Jurgen Klopp’s Year at Liverpool – a view from Germany

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Since a year Jürgen Klopp is he manager of Liverpool F.C. – Sure this is no mind blowing news for readers of this blog. Actually for nobody who is interested in football since the German has a huge medial presence. This article answers the question how the status of Klopp has changed since he left Germany.

But before I get to that point I may introduce myself because you should have the feeling that I know what I’m talking about. My name is Marc Schwitzky and I from Berlin. As a local patriot my heart belongs to Hertha BSC (fun fact: The club was founded 1892 too) but Liverpool also has a space in it. I get goose bumps when I hear “You’ll never walk alone” and I cried when Steven Gerrard left the club. In addition to that I love Jürgen Klopp as a person and coach. He created so to say my favorite football tactic. My portfolio should fit and you don’t have to skip the tab at your browser!

To describe the German perception for Jürgen Klopp I should start at the beginning so at his accession to office of Liverpool. I don’t have to tell you how much Jürgen Klopp is loved in Germany this is well known but how did the German football fans react to his decision?

Two words: overwhelmingly positive! The media and the private opinions had the same tendency: Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool – it could not be more appropriate in any way. Seven years as the coach of Mainz 05 and seven more at Dortmund created a clear picture of Jürgen Kopp. He represents straight values.

Klopp stands for integrity, passion and the joy of life. He finds the way to the heart of the fans and through his lovely and grounded personality he creates a strong feeling of unity. The fans and the players would do anything for him and so would he for them. Dortmund and Liverpool are similar in some points. Both clubs have a fantastic history, a huge fan base and both are/were sleeping giants. Furthermore both own magic stadiums. Klopp woke up Dortmund he has the same goal at Anfield Road.

But who am I telling this to? You, as Liverpool fans, are experiencing this right now! My point is that Klopp could transport his mass appeal to Liverpool and didn’t lose it in Germany.

In Germany we have the feeling that the Premier League is buying average players for an insane amount of money and because of that your youth work and the quality of the game is suffering. The incomprehensible amount of games and the huge squads means that teams barely improve their tactics and want to compensate this problem with individual quality of their purchases. Without doubt the Premier League is very entertaining but also weak in international comparison: in the last seven years only two British clubs reached the final of the Champions League. The national team won their last title 50 years ago. These facts act as evidence for the poor level. The clubs keep hold of the ancient coaches and kick and rush so they’ve lost touch to world’s best.

The commitment of Jürgen Klopp was the first step into the right direction because Liverpool received a coach on a world class level. The other clubs followed that example: Guardiola at Manchester City, Mourinho at Manchester United, Conte at Chelsea and of course Wenger at Arsenal and Pochettino at Tottenham were already outstanding managers which were helping the English football in a long-term way.

Klopp’s first season was very important since he got to know his squad was able to prepare it for his style of football. His transfers this summer are the results of this: Georginio Wijnaldum is giving his team stability, Joel Matip is the defensive insurance and Loris Karius is the keeper the fans desired for years.

The season 2015/16 was characterized by epic matches and lost finals but it could have been worse. All football supporters in England and Germany won’t forget the historic return match between Liverpool and Dortmund! The match which ended 4-3 was the perfect feed for the myth of Anfield Road. I still see the goals and celebration before my spiritual eye.

Here’s a list of some highlights of the last season. Maybe it can re-jig your memories:

  • 3-1 victory over Chelsea
  • 4-1 victory over Manchester City
  • 6-1 victory over Southampton
  • 3-3 draw against Arsenal
  • 5-4 victory over Norwich
  • 6-0 victory over Aston Villa
  • 3-0 victory over Manchester City
  • 2-0 victory over Manchester United

For this amount of totally mad games some clubs need centuries! I personally didn’t have any high expectations of Klopp’s first season. He didn’t have any influence on the summer transfer window and had minimal time in training to develop the players. So for me the two finales were just a bonus. Certainly it would have been nice if the team were able to win one of these trophies but I think it’s more important that the team has shown courage and its will to fight. I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Yes we Germans perceive “Kloppo” in the same way we did in his Bundesliga-times, nothing has changed about that. Of course the attention has reduced because of that geographic distance and the different league. Nonetheless one can still see him a lot. For example his press conferences are still very popular. In the last season every Liverpool match of the Europa League was broadcasted on German free TV as the interest is still very high.

In the current season we Germans got DAZN, a football streaming service that is broadcasting every single Premier League match. The top games with the participation of Liverpool crash the servers of DAZN regularly. It is very annoying but also an indicator of the enormous attention.

I don’t have any numbers but I could swear that “the normal one” is reason for this hype. He is a people-snatcher even from your Island. If you don’t explicitly like Liverpool you also get fascinated by the spectacular performances of Coutinho, Sturridge and Mané. Also former Bundesliga players like Firmino, Can, Karius or Matip wearing the Liverpool jersey could also be a factor. Liverpool have many identifiable figures for German football fans.

One of the questions was: does the Bundesliga miss Klopp? I don’t believe we do because if you want to, you can still get the full dosage of Jürgen Klopp!

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