Jurgen Klopp delivered Liverpool’s title win and it always felt inevitable. Always.
Even before he was unveiled as the new Liverpool manager, you had a good feeling about this.
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Klopp promised in his opening press conference on October 9, 2015, that he would win a few trophies before the end of his initial four-year deal which was due to end this summer.
I was in his unveiling press conference at Anfield and it was special. You had the sense this was it. This was the moment that was the start of the end of Liverpool’s wait.
He has delivered the UEFA Champions League and now the Premier League, the holy grail, as Liverpool are Champions of England for the first time in over 30 years. This is the trophy Liverpool’s fans wanted and they’ve done it in style, with the earliest title win in top-flight history and further records to come.
“When I left Dortmund, my last sentence was it was not so important what people think when you come in, it is more important what they think what you leave. Please give us time to work on it. If we want, this could be a really special day,” Klopp said on his unveiling in 2015. “We could start in a very difficult league but in a special Liverpool way we can be successful. We can’t wait for it, I don’t want to say we can wait 20 years. If we sit here in four years, I think we win one title. I’m pretty sure. If not the next one, maybe in Switzerland.”
It was a special day. They have won a title. He is not heading to Switzerland. He is a Liverpool legend for eternity.
Klopp and Liverpool have done this through sheer hard work, smart recruitment and getting the right people in the right jobs from top to bottom of the club.
Yes, they’ve had money to spend. Yes, they are one of the biggest clubs in the world. Yes, they have a huge fanbase.
But none of that guarantees success. Ask Man United.
Klopp was the difference. Hugs, fist pumps and smiles galore, he has led this Liverpool revolution with supreme passion from the start. He speaks to pretty much everyone as if he’s chatting with them while he has a pint down the pub. His laugh is heartwarming. Drinking tea out of a mug which has a design of him wearing a baseball cap is so on brand. Listening with care, talking with sense and explaining with detail would sum up any of my interactions with Klopp.
His enthusiasm for the game, and now his club, is infectious. Few people have that special aura that when they walk into a room, everyone feels both at ease and in awe instantly. Klopp has it.
We sat down with Jurgen Klopp in August, just before this season began. His hunger, passion and detail is simply unbelievable.
This photo is from a chat we had which wasn't filmed. We just wanted to learn more.
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) June 25, 2020
Klopp is a man of the people. He knows what it feels like to win, to suffer and to laugh because he has been there. He said in his opening press conference that he should be dubbed ‘The Normal One’ when asked about a nickname for himself compared to ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho.
In many ways Klopp is normal. In many ways he is not normal.
Along the way, things haven’t always gone smoothly. From an eighth-place finish in his debut season to defeats in the Europa League, League Cup and UEFA Champions League finals, Liverpool have been building up to this moment.
Those defeats have made this team what it is. The Champions League victory last season and Premier League title win this season is a culmination of Klopp never giving up, his recruitment staff being brave to bet on Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson, and the owners giving him 100 percent support.
His gegenpressing tactics have revolutionized the game in England. Arsenal and Chelsea are trying to replicate what he did at Liverpool but how can you replicate Klopp? To start with, Liverpool were the great entertainers, always scoring goals but always conceding too.
Klopp has changed his tactics and they are now more resolute and more refined but they are even more dangerous in attack as his insatiable style of play gets every single person in the stadium off of their seats.
The Kop is always loud and the famous Anfield roar will always be there but the Kop is louder and the roar more ferocious when Klopp is around.
He’s a one-in-a-million character. He is a man who the people love and respect, whoever your club is. Even if you previously despised Liverpool, you have to smile when you see Klopp celebrating. A manager like Klopp is what this beautiful game is all about.
Sir Alex Ferguson knew it as soon as Klopp was hired by Liverpool. He knew what was coming. When the most successful manager in British history, and probably the greatest manager in the history of the game, can see it, you know it’s there.
Klopp’s vision from the start was to win the Premier League and now he has done it.
Liverpool — thanks to his tactics, recruitment of the staff around him, his relationship with his players and everybody else in-between at the club — are now set to be a dynasty.
Whatever happens now, Klopp delivered on his promise and he will forever be a Liverpool hero.