Opinion: Jurgen Klopp is worthy of being compared to Bill Shankly
- Jurgen Klopp's achievements over the last five years at Liverpool are comparable with the great Bill Shankly.
Following Liverpool's latest home victory, a narrow 2-1 win over Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, Jurgen Klopp's champions elect broke Bill Shankly's long standing Liverpool record of 21 consecutive home league victories.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Klopp said that he was aware of the record but that he 'will never compare with this fella'.
But do Jurgen Klopp's achievements now merit him being included in the same conversation as one of the greatest Liverpool managers of all time?
One can argue that they do.
Shankly was in charge of Liverpool from 1959 to 1974 when he handed over the baton to Bob Paisley. When he took over as manager Liverpool were languishing in the second division of English football where they had been for five years. Shankly will go on to totally transform the club.
He would lead his team to the Second Division title in 1961-62 before going on to claim three Division One titles, two FA Cups, three Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup, before shocking the football world and resigning in 1974. Shankly laid the platform for the success that would follow with his successor, Bob Paisley, who went on to add another six league titles and three European Cups.
In total Shankly would manage Liverpool in 753 games, winning 393 of them.
When Jurgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015, they weren't in the second division but they were undoubtedly a team in decline after coming so close to winning the Premier League in 2014. During his time in charge, Klopp has rebuilt his team methodically and astutely, reaching the Europa League and League Cup finals in 2016 and losing to Real Madrid in the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2018.
Progress was undoubtedly impressive but for Klopp to be considered a true Liverpool great he needed to add silverware to his list of achievements which he did in 2018-19 by winning Liverpool's sixth European Cup. He followed that with wins in the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019.
However the real Holy Grail for every Liverpool manager since Kenny Dalglish's first spell in charge has been to win the club's first Premier League title. Klopp's team came agonisingly close in 2018-19, missing out by just a point to Manchester City after only losing one game all season.
Despite that disappointment, Klopp's team have been relentless this season, losing only one game, and opening up a 25-point gap with closest rivals Manchester City. It is only a matter of time before Klopp's team win the trophy that Liverpool crave above all others and that achievement alone will propel him into the upper echelons of true Anfield greats.
Having recently signed a contract extension with the club until 2024, the sky is the limit for what Klopp and his team could go on to achieve.
Published 11 Mar 2020, 22:22 IST