Jurgen Klopp(56) Narrates How Liverpool Transformed from Doubters to Believers

“If I sit here in four years, I am pretty confident we will have one title,” said Jurgen Klopp in his introductory press conference as Liverpool manager in October 2015.

It was a bold statement for a club that hadn’t been crowned top-flight champions for 25 years, but Jurgen Klopp stayed true to his word. It took him an extra year, but he ended the Reds’ lengthy title drought, delivering their first-ever Premier League trophy. Over his eight and a half years at Anfield, Klopp has won it all, including a sixth European Cup, by playing high-octane football that showcased his unmatched man-management, motivational, and organizational skills.

None of this success would have been possible without a third, equally crucial component: the Anfield crowd. Jurgen Klopp immediately recognized the power of the fans, just as he had with Borussia Dortmund’s ‘Yellow Wall’. “You have to change from doubter to believer,” he told Liverpool’s weary supporters during his unveiling. These fans had watched arch-rivals Manchester United dominate for two decades, surpassing Liverpool as England’s most successful club.

This transformation didn’t happen overnight. Initially, Jurgen Klopp had to implore fans not to leave the stadium early if the team was trailing. “After the goal on 82 minutes, with 12 minutes to go, I saw many people leaving the stadium. I felt pretty alone at this moment,” he said after his first home loss, a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in November 2015. “Of course, we decide when it’s over. Between 82 and 94, you can make eight goals if you want, you only have to work for it.”

Gradually, Anfield became a fortress again. The home crowd fed off the team’s energy, and vice versa. Despite being mocked for celebrating a late draw with West Bromwich Albion two months into his tenure, memorable comebacks became a hallmark of Klopp’s Liverpool. Notable examples include the 5-4 win at Norwich City in January 2016 and the stunning 4-3 aggregate victory over Dortmund in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

This heavy-metal, Gegenpressing-style football entertained in the early Klopp years. Liverpool could beat Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten Manchester City in a seven-goal thriller but also throw away a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 at Bournemouth. However, this style lacked the control needed for a title-winning side. Painful defeats in finals to Manchester City, Sevilla, and Real Madrid were character-forming. Some attributed the latter loss partly to the departure of Klopp’s long-term assistant Zeljko Buvac, dubbed ‘The Brain’.

Jurgen Klopp, however, showed his resilience. After the painful Real Madrid defeat, he vowed to bring the Champions League trophy back to Liverpool. Just 12 months later, he did, after a miraculous comeback from 3-0 down to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals. This comeback acted as a catalyst for their success. Winning in Madrid silenced critics who said Klopp always stumbled at the last hurdle.

With defensive additions like Virgil van Dijk and Alisson in 2018, Liverpool found the perfect balance between attack and defense. They racked up 97 points in the 2018-19 season and a club-record 99 points the following season, winning their first title in 30 years. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool was “horrible to play against,” as he once said, with their formidable defense being the bedrock of their success.

Winning the Champions League and Premier League were the pinnacles of Klopp’s reign. However, Covid-19 restrictions meant the players couldn’t celebrate their title win with fans. The subsequent season saw a defensive injury crisis and a nosedive in form. Despite this, Klopp’s bond with the Anfield crowd remained strong.

The return of fans in 2021-22 saw a revived Liverpool side narrowly missing out on an historic quadruple. Klopp extended his contract until 2026, but the 2021-22 season’s near-misses took a toll. Despite another challenging season, Jurgen Klopp rebuilt Liverpool with a new forward line and midfield, securing an eighth trophy in February.

Jurgen Klopp’s journey with Liverpool is more than just about the trophies won. It’s about the unforgettable memories, comebacks, and the special bond with the fans. Klopp, awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in 2022, has left an indelible mark on the club and the city. Jamie Carragher summed it up best: “When you think of Liverpool, you think of Jurgen Klopp.”

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