Thursday 22 March 2018 / 11:17 AM

Klopp building Merseyside revolution

Jürgen Klopp does not have the best relationship with Wembley Stadium.

His 2013 Borussia Dortmund side lost the Champions League final to the might of Bayern Munich there, and now an experienced Manchester City has trumped Liverpool in the final of the Capitol Cup.

Had Klopp won at Wembely he would have been the fastest winner of silverware at the Merseyside club. But is this an accurate representation of what he has done with Liverpool in the last four months?

Since his first press conference, Klopp quickly had the English media onside with his cheeky remarks about being the “normal” one. The admiration from fans and commentators alike only grew as they saw Klopp racing down the sideline to celebrate wins with his team.

Aside from his likeability, what has Klopp done for Liverpool?

Tactically, Klopp has installed his high-intensity brand of ‘heavy metal’ football that has his midfield run off their feet as they try to press the opposition. This has resulted in the Reds running 112.8 km per game, 5 km more than under Rodgers.

His side also averages more sprints under Klopp, 557 compared to 474. This has had a flow-on effect to other defensive traits with Liverpool making 578 tackles this season, the most in the league.

Off the field is where Jürgen Klopp has made the most difference with a previously sombre Liverpool side.  He has created an atmosphere similar to when he managed 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund. Klopp aims to create a side that relies on his motivation, togetherness and an astute ability to take the pressure off his players.

His motivation of players can be seen in the difference from many players in his squad, but Adam Lallana stands out.

Lallana joined Rodgers in 2014 and could not replicate the same form he showed at Southampton; he has been in and out of the side since. Under Klopp he is playing like a man possessed, and he is back to the high-intensity brand of running football he became known for at Southampton with a keen eye for goal. Lallana’s determination and fire is back on the pitch and this was evident when tussling with Yaya Toure in the Capitol One Cup final.

Liverpool Captain, Jordan Henderson, told one of the most crucial components Klopp has introduced into the squad was “togetherness and belief”. Henderson has echoed this sentiment by pleading with the club to “sort out” contractual negotiations with Jon Flanagan.

Henderson explained to The Liverpool Echo how important it was to keep members of the current squad together.

“He is a huge player for us, a huge player for the club and the fans as well. It is in everyone’s interests for that to be sorted out soon,” Henderson said.

Klopp had a similar effect on his players at Dortmund, the team atmosphere creating the environment that kept stars like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus at the club.

Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard, told This Is Anfield he puts Klopp in the same category as Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish. Gerrard said Klopp was the extra element needed to bring silverware back to the club.

“Those Liverpool players will be looking at Klopp and believing he is the one to lead them to numerous trophies,” Gerrard enthused.

“Klopp has a presence – an aura which I sensed when I was back at the training ground at Christmas.”

Jürgen Klopp’s methods have brought attention to the Merseyside club as he wins over the support of players, pundits and fans. The real test will be whether he is able to take this middle table side and make them genuine title contenders in years to come. 

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About the author

Mitchell Van Homrigh

Brisbane-based Mitchell arrived at CBS in 2016 to bolster the site’s football and cricket coverage.

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