Four years of Jürgen Klopp at Anfield have flown by in the blink of an eye. As Liverpool look to extend their unbeaten start to the league campaign against Tottenham on Sunday, Reds supporters will hearken back to the fixture against the same opponent in October of 2015 that marked the start of the Normal One’s reign.
Few remain of the squad that ran out to a scoreless draw that day, one of whom was Dejan Lovren. The Croatian has had a roller coaster of a ride in his time under Klopp, ranging from a chastening first half benching against Spurs in the German’s second season to starting in the 2018 Champions League final before falling back down the pecking order behind the likes of Joël Matip and Joe Gomez.
Even as he has worked through such low points, the defender recently marveled at the peaks of European football that the charismatic manager has taken the club in such a short amount of time as arguably the best team on the continent.
The 30-year-old revealed that rather than just on the training pitch and under the bright lights on match day, the revolution Klopp has brought to Liverpool started at the most basic level:
”Four years already? I’m getting old. Yes, we started to believe when he said ‘from doubters to believers’,” said Lovren, speaking to Sky Sports
”He changed things in the club, from small details like saying ‘good morning’ to everyone, to cleaning your table.
”We are, I think, raised at my age that when you see an older person you will say ‘Good morning’. It is about respect.
”When you have this outside of the pitch you will feel it also on the pitch. It is the simple things.
”It is about things like the food; he brought in people who are the best in these positions, and he knows what he is doing.
”I think some part of these details are missing in some clubs.”
It took time for this shift in mindset to take root and germinate, morphing a fragile group of perennial underachievers into squad of what Klopp has labelled “mentality monsters,” capable of overturning a 3-0 deficit against the mighty Barcelona.
That evolution can be seen in the club’s record haul of 97 points in the league last year and an undefeated record in European two-legged ties in Klopp’s reign that led to three European finals and the 2019 Champions League crown.
”It can change quickly. Three or four years ago we didn’t have the best start,” Lovren added.
”With the improvement, the belief, with the work of the team you can achieve anything. This is what Klopp told us.
”The most difficult part is when you are on top to stay on the top. When you sometimes drop it is about showing your inner strength, it is about the character of the team to jump back.
”I think we learned about all our mistakes from previous years. I think we are on the right path.
”He [Klopp] said to us it is exceptional that we lost the final against Real Madrid and we came this year and won it, it says a lot about the team.”