Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool Reign FA Cup and Carabao Cup parade
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Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool Reign HAS Been Hugely Successful

Jürgen Klopp has gone. The German manager has coached his last game for Liverpool. As Kopites sing at the top of their longs: “I am so glad Jürgen is a Red,” the emotions are clear to see. Over the last nine years, Liverpool fans have had the time of their lives. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool reign won’t be defined by what he won. It will be defined by the stories and memories he gave his supporters.

They’ve travelled across Europe, going deep into European competition numerous times. They went to Madrid and saw their team bring home yet another European Cup. They have had trips to Wembley. They saw their team lift their 19th league title.

Yet, “One COVID title. One UCL against Spurs” is the cry from rivals online and in person as they try to belittle the job the 56-year-old has done. Completely dismissing the fact that Liverpool had a 22-point gap in March when they won the league. They had 82 points. This season, Manchester City finished on 91 at the end of May.

They bring up his trophies, or lack thereof, in their eyes. Yet, many of these fans would have loved to have had the last nine years that the Merseyside club has had, besides Manchester City.

Jürgen Klopp’s era at Liverpool was more than just winning trophies. It was a complete cultural change. Liverpool had rarely competed for the large prizes prior to his arrival. One of England’s most successful club’s had just one trophy in ten year’s prior to Klopp joining: a League Cup victory against Cardiff City in 2011–2012.

Liverpool F.C. was a complete shell of what it once was. A team that was known for their European success only competed in the Champions League once during the period from Rafael Benítez leaving up until Klopp’s appointment.

They had been on a 30-year drought when it came to a league title. All of this changed when the “Normal One” arrived.

The Cultural Shift

When Brendan Rodgers was sacked in October 2016, confidence was on the floor for Liverpool fans. Just two years after coming so close to ending that Premier League title drought, the manager who was responsible had failed to even come near those same heights.

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The loss of Luis Suarez and the failure to secure a player close to his pedigree proved to be the final straws. Liverpool limped out of the Champions League in 2014/15 and didn’t qualify for it in 15/16. They finished sixth, just one season after challenging for the title.

When Rodgers was let go, they were sitting in 10th. It was a sorry state of affairs. Then came Jürgen.

“You need to change from doubters to believers,” were the now famous words from the German. It was the perfect encapsulation of what his reign would become. Reds all across the globe saw no future where they would have their hands on football’s biggest trophies. Klopp understood this. He knew it had to change. And change it did.

In his first year, the club went to two finals. The League Cup and the Europa League. Although both would ultimately end in defeat, it was the perfect start for Klopp to showcase to the fans that they could compete, and he would ensure one day that they were on the other end of those results. They would have their hands on trophies.

Now, Liverpool fans know they should be competing. They know it’s where the club belongs. They won’t settle for any less. While this will create a lot of pressure on Arne Slot, the incoming coach, it’s the type of pressure you should have at Liverpool. They are England’s most successful club, after all.

The Memories

One of the biggest successes of Klopp’s era has been the copious amount of joyous memories fans have. The domestic football season is 10 month’s long. However, oftentimes, people only care about the final matches. The teams that win the trophies. But if you sit back and reflect on the whole season, you will remember times where the sport elated you.

It’s ten month’s versus one week. I know it is the cliché that “its not about the journey, it’s about the destination,” but it is true. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool reign is the epitome of this mindset.

“These special stories nobody can take from us.”

– Jürgen Klopp

From Dejan Lovren’s winner against Dortmund to Corner Taken Quickly, then finally winning the Champions League a season after losing to Real Madrid. After missing out on the Premier League title by one point, after amassing 97 yourself, and then going on and bettering that point total the following year to finally bring the Premier League to Anfield.

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Then, even when you lose all your centre-backs and play a duo of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, you still end up in the Champions League. Your goalkeeper scored the winner to cement that Champions League position. Then going on to miss out on the title again by one point, but still securing a cup double.

Then, winning the Carabao Cup with a barebones squad, utilising youth, who had less than a handful of senior appearances, against a team that was assembled with £1 billion.

The memories that Jürgen Klopp has left behind for the Anfield crowd will last a lifetime, and that is a priceless legacy.

Lack of Trophies, You Say?

“He didn’t win enough,” most will exclaim to bring down the legacy Klopp has left.

To put it into perspective, Klopp won seven major honours in his nine years at the club. All of this after picking up a squad in ruins and working with a smaller budget than the teams around him. His net spend was £254 million. A bleak comparison compared to the other “Big 6.”

ClubSpendNet Spend
Man United£1.17bn£888m
Man City £1.28bn£692.3m
Liverpool £807m£254m
Net spend table according to DailyMail

Liverpool went toe-to-toe with Manchester City in the Premier League and won the Champions League in 2018–2019. In the following summer, their marquee signing was Adrian, a second-choice goalkeeper on a free transfer.

In 2021–2022, Liverpool competed for the quadruple. Coming just two matches short from making history. They only made one signing the following summer, Darwin Núñez.

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While it worked out in the summer of ’19, the lack of signings was ultimately the reason for Liverpool’s disastrous season, by their standards, in 22/23. The midfield was run ragged the previous year, after playing every possible match. Fabinho, one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, looked a completely different player. The ageing Jordan Henderson had clearly lost a yard or two of pace. Thiago Alcântara struggled to stay fit. And then 37-year-old James Milner, while still remarkably able to run long periods during matches, was unable to match the relentlessness he had provided in previous years.

However, Klopp never viewed it the same. “I could say now, ‘yes, you don’t back me enough and I could have been more successful’, but I never saw it that way,” he told journalists.

While he may not see it that way, the truth is that strategy is the reason he was unable to secure a true dynasty. Pep Guardiola’s team won the treble, and they went out and splashed £264 million on players, including a record fee for a defender in Gvardiol. They were on top, and they made a statement that they were there to stay.

But that is the Liverpool way. They won’t spend because they are expected to. They will spend when they see fit.

“For us, it is the Liverpool Way. We do it properly and do it the right way; we don’t overspend, we always spend what we earned either on the team, a stand or a building.”

– Klopp

Forget about the trophy count if you think he didn’t win enough. He brought more to the table than that. He transformed a club; his reign will no doubt have a lasting impact.

Jürgen Klopp came to Liverpool. He won it all. He turned doubters to believers. And most importantly, he reminded Liverpool of who they’ve always been. He is 100% a Premier League great.

He made the people happy.

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