A Change Felt Around The World
There was something different about Liverpool throughout the 2017/2018 Premier League and Champions League campaign. Belief seemingly instantly permeated throughout Anfield. Each player oozed pride, glory and class – no matter the size of the stage. Plenty of factors contributed to this generation of confidence and success, but one factor made all the difference. It didn’t come from the supporters, although we would love to think it was. It didn’t come from the updated stadium or the New Balance kits. It didn’t come from the purchase of £75 million center back, Virgil Van Dijk. It even wasn’t the arrival of Mohamed Salah, our Egyptian King (despite the pivotal role that he played throughout the campaign). The main reason for such lucrative success came from Jurgen Klopp, also known as “The Normal One”.
Despite his nickname, any football pundit can attest to the fact that Klopp is far from “normal”. Compared to recent managers like Brendan Rodgers, Roy Hodgson and King Kenny, Klopp has supplied each individual player with so much more confidence, hunger and will to compete in every minute of play. It feels different watching a side whose manager wants it more than most of the opposing players. Jurgen Klopp’s character and knowledge is unmatched in the premiership, and maybe even in Europe – is he the best manager in Europe? I wouldn’t disagree if you said yes.
But just how is the self-proclaimed “normal one” turning this Liverpool side around? Let’s dive in.
We haven’t seen the same amount of poise in each Liverpool individual since Steven Gerrard took his kit off for the last time. Jurgen Klopp is the natural leader that the rest of the players so desperately needed. He doesn’t just pick a starting eleven and discuss this week’s tactics with his players; Klopp has seemingly become a mentor and a friend to the boys. It is the constant communication and reinforcement of his belief and support that pushes his side along. His playful, exciting personality seems to carry over to every individual in the club. Every match, week in and week out, we see an inspiration that is undoubtedly created from the motivational German.
Liverpool has some of the youngest midfielders and outside backs in the Premier League and they drive balls and dive into tackles as if they have seen five or six years of top level experience. With young lads with incredible potential like Trent Alexander-Arnold (19), Andrew Robertson (24), and Dominic Solanke (20), Jurgen Klopp can transform these Reds into top-drawer footballers. This doesn’t simply include his inexperienced players; Mohamed Salah had previously transferred from Chelsea to Roma, where he barely saw time on the pitch in his first premier league stint. With just a little bit of trust and support from Klopp, Salah has been constantly breaking records, already winning the golden boot for the premier league in 2018.
The way that Klopp carries himself, speaks to media reporters and works with every individual is fascinating. He is a pleasure to listen to, despite the slight language barrier. Jurgen Klopp consistently jokes with the media throughout his interviews and tends to make light of any serious subject, which takes weight off of his players’ shoulders. When it comes to reprimanding and creating change, everything is private. In the public eye, Klopp willingly takes the blame for every mistake made by a member of the club or suggests that entire club is at fault for the mistake.
Take a look at the amount of character that he exhibits in this clip. He celebrates every significant event as if he has scored his first goal in his professional career. It’s not just the athletes that he is affecting; it reaches the supporters as well. Seeing a manager with this much emotion and pride towards his side brings a love to the team that has long been missing since he took his role as manager.
Attracting The Best In The World
Because of his history of success and leadership in football, players are starting to flock towards Liverpool. Many of these footballers have taken offers from Liverpool over clubs of larger magnitude like Manchester United and Barcelona, because international stars desire to play for someone with his passion for the sport. Klopp has single-handedly created the acquisitions for key parts of this successful team:
Mané, Karius, Matip, Klavan, Wijnaldum, Salah, Solanke, Robertson, Van Dijk and Ox are all included on this list. This includes over half of the starting eleven for Liverpool’s starting eleven in the recent Champions League final. In fact, Mané and Salah were two of the leading scorers in the English Premier League and Champions League. Karius had a strong season in the EPL, despite showing weak play in the Champions League Final. We’ve even recently signed the talented Fabinho, who had interest from Barcelona and other top clubs around the world. He will join Naby Keita on a squad that looks to be even stronger next year, with several other signings expected to be announced throughout the summer. Now THAT is the Klopp Effect at its finest.
His Style Of Play: Heavy Metal Football
“Heavy metal football” is truly a great depiction of what Klopp has brought to the Liverpool starting eleven. Constant pressure is applied with the likes of Mané and Salah on the wings, which allows Liverpool to fly from end to end, not giving opposing backs a rest. Bobby Firmino runs around like a mad man when an opposing defense is keeping possession. Behind him, Milner, Hendo, and Ox or Wijnaldum are the engines that match up with opposing midfielders of any level. It’s a fearless side that closes down any inter play as soon as possible.
The young and quick outside backs make forceful runs up the wing and challenge every winger to truly beat them when the time comes. Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have grown to become difficult defenders to get by. Our strong center backs, Lovren and Van Dijk, are both towering, physical defenders. Their presence in the air and their strong, threatening tackles do not allow opposing strikers to have the confidence to turn when they are positioned behind them. Lovren was initially shy going into tackles until the German came into Melwood and boosted his abilities year to year. He has gone from giving up most 50-50 balls in the air in his first few campaigns to keeping arguably the best player in the world in his pocket. Being able to shut down Ronaldo in the biggest game of his career was great to see for any Liverpool supporter.
The wingers and outside backs release so quickly when the ball is won, that it is almost impossible to keep up with them. Mané and Salah are rotating, Bobby is checking, and our outside back duo is charging down the outside of the pitch. It’s quick and it’s dangerous. Klopp has convinced these individuals of a winning system and they have all bought in because of Klopp’s belief, trust, and support.
There’s plenty more to do for the Reds to be dominant in the premier league, but I fully believe that Klopp is capable of transforming this team into a dynasty.
He has convinced his players that they will never walk alone. He is our belief and encouragement. He is “The Normal One”.
He is Jurgen Klopp.