It’s been four years now since Jürgen Klopp took over at Anfield. Four years of heavy metal football. Four years of gegenpressing. Four years of turning doubters into believers, at least for the most part, as he’s worked to put Liverpool back on their perch.
There has been the occasional low, but for the most part it has been a series of highs, and even the disappointments—a loss in their first Champions League final appearance under Klopp or a 97-point second-place finish—have been worth celebrating.
Even when those on the outside haven’t quite understood some of what he’s done—like with that early celebration of a dramatic 2-2 draw with West Brom—it’s felt as though if Klopp couldn’t make it work at Anfield, perhaps no manager on the planet could.
It’s a good thing, then, that he’s made it work, what with following up that loss in their first Champions League final appearance under him with a win in their second and now off to a perfect league start after that 97-point second-place finish last year.
So we take a step back today, to remember where Liverpool were when Klopp signed on and appreciate the journey from fringe top four team to dominant force. And we do it with a little help from Klopp and his first ever Liverpool press conference.
“This is a great club with great potential,” he said back in 2015. “We have strong, fast players with flair. Let’s start a new way. This is the perfect moment. I don’t know everything but I am a good listener. I will go to Melwood and see what works and what doesn’t.
“It’s the biggest honour, to be at one of the biggest clubs in this world, the opportunity to try and help the situation. It’s not the perfect moment but it’s a good moment to come. I feel really proud. I’m looking forward to how the people live football in Liverpool.
“It’s a special club. I had two special clubs and this role is the perfect next step for me to try to help because no one is satisfied at the moment. You want to see fighting spirit, many sprints, many shots, and the result will be the result of these things.
“I’m not a dreamer, but I am a romantic. I love the stories and Anfield is one of the best places in the football world. It’s surreal. I woke up this morning and I was manager of Liverpool FC. It’s absolutely crazy what happened here.”
Surreal and, at least for Liverpool fans and the club, a massive stroke of good fortune. That Klopp was available and that he wanted to take on the daunting challenge of making a somewhat faded Liverpool Football Club truly, fully relevant again.
“It’s not important what people said when you come in, but what they say when you leave, Klopp noted at the time. “We are in a very difficult league but in a special Liverpool way we can be successful. If we sit here in four years I think we win a title.”
Four years later and Liverpool are Champions of Europe for the sixth time in their history, with another final appearance to Klopp’s credit along with a Europa League final and a 97-point Premier League season. It’s been a hell of a run, these past four years.