It’s The Big Klopp Love-In here at TLO today, as well as across the vast majority of Reds fandom, and outlets are filled to the rafters with statistics, quotes and anecdotes that highlight just how special the German is, and how extraordinary the job he has done at Anfield in the past four years has been. For once, the international break serves a purpose.
Despite his massively obvious charisma and far more subtle — but no less potent — grasp of the tactical and strategic aspects of the sport in which he makes his living, perhaps the quality that best defines Jürgen Klopp’s managerial approach is the lack of ego. The 52-year old is remarkably comfortable working within a system, having previously collaborated with Michael Zorc during his seven-year stint at Borussia Dortmund, and — where many managers attempt to control every facet of the massive operation that is a professional football club these days — insists on surrounding himself with experts to handle specific aspects of management.
As a result, the Reds have invested in specialists that supervise subjects as diverse as physical fitness, diet, mental preparation, and throw-ins, ensuring that the gaffer himself can pour all his effort into the details at which he excels. Naturally, a number of these backroom staffers, both past and present, have come out singing Klopp’s praises on this banner day.
“I think when Jürgen first came to Liverpool he made that famous comment didn’t he about how it stunted the development by loaning the players out,” Michael Beale, former Liverpool youth coach, told The Echo. “To be fair, all our dealings with Jürgen, from the moment he come were fantastic.
“I think he got announced as manager and then the very next day he was straight to the Academy, because we had an U18 game that day and we had one or two players playing in that he wanted to get a look at.
”He was there with Peter Krawietz (assistant manager), myself and Alex and from then he was always very, very open and friendly with all of the Academy staff.
“When he came in a lot of Academy staff went to work with him, didn’t they,” the current Rangers head coach continued. “Pep Lijnders is obviously there now and he was an Academy staff member. Dr Andy Massey was there and moved across with Richie Partridge, Joe Lewis and a few others, so there was a lot of cross-over of staff.
”That was fantastic for the Academy, because it meant the staff must have been good. Someone like Jürgen and his staff are willing to take them on to the first team that is what it meant, so I think that was good for the first team in terms of the people they already had inside the club when Jürgen joined.”
There are more stories like this in the piece, of course, and surely countless others will have emerged today, and continue to do so over the course of Klopp’s Reds career, but the general theme of them all is how the German trusts the people around him to know their business better than he could, and how this faith inspires them to perform to the best of their abilities.
Jürgen Klopp is a special man, at a special club, and these are special times. We implore you to enjoy every second of it while it lasts.