It’s been five years now since Jürgen Klopp joined Liverpool, and there’s certainly a lot that’s happened since October 8th, 2015, for the club and fans to look back on and celebrate.
There was a Europa League final appearance, then a Champions League final appearance. There was constant, year to year improvement.
Then there was a Champions League final victory, and 196 points across two Premier League seasons, and winning the Premier League. Liverpool’s first in three decades. Plus a Club World Cup and Supercup and plenty of individual honours.
And of course there was the simple fact of how well Klopp fit the ethos and history of the club; how well he was able to speak to fans and players alike and get complete buy-in.
It all seems a little inevitable now, but at the time it seemed a long-shot the club could get Klopp, who was in the midst of a hiatus—a planned year off following a difficult final season with Borussia Dortmund.
“I cannot forget the moment when I got the call from my agent that Liverpool is interested,” Klopp reflected. “I said it a couple of times, I was completely in a holiday mood.
“We were in Portugal, in Lisbon, with the family, both boys were with us. Ulla and I were sitting in an outside coffee bar. I didn’t take a lot of phone calls in that time, it was like: ‘Come on, don’t bother me.’
“But then I saw it [was my agent] and it was like I had a feeling it could be something interesting. So I take the phone and he tells me, and I felt the excitement inside.”
Excitement but not an instant yes—though it feels, perhaps, as that yes was always coming once Klopp learned about Liverpool’s interest, even if the timing and planned hiatus meant needing to talk it over with his family.
“Because of all the things I said before to my family, I couldn’t immediately say yes,” Klopp added. “I had to ask. It was just a really nice moment to have it together. There was nothing decided in that moment.
“We flew home, Mike Gordon called me, then I flew over to New York and all that stuff. But this very first moment when I got aware of the interest of Liverpool was already pretty special, and from that moment on it got better and better.”