6 steps in the evolution of Liverpool FC under Jürgen Klopp
"Please give us time to do the work but when I sit here in four years, I think we may have one title. I'm pretty sure. If not, maybe (I'll win) the next one in Switzerland."
This was one of the headline-grabbing statements made by Jürgen Klopp during his first press conference as the manager of Liverpool Football Club. He also mentioned to the masses, that it was time to turn doubters into believers.
Almost four years on from that day, here he stands, as a European champion. This confident promise was not a shot in the dark or a sudden burst in momentum. Klopp has progressively built a somewhat broken Liverpool team, year by year, into the global force they have once again become.
In October 2015, almost eighteen months from the heartbreaking end to a stunning title challenge, Brendan Rodgers' team had fallen apart. Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling left, as did Steven Gerrard, while Daniel Sturridge was struggling with injuries. The new signings were not clicking well enough and the Reds were languishing in mid-table after a disappointing 6th-place-finish in the previous season.
Rodgers was sacked and Fenway Sports Group quickly moved to snap up the in-demand German, who was on a sabbatical after leaving Borussia Dortmund a few months prior. This would turn out to be the best possible signing made by Liverpool in a very long time.
However, it did take time to turn an average Liverpool side into the world beaters they have become today.
Here is how Jürgen Klopp turned the entire red half of Merseyside from doubters to believers.
#1 Laughable (or was it?)
Two months into Jürgen Klopp's reign as manager, Liverpool salvaged a 2-2 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion after Divock Origi scored a 96th-minute equalizer. After the match, Klopp made his players salute the Kop as a way of showing gratitude for sticking with the team until the very end, something they had failed to do in a home defeat to Crystal Palace a month earlier. It was perceived by fans and critics as a laughable celebration of a draw against West Brom. But for Klopp, and for Liverpool, this was the rekindling of an old relationship.
The fans have been a phenomenal inspiration throughout this season, contributing in a huge way at times. The bond between the players, the manager, and the fans could not be any higher at Anfield. This moment after the West Brom game in December 2015 sparked a special kind of bond that would become the Reds' secret weapon, a twelfth man if you will. Since then, the bond has only gotten stronger and stronger.
What seemed like a disappointing and inconsequential home draw, turned out to be a crucial turning point for the Reds. The team went on a journey, and the fans joined them.