One year of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool
“We have to change from doubters to believers. Now.” Jurgen Norbert Klopp gave this uplifting message to Liverpool supporters after becoming the Reds' manager on this day, one year ago.
October 8, 2015 was the date where Liverpool's search for a new manager ended after parting ways with Brendan Rodgers who seemed to have lost his way during his final few months with the club.
After a well-earned break that Klopp took after leaving Borussia Dortmund, the German could not refuse Liverpool's offer and the 49-year-old was unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club.
The team that Klopp inherited was low on confidence, mentally fragile and did not look threatening on any level. The German had a huge task in his hand with this job inarguably being the toughest of his managerial career, considering the hype and expectations that comes with being a Liverpool manager.
The first eight months at the club
Jurgen Klopp brought with him his own playing side to Merseyside and the players got used to his Gegenpressing slowly, and the results picked up steadily under him. The German's first big win came at Stamford Bridge as the visitors piled more misery on a struggling Chelsea side as Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners.
Another 4-1 victory away at the Etihad against Manchester City proved that the club was heading in a right direction under the new manager.
Liverpool played two cup finals last season but ended on the losing side on both the occasions. First, it was the League Cup final against Manchester City, which the Reds lost out on penalties and the second, the Europa league final against Sevilla in which the Andalusians mounted a spirited comeback to beat Jurgen Klopp's men 3-1.
In the last few months of the season, Liverpool focused completely on the Europa League as their league form waned and the Reds did not qualify for any European competition.
Jurgen Klopp's impact on the players
Many players were criticised by the supporters and many were played out of position under former manager, Brendan Rodgers. Players like Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren were under pressure since their arrival at the club and could not muster inspiring performances consistently.
Klopp's man management has always been his forte and it was on display in Liverpool as the players felt wanted by the manager which reflected on the pitch.
Roberto Firmino and Emre Can were played out of position pre-Klopp, but the German moved the duo to their favoured positions, with the Brazilian, especially, putting in good performances.
Players have come out and taken to the burly German and spoken some kind words about the manager; from the outside, it looks like he has garnered respect and adulation in equal amounts.
Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana's form can be credited as Klopp's first victory at the club, as the players looked hungry every time they enter the field.
Lovren was full of praise of his manager and said, “He is a perfectionist and so everyone wants to be like him. You want to give perfection during training and give 100 per cent on the pitch. It is great to see how intense he is on the touchline. He is really emotional and shows that in every part of the game. There are a lot of things that I have learnt from him but he is not just a good manager, he is a good man.”
Relationship with the supporters
Jurgen Klopp is an emotional man on the touchline and wears his heart on his sleeve, which has pleased the Merseyside fans. He has struck a chord with the Liverpool faithful as the Kop sings its manager’s name regularly.
He speaks from the heart and his honesty with the press has made him a darling with the press and Liverpool supporters alike.
Klopp had asked the fans at Anfield to create a rapturous atmosphere on a number of occasions and the crowd has responded to his request, which was evident from the support against Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund last season.
It’s been a while since the entire stadium was this united and this could potentially help the team push themselves more and deliver better performances.
Stats from Jurgen Klopp's time at Liverpool
When the German arrived at Liverpool, the Reds had played eight games with 12 points in the bag, averaging 1.5 points per game. The Reds had a goal difference of -2 with victories coming against Stoke, Bournemouth, and Aston Villa.
Comparing that with the 2016-17 season, Liverpool are sitting in fourth place with 16 points, just two points behind leaders Manchester City.
This is a dream start for Liverpool and they have already played away against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs, emerging unbeaten against the London sides. The Reds have also played against the champions and outplayed them; the strong start to the season has resulted in many Liverpool fans dreaming of a title.
Compared with the same juncture last season, Liverpool have four more points, ten more goals and a superior goal difference by +10. Liverpool have scored 24 goals in eight games this season, equaling a record set 121 years ago.
The Reds were tenth in the table when Klopp took over and the progress that the team has made is clearly visible on all fronts as Liverpool.
The road ahead
Jurgen Klopp has some issues to address as this team to make them genuine title contenders.
The team lacks a quality, out-and-out left back, though, James Milner has excelled in his new position for the club. A defensive midfielder is needed to give the team solid cover as Jordan Henderson might not have a future in his new holding position.
The Reds have had some disappointing results against teams who sit back and defend for 90 minutes as Liverpool encountered avoidable defeats against the likes of Burnley and Newcastle last season.
The key to the brilliant 2013-14 season was down to the sublime form of a few players, whereas this season's results are more of a collective effort. Liverpool have five players who have already scored more than two goals, whereas the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City have just two.
If the key players remain fit for the majority of this season, something special can happen this campaign.
Jurgen Klopp is arguably the best thing that has happened to Liverpool in over a decade, and the German is here for a long run and can achieve great things for the club in the near future.
Klopp had a good pre-season with his team and without European competitions, he will have more time to implement his ideas on the team.
There are many managers that may be better than Jurgen Klopp at the moment, but none better suited to Liverpool than the German. With Klopp signing a new long-term deal with the club which keeps him at Anfield till 2021, this match made in heaven is expected to be a long term relationship.