Klopp's Journey: From Doubters to Believers
It has been almost three and a half years since Liverpool were crushed 6-1 by Stoke in Steven Gerrard’s last match as a Liverpool player and eventually Liverpool’s last match of the 2014-15 Premier League season. It was terrible day for everyone at Liverpool as their most legendary figure was made to bid adieu with a humiliating defeat against mid-table side Stoke City. Brendan Rodgers was soon sacked by the Liverpool owners after a series of unsatisfactory results coming into the 2015-16 season. In came Jurgen Klopp and promised the supporters a league title within the next 4 years. Klopp might not have won any trophy at Liverpool since he was appointed, but he has surely accomplished his goal of turning the fans from doubters to believers.
The future looked bright for Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp was appointed as the Liverpool manager, and he managed to take the club to the Europa League final and the League Cup final with a very average side. In Klopp’s second season, expectations were raised and Liverpool were actually marked favorites for the Premier League title that year after a series of good results at the start of the season.
However, due to Liverpool’s inconsistent results later in the season and losing key players to injury, Klopp managed a fourth place finish in his first full season as Liverpool manager. Securing Champions League football was vital to Klopp for Liverpool’s development and to attract some top players.
That transfer window, Liverpool paid £34 million for a Chelsea reject and £8 million for a full back from a relegated club. Currently, these two players are arguably the best players in the world at their positions. In his second full season at Liverpool, Klopp managed to secure a Champions League final spot in Kiev along with a 4th place finish. Even after losing their best player in the form of Coutinho to Barcelona midway through the season, Klopp brought the team to the final of the biggest competition in Europe.
He was mocked by other managers, pundits and fans of other clubs for spending a record fee of £75 million on Virgil van Dijk. Today, van Dijk is priceless in terms of what he brings to the Liverpool side. The highlight of Klopp’s 2nd full season at Liverpool was that nail-biting 4-3 win which ended Manchester City’s unbeaten run this time last year. Klopp’s side ripped Manchester City into pieces in a crazy 15 minute spell in the second half, although the Champions scored a few goals towards the end.
Following a heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev due to some goalkeeping errors, Klopp got into the market and bought some reinforcements to close the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City. Although Manchester City were the title favorites at the start of the season, Klopp, with a net spend of below £100 million has managed a 4 point lead over second placed and title favorites Manchester City. Following a 1-0 win over Brighton which Klopp termed Liverpool’s ‘most disciplined’ performance he has ever seen, Liverpool have shown how far they have reached under the German.
Klopp has really made every Liverpool fan believe that they can go on and win the Premier League after 29 long years of wait.