After nearly 9 years in cost and 7 main trophies, Jurgen Klopp is leaving Liverpool.

He has been one of the transformative managers within the membership’s historical past and in English soccer’s fashionable period.

To mark his departure, The Athletic is bringing you the Real Jurgen Klopp, a collection of items constructing the definitive portrait of one in every of soccer’s most well-known figures.

For part 5, James Pearce spoke to greater than a dozen present and former gamers, employees members and executives to disclose his managerial secrets and techniques.

Learn the remainder of the collection right here:


Pep Lijnders takes his time as he ponders how greatest to sum up the dimensions of Klopp’s contribution to Liverpool.

What a vantage level he’s had. The Dutchman was there to greet Klopp when he first arrived in 2015 and has been beside him nearly each step of the best way ever since on his teaching employees.

“In the past 30 to 40 years, not many coaches have changed a club like Jurgen,” Lijnders tells The Athletic. “Louis van Gaal at Ajax, Johan Cruyff at Barca, Pep Guardiola at Barca, Arrigo Sacchi at Milan. Then, for me, Jurgen here.

“Wherever we would have gone in the world, even if we had worn different colours, people would have recognised what they saw and said: ‘Ah, this is Liverpool Football Club’. As a coach, you cannot get a bigger compliment than that.”

Ask the identical query about Klopp’s affect at Anfield to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, the dynamic full-backs who will endlessly be related along with his reign, and also you get an identical reply: this was about excess of trophies.

“Look at the stories that we’ve written, the journeys we’ve all been on,” Alexander-Arnold says. “He’s helped us all develop into what we’ve always dreamed of. He took us to the pinnacle.”

Robertson, nodding in settlement beside him, agrees. “From the moment I walked in through the door, I could sense the belief everyone had in him. It’s been a fun ride. There’s always been excitement. He’s pretty decorated when it comes to silverware, but it’s more a story of how he got a club and fanbase believing again.”

For homeowners Fenway Sports activities Group (FSG), there’s additionally an enormous debt of gratitude. “He enthused the club with a competitive spirit that’s really quite unmatched,” says Liverpool chairman Tom Werner. “There’s something in his philosophy of life that bled into the storyline of Liverpool over the past nine years. Here is a man who is not even born in the UK, yet he’s become the Scouser we all love and admire.”


No managerial appointment in Liverpool’s historical past had created such a way of fervour.

It was simply after 5.30pm on Thursday, October 8, 2015, when Klopp arrived on the metropolis’s Hope Avenue Lodge. After the Mercedes V-Class he was travelling in had battled previous the supporters outdoors, he headed for The Sixth boardroom to signal a three-year contract alongside Werner, chief government Ian Ayre and agent Marc Kosicke.

Every week earlier, Klopp had flown to New York to fulfill Liverpool’s homeowners on the New York places of work of legislation agency Shearman & Sterling after deciding to chop brief his sabbatical, 5 months after leaving Borussia Dortmund.

Werner: “My first impression was that he uses humour in order to make people feel good. Obviously, the position was important to him, but he was also just enjoying a trip to New York City. You could sense his great love of life when we said goodbye.

“After that first meeting, we turned to each other and said: ‘Forget his tactical strategy, he’s absolutely the right person for this club’. We had interviewed other coaches but he was just extraordinarily charismatic. He could be the CEO of any number of big companies outside of football. He has this remarkable ability to motivate people.”

First-team improvement coach Lijnders, goalkeeping coach John Achterberg and academy director Alex Inglethorpe had been amongst these invited to have dinner with Klopp at Hope Avenue Lodge after he had signed his contract.


Klopp is unveiled as the brand new Liverpool manager with chairman Werner (left) and managing director Ayre (Paul Ellis/AFP through Getty Photos)

Achterberg: “The conversation just flowed. I felt like I’d known him for 10 years. I thought, ‘Yeah, I’m going to enjoy working for this guy’.”

Inglethorpe: “The day after he came to watch the under-18s play Stoke at the academy. It was clear he had a genuine interest in what we do. An awful lot of managers talk about being committed to the development of young players but only some of them mean it. Jurgen’s commitment never wavered. He made our jobs easier by ensuring that pathway was always clear. I can’t think of another manager who has done it in quite the same way.”

At his Anfield unveiling, Klopp described himself as “the normal one” and urged followers to “change from doubters to believers”.

“If we want, this could be a very special day,” he stated. “If you are prepared to work for it, if you are patient enough. If I’m sat here in four years, I think we will have won one title in this time. If not, the next one (job) may be in Switzerland.”

Liverpool had been tenth within the Premier League with 12 factors from eight matches. That they had gained only a solitary League Cup since 2006 and had solely certified for the Champions League in one of many earlier six seasons as Brendan Rodgers’ reign unravelled following the heartache of lacking out on the title in 2013-14.

Klopp waited till the membership’s internationals had returned to their Melwood coaching base earlier than assembling the squad within the media room. Every member of employees on web site was requested to go by way of and describe their function.

Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet: “They all came through like a train. Jurgen said: ‘Who are all these people?’ Everyone said: ‘They’re the staff.’ He said: ‘No, we’re all one family: the Liverpool family. Everyone has to know everyone’s name. These people are here to help you perform.’ Jurgen’s point was that everyone is a part of the puzzle. That set the tone for everything that came after.”

Melwood gateman Kenny Grimes: “There’s no doubt that the players’ attitude changed towards us. Previously, sometimes they used to drive straight past you but after that (meeting with Klopp), they started to let on a lot more. Everyone just seemed happier, more relaxed. There were never any airs and graces with Jurgen. The culture changed. He made you feel part of Liverpool FC to a much greater extent.”

Klopp, who introduced assistants Peter Krawietz and Zeljko Buvac with him, felt that the squad he inherited was gifted however weighed down by expectation ranges and strain. He advised them: “The only criticism which is really important is mine.”

He introduced in new guidelines about gamers consuming collectively and strengthened that Melwood was a place of business, not for hangers-on. Break day was decreased because the coaching schedule turned extra intensive in an effort to adapt to his gegenpressing technique.

As he stood addressing his gamers, he wrote on the board:

T – TERRIBLE
E – ENTHUSIASTIC
A – AMBITIOUS
M – MENTALLY-STRONG MACHINES

Mignolet: “I remember him saying that ‘terrible’ was how opponents were going to feel after going up against us for 90 minutes. He talked about how we were going to out-work and out-run teams.”

The defining picture from his first sport in cost — a 0-0 draw at Tottenham — was the sight of a shattered Adam Lallana falling into his arms after being substituted.

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Lallana comes off exhausted throughout Klopp’s first match, at Tottenham, in 2015 (John Powell/Liverpool FC through Getty Photos)

Lijnders: “I loved his team talk before that game. He said that Tottenham’s confidence was like a little flower. He stood up and then started stamping his foot down on the floor! That was what he wanted the team to do to the flower! I thought: ‘It’s going to be fun working with this guy’.”

Achterberg: “His force of personality quickly changed the mood around the place. What I liked early on was that Jurgen talked up the standard of the players he inherited. He knew the transfer window was shut and he couldn’t change anything. He immediately got a lot more out of players who had been struggling. He told everyone that everyone would have a fair chance.

“The mantra was: ‘Don’t run forward if you can’t run back’. He said: ‘I’m responsible for the defeats, you boys are responsible for the wins’. He didn’t bulls*** anyone and he was demanding, but working for him was so rewarding. He trusted you to get on with your job and people were prepared to go into battle for him.”

Defender Martin Skrtel: “There was something about the way he talked us as players, the way he motivated us. With Jurgen, he’s real. He’s not playing games. He’s not talking behind your back. That’s why players love him.”

Striker Daniel Sturridge: “It was hearing his voice on the training pitch more than anything. The way he would give his messaging resonated with everyone. It’s hard to get players thinking they’d run through a brick wall for this guy, but he did that.

“With every top manager, it’s teetering on the line of fear and respect. The players need to respect the boss — but the boss needs to command the respect of the players. You have to control the situations at big clubs, and he did that.”

It wasn’t simply on the sector the place Klopp needed to alter the mindset. A month into his tenure, he declared he felt “pretty alone” as followers left early when Liverpool trailed Crystal Palace 2-1 at residence.

Achterberg: “He felt like the supporters were not fully behind the team. They didn’t really believe. He spoke a lot about that needing to change — how he needed everyone on board.

“Gradually, Anfield became a lot more positive. Critics said Jurgen was celebrating a point when he got the players to hold hands in front of the Kop after Divock Origi got a late equaliser against West Brom, but they missed the point. That was his way of saying: ‘Thank you, this is what’s possible if we all stick together’. The first big example of that was the fightback against Dortmund (in the Europa League). That underlined how he had tapped into the power of Anfield.”

Liverpool trailed 4-2 on combination within the second leg of the Europa League quarter-final with simply 25 minutes to go however objectives from Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren surprised Klopp’s former membership.

Lijnders: “I believe that the character of the leader becomes the character of the team. You get a passionate guy coming in who really knows what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. He had the experience of knowing what works and came with new football ideas. People started seeing development and the people around him were able to express themselves freely.”

In December 2015, the gamers had anticipated their Christmas social gathering to be cancelled after a 3-0 defeat to Watford. As a substitute, they acquired a message from the manager that learn: “Whatever we do together, we do as well as we can and tonight that means we party.” No one was allowed to go away Formby Corridor, a golf resort and spa advanced close to Liverpool, till 1am.

By the top of the season, Liverpool had competed in however misplaced two main finals: the League Cup to Manchester Metropolis (on penalties) and the Europa League to Unai Emery’s Sevilla.

Decided to raise spirits on the post-match social gathering in Basel’s Novotel, Klopp grabbed the microphone and stated: “Two hours ago you all felt s***. But now, hopefully, you all feel better. This is just the start for us. We will play in many more finals.” He then launched right into a defiant rendition of “We Are Liverpool”.

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Klopp needed to share in his gamers’ celebrations — comparable to at Norwich in 2016 (Lindsey Parnaby/AFP through Getty Photos)

Achterberg: “Jurgen was adamant that the party should go ahead. He said sometimes you have to lose in order to learn how to win.”

Midfielder Lucas Leiva: “OK, we lost both finals but just getting to them was a real sign of progress. Jurgen was building something special – you could see it, you could smell it. He always found positives in defeats. His man management was the best I ever had.”

Little by little, Klopp was starting to construct a squad in his personal picture.

Marko Grujic was the primary signing of the Klopp period. Purchased from Purple Star Belgrade for £5.1million ($6.5m) in January 2016, the younger midfielder stayed in Serbia on mortgage for the remainder of the season earlier than linking up with Liverpool in the summertime. He made simply 16 appearances for the membership, however even he was formed by Klopp’s philosophy.

Grujic: “Going to such an enormous membership most likely got here too early for me, however I realized a lot from Jurgen. The most troublesome factor was the excessive press — a lot sprinting and altering path. It turned probably the most well-known factor concerning the crew. It turned the most important weapon however so many hours on the coaching area went into getting that proper.

“Buvac would take a lot of the technical drills and he was a big help to me as he spoke my language, but Jurgen was such a good coach and also a nice guy. He would make everyone laugh with jokes and always had time for everyone — whether it was the ladies in the canteen or the kit guys.”

Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip and Loris Karius had been additionally new additions to the squad in the summertime of 2016, whereas Klopp boosted his backroom employees by recruiting head of health Andreas Kornmayer and nutritionist Mona Nemmer from Bayern Munich.

KLOPP LINEUPS v3 1

It was made abundantly clear that indiscipline wouldn’t be tolerated. Sakho was despatched residence in shame from the pre-season tour of America after being late for the crew flight to California and a crew meal after which failing to show as much as a remedy session. “We have rules. If somebody doesn’t respect it or somebody gives me the feeling he is not respecting it, then I have to react,” Klopp stated.

The French defender had missed the top of the earlier season following a failed UEFA medicine take a look at. He was subsequently cleared however Klopp was livid that he had taken weight-loss dietary supplements with out the membership’s data. Sakho joined Crystal Palace, initially on mortgage the next January, and by no means performed for Liverpool again.

With Roberto Firmino, who had initially struggled underneath Rodgers after arriving from Hoffenheim, remodeled after being moved right into a central attacking function and Mane scoring freely, Liverpool returned to the Champions League as they beat Middlesbrough on the ultimate day of the 2016-17 season. It was Lucas’ swansong after a decade of service.

Lucas: “I had a year left on my contract but the team was evolving, I was playing less and less and I had a good offer from Lazio. It was hard to leave but I really appreciated how Jurgen handled it all. We had an honest talk and agreed it was best for myself and the club.”

Nurturing younger expertise proved to be a theme of the Klopp period. Alexander-Arnold was handed his debut on the age of 18 in 2016-17 and the academy graduate quickly established himself because the first-choice right-back.

Alexander-Arnold: “Especially early on, as a young player coming through at such a big club, you go through a lot: the demands, the pressure, the expectation. Jurgen helped me so much. He put an arm around me and took the pressure off. He talked to me about managing my emotions. He knew when a bollocking was needed, or a little bit of love. He helped me go from being a young player breaking through to being a leader of this team. I owe him so much.”

Shrewd recruitment ensured that momentum was maintained. In the summertime of 2017, Mohamed Salah was signed from Roma for £43.9million. Klopp had initially needed Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt, however sporting director Michael Edwards satisfied him that the Egyptian attacker — who Chelsea had beforehand off-loaded — was the most suitable choice accessible.

Signing gamers with a degree to show appealed to Klopp. Robertson arrived in the identical window for £10million after being relegated with Hull Metropolis. Wijnaldum had suffered the identical destiny with Newcastle United.

Robertson: “It’s fairly uncommon {that a} huge membership indicators you off the again of one thing like that. The first time I met Jurgen, it was at Melwood; he had simply flown again with the squad from Asia. He walked over, gave me a giant hug and welcomed me to the membership. He defined what he considered me as a participant, the place he thought I may enhance, how he needed me to play. I believed in each phrase he stated.

“The club had just got back into the Champions League and it felt like the first steps of the journey. You could see how much belief everyone had in him. The whole club was connected. Before, from the outside looking in, it didn’t look that way. Part of that was signing good characters: people who could carry his messages within the changing room as his eyes can’t be everywhere.”

Salah, Mane and Firmino netted 91 objectives between them in 2017-18. Salah, who was topped PFA Participant of the 12 months and FWA Footballer of the 12 months, set a brand new better of 32 league objectives over a 38-game season as he scored 44 instances in all competitions.

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Mane, Firmino and Salah shaped a formidable trio (Laurence Griffiths/POOL/AFP through Getty Photos)

When Coutinho belatedly received his want and was bought to Barcelona for £142million in January 2018, there have been considerations that Liverpool’s cost could be derailed however Klopp didn’t share them. He felt that too typically team-mates seemed to the Brazilian to supply the inventive spark and that with out him they’d develop into extra unpredictable.

He was proved proper. It helped that £75million of the price was spent on the transformative signing of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

Lijnders: “We could play a higher line with Virgil — more aggressive because of how he deals with space and longer balls.”

With Van Dijk, Liverpool surpassed all expectations in reaching the Champions League last in Kyiv. Forward of the sport with Real Madrid, Klopp sought to alleviate the stress in a crew assembly by lifting up his prime to disclose he was sporting Cristiano Ronaldo-branded boxer shorts.

Wijnaldum: “Everyone was laughing their heads off. That really broke the ice. Usually in those situations, everyone is serious and concentrated. But he was relaxed. He is a father figure for players and a really special man for me. He really cares about the welfare of a player and wants to know you away from football.”

The tears flowed within the Liverpool dressing room after the 3-1 defeat to Zinedine Zidane’s facet. Karius sat along with his head in his fingers after gifting Madrid two objectives with obvious errors. Salah was crestfallen after being compelled off with a shoulder harm.

Alexander-Arnold: “In terms of team talks, the biggest one for me was the messaging Jurgen gave us after Kyiv. He said: ‘This defeat is not going to define us. As a group, we are going to get back here. This is where we’re destined to be.’”

When Klopp lastly made it again to his home in Formby simply after 6am, the beer flowed and he led a sing-song with previous associates together with Krawietz, Campino, the lead singer of German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen, and Johannes B Kerner, a well known German TV persona.

We noticed the European Cup,
Madrid had all of the f***ing luck,
We swear we’ll carry on being cool,
We’ll convey it again to Liverpool!

It was typical Klopp. No doom and gloom, no self-pity. Switch plans had been already nicely superior. Naby Keita was arriving from RB Leipzig for £52.75million and, inside two days of Kyiv, that they had accomplished a £40million transfer for Monaco’s holding midfielder Fabinho.

The huge dilemma for the manager was the goalkeeper scenario and the right way to deal with a distraught Karius. His compassionate intuition was to wrap an arm round him and rehabilitate his Liverpool profession somewhat than present him the door.

4 days after the ultimate, Klopp acquired a name from Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer, who alerted him to the likelihood that Karius might have been concussed by a blow to the top from Madrid’s Sergio Ramos shortly earlier than his first pricey blunder of the ultimate.

Karius, who was on vacation within the U.S, was despatched to see a specialist in Boston. Mind scans confirmed Karius had ‘visual-spatial dysfunction’, which may end up in an incapability to guage the place objects are. “What the rest of the world is making of it, I don’t care. We don’t use it as an excuse: we use it as an explanation,” insisted Klopp, who branded Ramos “a brutal wrestler”.

Publicly, Klopp talked a couple of contemporary begin for Karius however the ‘keeper was a bag of nerves the following pre-season. His confidence was shot to bits.

Behind the scenes, Liverpool had been working on a replacement long before the Champions League final. Klopp didn’t have full religion in both Mignolet or Karius, which created uncertainty and a level of resentment between the 2 ’keepers.

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Loris Karius displays on his traumatic Champions League last (Franck Fife/AFP through Getty Photos)

Achterberg: “It was a really hard situation for Jurgen and all of us to deal with. We played Chester away in the first friendly after Kyiv. I kicked the ball towards Loris during the warm-up and it went straight through his hands and legs and into the net. Someone filmed it and it went viral on social media. Then we played Tranmere and he dropped the ball and they scored.

“I’d been watching Alisson’s development closely since (ex-Roma and Liverpool goalkeeper) Alexander Doni told me about this guy coming through at Internacional in Brazil. The problem was he didn’t have an EU passport, which meant we couldn’t have signed him when he went to Roma in 2016.

“When we played against Ali in a pre-season friendly in the States (in August 2016), I told Jurgen: ‘This is the one I was telling you about’. I kept watching and writing reports on every game he played. I spoke to all the recruitment guys about him.

“There was a meeting in January 2018 with Ali’s agent when we said how highly we rated him. That summer, the club were going to sign midfielder Nabil Fekir from Lyon but they backed out because he had a bad knee (a fee of £62million had been agreed).

“If the Fekir deal had gone through, would we have had the money to sign Alisson? Things certainly turned out for the best. I told the boss that Ali was the one. We needed to move quick in mid-July because we knew Thibaut Courtois was leaving Chelsea (to join Madrid) and they needed a replacement.”

Initially quoted £90million by Roma, Edwards negotiated a £65m deal for Alisson. It was the ultimate piece within the jigsaw.

In his first season at Anfield, he gained the Premier League Golden Glove for many clear sheets (21) and was topped goalkeeper of the yr by each UEFA and FIFA. Klopp would stroll round Melwood singing “All you need is Al-i-sson Beck-er” to the tune of Queen’s Radio Ga Ga.

There was additionally a big change among the many backroom employees. Lijnders had left Liverpool in January 2018 to handle Dutch outfit NEC Nijmegen however he returned simply 4 months later after Klopp provided him the assistant manager’s job. The emptiness had arisen following the exit of Buvac, who had develop into more and more distant as relations strained with different employees members.

Lijnders: “Jurgen gave me responsibility for the entire training process and that was very important to me. I wouldn’t have come back just for my old job. It meant I could continue with the things that I loved: planning training, delivering training, finding tactical and strategical plans. We challenged each other.

“I’ve known him for nine years and he still surprises me every day. I always loved the meetings in Jurgen’s office the day before each game. That’s where you decide who starts, how we’re going to build the game, how we’re going to press them, what the messages to the players will be. Things become clear in our heads before we speak with the team.”

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Klopp and Lijnders have an in depth bond on and off the sector (Clive Brunskill/Getty Photos)

Klopp then made some refined modifications to Liverpool’s blueprint. “We need more game management and control,” he defined. “Everyone talks about our intensity but sometimes when we run like devils, I have to say, ‘Come on, please cool down’.”

Previous to 2018-19, he prioritised enhancing Liverpool’s output from set items. Lijnders and Krawietz had been tasked with arising with the routines to make them rely. By the top of the season, Liverpool had been prime of the Premier League set-piece objectives desk with 29.

Klopp the innovator was at all times in search of marginal features. That summer season, he recruited specialist throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark after studying about his work in a German newspaper.

Gronnemark: “Before I met Jurgen, it was frustrating. I had all this knowledge about how to keep possession from throw-ins and create chances, but people didn’t want to listen. They only wanted long throw-ins. The first club that took it all on board was Liverpool. That says a lot about the mentality and the culture Jurgen created at Liverpool.”


Quick ahead to Could 7, 2019, and Liverpool went into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Barcelona at Anfield 3-0 down and needing a miracle to keep away from ending the season empty-handed.

The earlier night time, title rivals Manchester Metropolis had overwhelmed Leicester Metropolis courtesy of Vincent Kompany’s piledriver to stay masters of their very own future. For the Barca sport, Salah was sidelined by concussion and Firmino was injured.

Robertson: “The morning of the Barcelona game really stands out for me. The way he spoke and addressed Kompany’s goal, which pretty much finished the title race. It was like: ‘Right, does anyone want to say anything about what happened last night? No, right, here we go’.

“Then in the team meeting at the hotel, he said: ‘For anyone else, this is impossible, but because it’s you lot, there’s a chance.’ Belief built by the hour. You could sense it. You just couldn’t wait to get to Anfield. The changing room before the game was the loudest one I’ve ever been in.”

Achterberg: “He said to the boys, ‘Close your eyes and imagine the best game you have ever played. Go out there and write a story to tell your grandkids one day’. The words were perfect. It was the greatest night ever at Anfield.”

The 3-0 deficit had already been worn out when Alexander-Arnold’s shortly taken nook caught Barcelona napping and Origi swept residence Liverpool’s fourth aim.

Alexander-Arnold: “That night epitomised what Jurgen had created. The mentality he had instilled in us that no matter what position we’re in, whoever we’re up against, we just believe that anything is possible. It’s happened so many times. All those fightbacks, all the late winners.”

Werner: “I was watching the game with John Henry in Boston. It will be etched in our memories forever. The fourth goal was just crazy.

“The sense of unity Jurgen had created was clear. I had the privilege of watching training one day and Jurgen got everyone in a circle to tell them it was Sadio Mane’s birthday. He got Sadio to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in his native language and then turned to Virgil and said, ‘Why don’t you sing it in Dutch?’ Then he turned to Mo Salah and said ‘Why don’t you sing to Sadio in Arabic?’ On it went with everyone laughing. I just thought, ‘What a wonderful way to start the day.’”

Regardless of attaining a club-record haul of 97 factors and shedding only one league match all season, the Premier League title eluded Liverpool on the ultimate day as Metropolis completed one level clear. “That was our first chance to win it — not our last,” Klopp reassured his gamers.

The three-week hole to the Champions League last in Madrid wasn’t preferrred however a pleasant was organized with Benfica’s B crew at Liverpool’s coaching camp in Marbella as their model and formation was deemed much like opponents Tottenham.

Klopp, who was bidding to finish a run of six successive last defeats as a manager, was so relaxed he had a two-hour sleep in his lodge room on the afternoon of the ultimate.

Robertson: “The night before in the stadium, he got us all in a circle. He said: ‘This is where we become Champions League winners tomorrow night’. It made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You just thought, ‘Yeah, this is it’. From the heartbreak of the year before in Kyiv, the feeling was: ‘Get us to that game, let’s do our job and get our hands on that trophy.’”

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Klopp tells his gamers that that is the place they may win the Champions League (Mohd Rasfan/AFP through Getty Photos)

“Let’s talk about six, baby,” beamed Klopp after Salah’s early penalty and Origi’s drilled end late on sealed the membership’s sixth European Cup. “Did you ever see a team like this, fighting, with no fuel in the tank? They suffer for me. They deserve it more than anybody.”

The celebrations contained in the membership’s personal social gathering in Madrid’s Eurostars Lodge went on till daybreak. There was a symbolic second when Klopp and associates, together with Campino, headed to a facet room to report an impromptu follow-up to their music from a yr earlier:

We’re sending greetings from Madrid,
Tonight we made it quantity six,
We introduced it again to Liverpool,
As a result of we promised we might do.

Round 750,000 folks turned out in Liverpool for the homecoming parade. “If you could’ve put all the emotions, all the excitement, all the love in the air that day and bottled it up, the world would be a better place,” Klopp stated.

With captain Jordan Henderson and vice-captain James Milner round, there was by no means any hazard of requirements slipping.  The 2019-20 season was one in every of ruthless and relentless consistency. There was no title race, only a procession. Klopp’s males took 79 factors out of the primary 81 on provide and lifted the European Tremendous Cup and Membership World Cup alongside the best way. Everybody performed their part, however the full-backs had been so influential with the standard they supplied from large areas.

Robertson: “It was intense however the best way the manager needed us to play suited Trent and I by way of making an attempt to create. It was an enormous part of our success, overloading the large areas, having the three of us — myself, Gini and Sadio — extra typically on the left, after which Trent, Hendo and Mo on the suitable, making an attempt to create overloads.

“However we additionally needed to be part of a powerful defence. When Jurgen first got here in, they had been profitable video games 5-4 just like the one at Norwich. That most of the time doesn’t win you titles. You may have to have the ability to hold clear sheets.

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Robertson and Alexander-Arnold had been key underneath Klopp (Paul Ellis/AFP through Getty Photos)

“There are lots of elements to his philosophy — like when we lose the ball, reacting quickly to win it back. That’s especially important against deeper-lying, low-block teams. That’s when spaces open up because maybe one of them is out of position. It was full throttle. You knew you needed to be at 100 per cent every game. It wasn’t as controlled as some other teams but you knew when you played against us, you had to outrun us and want it more than us to have a chance.”

Lijnders: “If players feel inspired, if they feel like they’re improving, there’s nothing better. If you work for a long time with the same group, you need to dress up well. It’s the same if you’re in a marriage! You always need to find new ways to inspire. The reason why we were successful is our players had unbelievable character, potential and attitude. We created stability by keeping Jurgen, staff and players together, always doing the same type of work on the training pitch.

“In the best games, it was our counter-pressing that made the big difference; not waiting for things to happen. When emotions become high, players forget the tactical plan. It’s the training and the repetition that makes the difference.”

In the summertime of 2019, Klopp recruited efficiency psychologist Lee Richardson. He additionally invited German big-wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner to talk to the gamers about managing stress and instructing them respiratory strategies.

Richardson: “Jurgen is the best communicator I’ve ever seen. The head psychologist at Liverpool is Jurgen in many ways. He’s the one who affects most people with everything he does — with every team talk he gives, every decision he makes. The role of the actual psychologist is about being a support for different things that the manager can’t always be dealing with.”

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Klopp perfected the artwork of the crew discuss (Paul Ellis/AFP through Getty Photos)

With Liverpool on the cusp of ending their 30-year title drought in March 2020, the season was suspended as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. The gamers assembled within the canteen at Melwood when Klopp advised them: “Don’t worry about football for now. You are the best team in England and the most worthy champions there has ever been.”

The triumph was belatedly confirmed on June 25, 2020 after Manchester Metropolis misplaced to Chelsea. Liverpool had been an unassailable 23 factors away from Metropolis with seven video games remaining.

Alexander-Arnold: “We knew there was a chance it could happen, so Jurgen got everyone together for a barbecue. You never grow up dreaming of becoming a Premier League champion sitting at Formby Hall in the middle of a global pandemic! You think about a last-minute winner that snatches it, a full house at Anfield, celebrating with the fans.

“But it was still a special one for us. It was such a dominant season. We blew every team away. Looking back on that season, I don’t see how any team could have beaten us with the mentality that we had. We won games in so many different ways.”

Klopp was decreased to tears as he went round hugging his gamers. His knack of creating even these on the fringes of the squad really feel essential was underlined on the night time Liverpool lifted the Premier League trophy after beating Chelsea at Anfield. Turning to his fourth-choice goalkeeper, he stated: “Andy Lonergan, champion of England, champion of Europe, champion of the world. What a guy!”

The gamers responded by chanting the identify of somebody who had not made a single look for the membership.

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GO DEEPER

Liverpool’s 30 years of damage


Having scaled such heights, Liverpool fell shortly – regardless of the arrivals of Diogo Jota from Wolves and Thiago from Bayern Munich. For a crew that fed off the emotional vitality within the stands, taking part in behind closed doorways in the course of the pandemic was a tough, soulless slog.

Klopp additionally needed to take care of the non-public anguish of shedding his mom Elizabeth and never having the ability to journey residence to Germany for the funeral as a result of journey restrictions. On the sector, Liverpool had a centre-back disaster after Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Matip all suffered season-ending accidents. Taking part in Henderson and Fabinho within the again line didn’t work because it weakened the midfield. Klopp turned to rookies Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to assist salvage their top-four hopes.

Phillips: “I look back on that period with a lot of pride — it brings a smile to my face. I’d only played once for Liverpool before that season: the FA Cup tie against Everton the year before when Curtis Jones scored a brilliant winner. Jurgen placing his faith and trust in me was a huge boost. He was always providing reassurance. He was very complimentary about me in the press. He made me feel that I deserved to be there.

“Before I was exposed to first-team football, I always had the impression there would be big personalities and big egos in there. But what struck me was that no one in that dressing room thought they were better than anyone else.”

Lijnders: “We had to keep each other positive. The moment I became negative, Jurgen became positive. When he was negative, I stayed positive – that’s the best way to describe it. The mindset was always, ‘What do we have?’ Not, ‘What don’t we have?’”

Robertson: “Even during the tough times, I don’t think anyone ever doubted the manager – you always felt he would find a way out of it. Of course, there were days when his energy wasn’t as high, results weren’t great, and times when we had to lift him.

“At the start of that season, if you had said we would be relying on Nat and Rhys to get us into the Champions League I don’t think many would have believed you. But Jurgen found a way. After all the problems we faced, it felt like a massive achievement.”

Liverpool took 26 factors out of the final 30 on provide to complete third in 2020-21. The spotlight of the run-in was Alisson’s headed winner at West Bromwich Albion within the final minute of stoppage time. He turned the primary goalkeeper to attain a aggressive aim within the membership’s 129-year historical past.

Achterberg: “I thought maybe Ali could be a nuisance in their box — but I wasn’t expecting that! There was a lot of passion on the bench because we were so desperate for that win. Ali’s part in the story is so big. Without the save he made late on against Napoli (to deny Arkadiusz Milik in the Champions League group stage in December 2018), there would have been no run to Madrid, no European Cup, no Super Cup or Club World Cup.

“Jurgen joked that if he had known Ali was this good he would have paid double. With Caoimhin Kelleher, we created the best goalkeeper department the club has ever had.”

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Klopp on the rostrum along with his gamers after the 2019 Champions League win (Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Photos)

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Klopp’s “mentality monsters” kicked on throughout a breathless 2021-22. Each home cups had been gained on penalties towards Chelsea at Wembley with the manager saluting the “incredible impact” of Neuro11, the German neuroscientists that had been recruited to work with the gamers on dead-ball conditions. Liverpool scored 17 of their 18 spot-kicks throughout the 2 shootouts.

Quadruple discuss gathered tempo however Liverpool missed out on the 2 largest prizes by the best of margins. As soon as again the title race went all the way down to the ultimate day. Metropolis’s late fightback from 2-0 all the way down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 ensured they completed a degree clear.

Achterberg: “Jurgen never talked about City. His attitude was: ‘We only play them twice a season, so why worry?’ You can’t influence what they do. We knew that City had much greater resources but we were so close to winning the lot that year.”

On the identical night time that Liverpool beat Villarreal to achieve a 3rd Champions League last underneath Klopp, on-loan Phillips was celebrating serving to Bournemouth win promotion again to the highest flight.

Phillips: “My phone buzzed with a message from Jurgen. He thanked me and Rhys for the part we had played in getting them into the Champions League the season before. The fact he had us in his mind at that time says a lot about him.”

The chaos outdoors Stade de France blighted the showpiece event in Paris. On the sector, Liverpool had been thwarted by the heroics of Real Madrid goalkeeper Courtois and Vinicius Junior’s aim.

Werner: “We spent a lot of time with Jurgen in Paris after that defeat. It was so discouraging because we all felt we were the better team on the night. If we replayed that match 10 times, we probably win eight. But Jurgen was so optimistic about the future. He was far more cheerful than any of us.

“He has such a unique perspective. There’s that famous quote that ‘football is the most important of the least important things in life’. Jurgen knows that football at its best is a real tonic for people. He appreciates the wins but keeps the losses in perspective. He articulates himself after a defeat in such a way that it soothes your pain. He carries that balance. It’s demonstrated in his relationship with the team, his staff, the supporters and the city. He always has a grasp of the bigger part.”


Having constructed one nice crew, Klopp set about assembling one other. The frontline developed with the signings of Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo. However he over-estimated what some loyal servants had left of their legs after an energy-sapping 63-game marketing campaign.

The 2022-23 season was bleak as an ageing midfield was repeatedly over-run and accidents minimize deep. The tactical tweak of shifting Alexander-Arnold into the centre when Liverpool had been in possession sparked a late revival nevertheless it was in useless as they missed out on a top-four end.

Henderson and Fabinho had been lured away by Saudi Arabia’s riches, following the departures of Milner, Keita, Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as free brokers. The midfield overhaul noticed Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch recruited.

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Lijnders: “Jurgen and I had good talks last summer about the future. We said, ‘OK, let’s do one more year, see how it goes’. I said to all the guys at the start of pre-season: ‘The first one who is negative, I’ll punch in the face!’ We needed a reset with new players and that worked out well. It must have been late October or November that Jurgen and I had some good talks.

“We both came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was to go at the end of the season. Jurgen had made his mind up and I was quite clear that it was the right time to make my own way. We wanted to leave the club with Champions League football and a team the next manager can really take care of. I think we did the right thing.”

When Van Dijk’s extra-time header secured Carabao Cup glory towards Chelsea at Wembley in February, Klopp described it as “easily the most special trophy I’ve ever won”. On the time, he was wrestling with an harm disaster and turned to youth. Harvey Elliott, Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah, Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns all performed their part.


Who’s who on Group Klopp

KLOPPDEPARTURE LIVERPOOL STAFF ANNOTATED v1
1 Michelle Hudson, masseur
2 Motonori Watanabe, masseur/therapist
3 Paul Small, masseur
4 James French, opposition analyst
5 Jonathan Energy, membership physician
6 Lee Nobes, head of physiotherapy
7 Mona Nemmer, head of diet
8 Chris Morgan, physiotherapist
9 Jurgen Klopp, manager
10 Ray Haughan, first-team operations manager
11 John Achterberg, goalkeeping coach
12 Vitor Matos, elite improvement coach
13 Andreas Kornmayer, head of health and conditioning
14 Joel Bonner, post-match evaluation
15 Jack Robinson, assistant goalkeeping coach
16 Dr Conall Murtagh, first-team health coach
17 Louise Dobson, senior first-team operations officer
18 Lorna Butler, assistant nutritionist
19 Connor Stewart, catering supervisor
20 Pep Lijnders, assistant manager
21 Daniel Spearritt, post-match and elite participant improvement analyst

Inglethorpe: “Jurgen believes that anything is possible, and puts young players at ease. I would have wanted to play for him. Whatever talent you have, he would get the best out of you; that’s a magical quality. He’s consistently given young players a stage to play on and when it’s been best for their career to move on, he’s done it with care and thought. He will have a seat at the top table when people talk about the all-time greats who have managed this club.”

After Klopp publicly introduced in late January his choice to face down and take a break from soccer, there was a interval when it seemed like he would get the right farewell as Liverpool rode a wave of emotion. Nonetheless, they couldn’t maintain it and their problem for additional honours wilted.

However his standing stays undimmed. What a trip it’s been, and what a legacy he’s forsaking, one which will probably be celebrated at Anfield on Sunday by lots of the folks who shared within the journey.

Alexander-Arnold: “It’s going to be a hard transition for us as players. It’s an emotional one. It’s going to be very difficult to say goodbye. It’s one that I’ll never be ready to do, to be honest. The only thing I can really say to him is ‘thank you’. Everything I’ve achieved is down to him and the opportunities he gave me. When I’m done with football, I’ll look back and think of the years we spent together as the most fun, the best and the most important.”

Achterberg: “Look where Liverpool were when Jurgen arrived and where they are now. As well as the trophies, look at the new training ground and the redevelopment of Anfield. He won everything and fulfilled all our dreams. He created one of the best teams European football has ever seen and brought joy to so many people.”

Werner: “It’s about far more than the trophies. Look at the number of young players from the academy who surpassed expectations. Jurgen is a very selfless man. Part of the love people have for him is that he really understands the club and the relationship the club has with the supporters. The idea of him ever coaching another Premier League team is absurd. It just wouldn’t happen. He’s got LFC tattooed on his heart.”

Robertson: “Without him, what I’ve achieved in football wouldn’t have been possible. He gave us the best time of our lives. When my kids were born, he was one of the first to congratulate me and make sure my wife was OK. Those are the kinds of things you don’t forget. In the seven years I’ve been here, a lot has happened in my life and he’s been a key support throughout on and off the pitch. I will look back on it when I’m old and grey and think, ‘Without him, it wouldn’t have been possible’.”

Lijnders: “‘Unforgettable’ is the word I would use. I feel really blessed that we could stay so long at a club and conquer so many major trophies. What an honour it’s been — to work with Jurgen Klopp, to be part of something so beautiful.”

(High photographs: Getty Photos; design: Eamonn Dalton)