After reaching his half century, Jürgen Klopp is at an interesting stage of his career as a manager. Seven seasons and 270 games at Mainz 05. Seven seasons and 318 games at Borussia Dortmund. At Liverpool, he's roughly a third of the way through those spells on 99 games as Liverpool manager since taking charge on 8 October 2015.
At this stage, Klopp is a unifying figure and symbol of hope to restore a fallen domestic and European giant. Two cup finals in the League Cup and Europa League in 2015/16 were followed by qualifying for the Champions League for only the second time this decade. Incredibly, Liverpool have made a profit in transfers during Klopp's tenure but look set to spend this summer.
There must be something else, however, to Jürgen Klopp and his way of working that can provide an extra ingredient to spending impressive sums. Look to his philosophy, one that has been honed in Germany over 14 seasons at two clubs and tested over 20 months in English football. He has succeeded and failed on his terms, remaining true to an approach that is as exciting as it is physically demanding.
To be Liverpool manager, one must be more than a manager. Bill Shankly set the tone, and with Klopp today, we can rally round him. Celebrate this milestone, but don't forget why Klopp is here, what he believes in, and how he works. Requisite reassurances or a tonic to the transfer tumult that the summer brings can be found in the particular prescience in Klopp's early takes on a storied footballing institution.
This is one of the biggest problems you have here in Liverpool. Five, six or seven clubs can win the championship. We have to develop. This would be a good moment for restarting. It's only important we play our own game, we feel the confidence and the trust of the people. It's important the players feel the difference from now on. They have to think they can reach the expectations of the people. We will start to play very emotional football. That's very important at Anfield.
Expectations can be a really big problem, it's like a backpack with 20 kilos more. You have to have a stable defence. That is the first thing, always. Our position is okay so we can start our development. If it's possible let's try to be the hardest team to beat in the world.
I'm here because I believe the potential of the team. I see the team and think everything is good. At this moment we're not the best team in the world, but who cares? We want to be the best team in the world. We have some problems and we have to solve them. We have speed and technical ability. The first game is Tottenham and we have to make a team for this game. I'm not a dreamer, I don't want Cristiano Ronaldo, I want these guys.
Now we start work. Of course I will adapt, but I don't think about this because I know English football. But it's not so important at this moment because it is football. My experience is to listen, see, feel and then think about what to change. I've been in football for a long time, I don't want to make it too complicated. It's very important that the player can understand easily what you want.
I'm completely different to the "English philosophy" of we have to buy, we have to buy, we have to buy, we have to buy and it's only all about transfers, all about transfers, all about transfers, because I believe in training. For training you need time...and the right players. If you don't have the right players, you have to make transfers. But you don't have to make transfers because you don't want to train or you have no time to train.
Happy 50th birthday, boss.