It has been nearly seven years since Jurgen Klopp made a number of ambitious declarations in his first interview after being appointed as Liverpool manager. But one by one, the German boss is checking off his objectives during his time at Anfield.
In a bright and bullish first interview, Klopp made a bold assertion that his appointment would coincide with success at Liverpool. Few would be brave enough to argue that he isn’t entirely responsible for the club’s rise over the past six years. Liverpool have won the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and Carabao Cup during Klopp’s time in charge.
There is still an FA Cup final to negotiate against Chelsea in May, while a third Champions League final in Klopp’s tenure beckons after a 2-0 win over Villarreal in the semi-final first leg. Similarly, Klopp almost laughed off the idea of having a historical year. But between 2019 and 2020, his side were English, European and World Champions. That scenario is something Liverpool fans wouldn’t have dared of dreaming of when Klopp was appointed in October 2015.
Success can be an ambiguous term, but for Liverpool, conquering the Premier League for the first time in 30 years and also Europe in the same cycle, there is no other word to describe their achievements. The only person to achieve more in their time in England is Pep Guardiola, but even the Catalan does not have a Champions League winners’ medal in his trophy cabinet in the last 10 years.
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And in comparing Liverpool’s rise to the other members of the ‘Big Six’, Klopp can confidently check that box with gusto. He once looked enviously above towards the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham with envy after seeing them qualify for the Champions League. “There’s Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham – they want to be successful in the table. Why should they reach what we don’t?” he said.
Now, the Blues are 13 points adrift and the other two are squabbling for a top-four finish. If Liverpool are not top of the pile, they are a very close second. Manchester United may be their most historical rivals, but the gap between themselves and the Red Devils has rarely been wider. Klopp can take his huge slice of credit for creating that legacy and an identity at Liverpool, something that has been lacking a few miles away in Manchester.
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Klopp also alluded to Liverpool supporters feeling “a bit nervous”, “a bit too pessimistic”. But through his recruitment of the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz, he has restored confidence to the Anfield faithful. They may have lacked belief before, but the German insists the fans must give their full support if they want to see Liverpool perform – and that reciprocal relationship has made Anfield a fortress and the Reds a team to be feared.
Reports suggest the 54-year-old has extended his contract on Merseyside to 2026, which would take him beyond a decade in charge of the Reds. It is a surprising move considering that Klopp has maintained he would take a break from football when his initial deal in 2024 expired.
But the ever-changing nature of ambitions and circumstances in football mean that even words from one of the most candid speakers in the game cannot be taken as golden. One thing which is for certain is that with Klopp extending his reign over the Kop, there will be more success to come.