Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League! This is what a lot of football fans in England have been dreaming about, not least the ones in Liverpool. The former Dortmund manager was all smiles as he put his signature on a three-year deal at Anfield. “I am the normal one”, he declared jokingly, upon being asked about Jose Mourinho’s nickname.
Klopp’s philosophy and energy, as well as the ability to innovate, is expected to bring the Reds to a level they desire. They want trophies, European glory and attractive football – simple, right?
Top Eleven dives into how the German will look to achieve these goals, mainly by taking his personality and tactical style into account. No matter what happens, this will be an era to remember for both Jurgen and his new club.
Jurgen Klopp is an innovator. His approach to the game is based on hard-work, preparation and team cohesion. His famous Gegenpressing is one of the more original concepts seen in football – in a nutshell, if you lose possession, you try your hardest to win the ball back as soon as possible, which means swarming an opposing player before he has time to pick out a pass, thus making him pump the ball forward without ever thinking where it’s going. The reason why this was a huge success in Dortmund is the extreme dedication of the footballers involved in it.
Movement off the ball, determination and aggression are attributes Klopp will be looking to use to his advantage in Liverpool. In terms of formations, the German usually employs a 4-2-3-1, meaning some of his strikers could be sitting on the bench at times, but the physical strains of the Premier League should make sure Daniel Sturridge, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings all get a reasonable amount of playing time. Coutinho could face playing on the wing more than he is used to, with Roberto Firmino dictating the game in the attacking third, and James Milner supporting him on the right wing. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and German prospect Emre Can are both industrious players, capable of scoring goals and providing assists when needed.
So, the midfield and the attacking trio possess a decent amount of versatility, but what about the defensive line? Well, Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno are players to Klopp’s liking, at least in theory. They are both comfortable with providing attacking support, cutting inside the box and running up and down the pitch. Moreno could use a lot of work on his defensive game, but his new manager will be sure to bring out the best of him through pure motivation. The same could be said about Dejan Lovren, who has not looked concentrated at all since his arrival from Southampton last summer. Martin Skrtel will be expected to bring the same level of commitment and toughness as ever, and he has already proven he can manage that kind of expectation by being one of Liverpool’s most constant performers for quite some time now.
What Brendan Rodgers has managed to do in his first couple of seasons, and failed to do in the last one, is make the players believe in themselves and his vision. This takes us to another subject: mental preparation.
You don’t have to look at more than one match to realize Jurgen Klopp is a football fanatic 24/7. His family watched his Dortmund matches on two separate stories, as he once explained. Why? Well, most of them rooted for the club from North-Rhine Westphalia, but one cousin, as it turns out, is a Bayern fan. When Dortmund won the Bundesliga, he was crying in a room all alone. Klopp once said: “I couldn’t afford to take a proper vacation in my youth, now I simply don’t have the time.” In his first official interview with Liverpool, he declared he wanted the fans to become believers again. Klopp’s more than evident passion made him an object of adoration at his former clubs – Dortmund and Mainz, and his energy seems to be contagious. This is what Liverpool need most at a critical time in the season. Getting the best out of players, becoming “chums” with them, this is what has made the German such a fascinating person to watch in the world of football. If anyone is up to the challenge of revitalizing the players’ hopes and dreams, it’s him. It was obvious Brendan Rodgers couldn’t get the chemistry he wanted between the players, especially after bringing in Mario Balotelli and having to sell Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. These incidents damaged the mood in the locker room significantly, but Klopp has a clean slate, alongside a reputation of someone who will make you laugh at a press conference with his witty remarks, and fight for the club, when it’s needed most.
Do you think Jurgen Klopp will be a hit at Liverpool? Let us know in the Top Eleven comment section!