Liverpool’s Premier League victory is a great example of how a manager transformed a team with his decisive impact on the players’ development along with a unique style of management to create one of the most dominant clubs in the history of English football.
When Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool’s manager in October 2015, the club had disappointed the fans with a poor performance, sitting in 10th place in eight matches. Following Klopp’s appointment, however, the club reached the UEFA Europa League final in 2016 and the UEFA Champions League final in 2018.
The Reds were beaten in both finals. The results were of course a disappointment for the fans at the time, but they would see a light at the end of the tunnel in the ensuing years as they witnessed the development of some players under the management of the German boss.
Liverpool bolstered their squad with talents such as Alisson Becker, Virgil Van Dijk, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah in subsequent seasons, and these transfers helped build one of the most feared teams in the world with a style of high-tempo play on the pitch.
In addition, off the pitch, Klopp’s personality and his management approach played a key role in the improvement of the playing quality.
Combining his charismatic personality with a passion and building strong connections with the squad, Klopp easily convinced his players and fans that they had a chance to end the Premier League title drought since 1990.
– Relationship characterized by great trust
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the writer of the definitive biography of Klopp, German journalist Elmar Neveling, believes Klopp’s relationship with his players is characterized by great trust and he manages to create a real team atmosphere.
“Klopp is a very positive person who cannot be stopped by setbacks. He gives every player, including substitute players, the feeling of being important. Even after the final defeats with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, he never gave up — and was rewarded for his persistence.”
In his first press conference at Liverpool, Klopp said his team would win one title in four years, reflecting his belief in the club and players despite the team failing to meet their fans’ expectations for a long time.
“You never hear players talking badly about him, not even afterward. He wants to help people. This empathy is one of his great strengths. Klopp has excellent specialists in his assistant coaching team whom he trusts. Regarding all these aspects, Klopp’s personality has made a decisive contribution to Liverpool’s great success in the past two years,” Neveling said.
One of the greatest minds in football, Klopp had remarkable victories in his early career in Germany before joining Liverpool.
He guided Borussia Dortmund to win back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 as he also led the German club to the Champions League final in 2013.
– Awakening Liverpool from their ‘deep sleep’
Klopp ended Liverpool’s 30-year wait for the top division title in England in June. The Reds showed sensational form during the 2019-2020 season in the Premier League as they were crowned champions with seven matches remaining.
“Jurgen Klopp has awakened Liverpool from their ‘deep sleep’,” Neveling added.
“In 2015, the team was only at an average level in the Premier League. The belief in great success hardly existed. With his enthusiasm, Klopp not only reached the team, but also the fans. Step by step, he sparked a euphoric mood.”
Neveling said Klopp’s game plan increasingly developed the team’s style of play since he took over the club.
“From the beginning, Klopp has followed a clear plan and implemented it over the years: Playing aggressively against the ball, counterattacking at high speed [heavy metal football], strengthening the defensive and developing a strategy against defensive teams. With players such as Salah or Van Dijk, he got his dream players and did not have to sell top performers as he had to do during his Dortmund era with Lewandowski or Gotze. ”
– ‘Liverpool today play more flexibly and intelligently’
Since he began his coaching career, Klopp team’s style of play has matured and improved over the years, according to Neveling.
“Liverpool played more flexibly and more intelligently this season than at the beginning of Klopp’s era,” said Neveling.
In addition to the epic Premier League title this season, Liverpool won the Champions League title, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019 under the management of the 53-year-old head coach.
Considered one of the best managers in football, Klopp never stops believing in his players and builds a strong connection with them.
“Klopp played a decisive role in a new coaching style, a style that is very communicative and involves the players more than before. This style corresponds to the spirit of the time in football, in which players want to be more involved for example in tactical decisions than in earlier times. But of course, Klopp ultimately makes the final decision as being a head coach,” Neveling added.
Source: Anadolu Agency