Liverpool entered the 2015-16 season as a club filled with doubts, from the fans to the front office. Brendan Rodgers had been given one last chance to succeed, and he’d been given full backing in the transfer market, yet there was an unmistakable sense of unease surrounding the club.
They entered the 2016-17 season confident, everyone pulling together behind Jürgen Klopp, the manager who replaced Rodgers in the autumn when it was clear the club was treading water at best. The progress under Klopp has been clear, the mood has improved, and CEO Ian Ayre believes that’s down to Klopp—a strong leader and perfect fit for Liverpool Football Club.
“The external view may focus on Jurgen’s energy and emotion, but he is an extremely dedicated guy who values the input from other people,” Ayre told The Daily Express. “Someone like assistant manager Zeljko Buvac will have a profound effect on what we are doing and—whether it is me, the owners, the other coaching staff, the scouts—Jurgen is a real listener.”
Klopp’s charisma and leadership, not to mention his skill as a manager, have helped to get Liverpool back into the conversation as one of England’s big clubs. And clearly, a major part of that success has come because of his ability to invest others in the effort, to make the team—from players to fans to the front office—feel like they’re part of the process.
He may be the headliner, but Klopp has managed to make everyone around him at the club feel as though they have an important role to play. It’s an approach that has been key to his success so far and will be key to any greater successes he leads the club to. It’s also why so many, including Ayre, are feeling confident that the club finally have the right man in charge.
“It’s not true to say we invested everything in him,” added Liverpool’s soon to depart CEO. “He is extremely collaborative. He is prepared to have the debate. Whatever happens on the football pitch in the future only time will tell, but I don’t think you could pick a better character to fit this club. Seeing that unfold has certainly given me satisfaction.
“It is a massive challenge and won’t be without its ups and downs but in terms of did we get the right man for the job? There is absolutely no question. That stands out a mile.”