As his more illustrious rivals hog the headlines for their big spending the German is laying the foundations of his own Anfield Empire…
While all eyes are on the two Manchester clubs with their new managers Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, their competitors are not standing still.
The Premier League is an intense affair and new Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who arrived at the club in 2015 amidst much fanfare on the red half of Merseyside, is just one among the many noted adversaries that they will have to face this season. The German is widely regarded as one of the top young bosses in the game.
During his seven year stint at Borussia Dortmund his CV grew exponentially. to include two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup and a UEFA Champions League Final appearance. But, there was a feeling that the 49-year-old had hit the glass ceiling with the Bundesliga outfit. So, the move to the Premier League and Liverpool came at the perfect time for both manager and club.
Klopp and Liverpool is a great fit for several reasons. The Merseysiders are a big club with a rich history of success and eras of dominance, much like their bitter rivals Manchester United. However, the Reds have fallen from their lofty pedestal for many years now having failed to win the league for over a quarter of a century. But, they now have ambitious owners in the Fenway Sports Group and in Klopp they have a man who loves a challenging project. Therefore, the quest to rebuild the English giants to their glory days is ideal for him.
Liverpool 2016-17 Promo
It was no surprise than that soon after his arrival last season the German began to remold his new team in his high press, heavy metal style of football and although there was not much in the way of transfer activity the team and the club as a whole seemed to develop a new sense of purpose and energy about it. Something the fans had sorely missed in recent seasons. Klopp’s galvanizing effect saw Liverpool march to the Europa League Final where they were eventually outclassed by Sevilla, But, nonetheless their performances did provide a glimpse of things to come.
In fact, The German’s impact at Anfield has been so profound that in July, less than a year after his arrival the club announced that the manager along with his assistants Zeljko Buvac and Peter Krawietz had all signed new, long-term contract extensions.
Klopp is happy with the democratic manner with which his club conducts business, with the energetic tactician having the last say on all transfers. “There is much to do and much to achieve and we look to do this by being the most completely together group anywhere in the world,” the boss said.
As the German looks to build his imprint in the Anfield dressing room his business has been more measured and shrewd as compared to some of his more illustrious rivals. Liverpool’s two biggest signings in the summer have been Southampton forward Sadio Mane for £34m, and Newcastle United midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for £23m, along with players like Joel Matip and Loris Karius.
Apart from the incomings the new Liverpool boss has also spent quite a bit of time getting rid of the deadwood with Jordan Ibe, Joe Allen and experienced centre-back Martin Skirtel headlining the exits so far. Centre forward Christian Benteke who was a big money aquisition from Aston Villa still remains out of favour in the new regime and Italian Mario Balotelli will also almost certainly head for the exits.
The Reds thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in a recently fixture in the International Champions Cup and whilst one must take a preseason result with a pinch of salt, the overall setup of the team looks a lot more solid in comparison to the last campaign. But, there still remain a few issues to be ironed out. With Dejan Lovren and Matip likely to be the first choice centre-back partnership Klopp still needs to find a left-back to compliment Nathaniel Clyne on the right. The spot between the sticks is also very much up for grabs between summer acquisition Loris Kairius and incumbent Simon Mignolet. The midfield pairing of Georginio Winaldum and Emre Can looks solid, while Mane and Roberto Frimino will add muscle in attack with Philippe Coutinho playing in the hole. But, the club still remain over-reliant on the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge for goals. With Danny Ings and Divock Origi not being prolific strikers the squad still needs another addition upfront.
It is clear that Klopp is unconventional and doesn’t play by the manager’s rule book. Whether and if his different approach to transfers and tactics will give his Liverpool side an edge in the league this coming season remains to be seen. But, the German has promised to deliver a league title in four years and with that in mind a top four finish this term is a must. But, if his time at the club so far is anything to go by his Anfield revolution is in full swing.
Editorial by Khel Now Intern writer Kartikeya Chandra Sen – An aspiring sports journalist and part time history student at SOAS London, a wanderlust at heart. My love for history has made me realize that the thirst for knowledge can never be quenched. On a side note I am also a keen food enthusiast