a restored belief to optimum utilisation of current resources, to the heavily-mentioned character around the club, Klopp has improved the club in many ways.
One thing that the German has been flawless at has been transfers. He has his own list of transfer targets and is unwilling to compromise on them. That stubbornness could annoy the fans, but it does pay off in the end. Jurgen Klopp is a manager who doesn't settle. He also has an impeccable record in the transfer market. Liverpool's transfer record has been shattered multiple times since 2016, with some heavy hitters coming into the club. The likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been banging in the goals and will continue to do so, despite what the form book says.
Klopp has also brought in players from relegated clubs. He picked up Gini Wijnaldum, Andrew Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri from Newcastle, Hull and Stoke respectively. They all had their concerns coming in, but they have more or less done a great job so far. The left-back deserves extra credit for coming to such a big club and completely transforming himself to finally end Liverpool's longstanding left-back problem. These signings are all down to the German.
It has been a step at a time for Klopp and Liverpool, with every position slowly getting strengthened over time. From attack to the wings, to the full-backs and now the defence. His persistence must be lauded, as that stubborn attitude got Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker to Anfield. The both of them have shown how valuable they are, with the Reds defence improving immensely since the Dutchman joined the club. He has that leadership quality and calmness that makes everyone around him much calmer as well.
While the Reds are still a work in progress, they really have come leaps and bounds under Jurgen Klopp. A top-four finish in his first full campaign at Liverpool was followed by a memorable run to the Champions League final last season. The belief and character have been restored at Anfield, as Liverpool are marching on this journey towards greatness. Speaking of Anfield, the place has become a fortress in the league as the Reds last suffered a league defeat at home in April 2017, against Crystal Palace.
Gone are the days where Liverpool were bystanders and placeholders. Gone are the days where the Reds fans could not be optimistic. Jurgen Klopp has taken the club a far way from what it was three years ago. While there aren't any trophies yet, the progress has been immense. Liverpool fans can believe again, as Klopp has built a squad of winners. They always say that the first trophy is the hardest and with the unity, this squad is showing, that trophy might not be very far away.
There hasn't been such an energy around Anfield on a consistent basis now in the Premier League era. He has got us buzzing. He has brought the winning mentality back to Anfield, He has made the sleeping giant a force again. He has built Liverpool back up to reclaim their perch and rightful place alongside Europe's elite. Jurgen Klopp has turned us from doubters to believers. It is time for the players to do the manager justice and write themselves into the history books, as the group that brought the glory days back to Anfield.