Klopp, who led Dortmund to a pair of Bundesliga titles and a runner-up finish in the 2013 – 2014 Champions League, had been rumored to be in talks with Liverpool for several weeks, as chatter about Rodgers’ future with the club heated up. Klopp had been on sabbatical from the soccer world, following his resignation from Dortmund last spring after a disastrous season. Still, the German coach is typically regarded as one of the finest soccer managers in the world, and he just might be the man to turn the Reds into a winning soccer organization again.
A Season in Need of Turnaround
Not even Klopp is ready to say whether or not he can salvage the 2015 – 2016 season for Liverpool, though. In an interview following his October 8th hiring announcement, Klopp called the Liverpool coaching job “the biggest challenge in world football.” He’s clearly excited about it, too: he also called the Anfield job “the most interesting job in world football.”
“Interesting” is one way of putting it. Under Rodgers, Liverpool spent £80 million this past summer to bring in a small army’s worth of new talent. Christian Benteke, Danny Ings, James Milner, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino, and Nathaniel Clyne were all on the transfer list. However, most of those transfers have underwhelmed so far. Certainly, none of them have lived up to the strength of the stars that left Anfield during Rodgers’ tenure – guys like Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, and Raheem Sterling.
The underperforming new transfers have left Liverpool in 10th place on the Premier League table, with three wins, three draws, and two losses on the books. Luckily for Jurgen Klopp, he still has 30 matches to work with to turn things around. And, on the bright side, the Reds are just six points from the top of the table at the moment.
Klopp Taking Control
For instance, during Rodgers’ tenure, the Reds used a six-member “transfer committee” to identify potential signings and negotiate transfer deals. An early rumor indicated that Klopp would only be willing to come to Anfield if the transfer committee were disbanded. If that was a demand, Klopp seems to have relented. The transfer committee will remain, though Jurgen said that he would “have the first and last word” on Liverpool’s transfer deals.
During a press conference following his appointment, Klopp also promised to bring his brand of “full-throttle” football to Anfield. He described his playing philosophy as “very emotional, very fast, and very strong”—a philosophy that largely served him well in Germany. Klopp thinks that Liverpool has the players to win games with that type of philosophy. “We have good defenders, strikers, and midfielders,” he said. However, he noted that he needed to change the overall player (and fan) attitude “from doubter to believer” to build a team that functions well as a unit.
Obviously, Liverpool supporters have plenty of reason to doubt. This year marks 25 years since Liverpool won their last title, during the 1989 – 1990 season under the management of Kenny Dalglish. Klopp acknowledged that two and a half decades was a long time for any football club to go without a title, but expressed his desire to “not always compare with other times.”
Instead, Klopp asked fans to be patient and “give us time” to turn Liverpool back into the kind of team that wins titles. In turn, he made a promise: “If I am sitting here in four years, we will win one title in this time.”
Can Jurgen Klopp do at Anfield what other managers have failed to do? Can he salvage the season and create a well-functioning team out of all of Rodgers’ promising summer signings? Root for the new coach by picking up a Liverpool jersey 2015 – 2016 at Soccer Box! Use the coupon code “BLOG2015” to save 12.5% on your purchase.