Jurgen Klopp vowed to turn ‘doubters into believers’ upon his arrival at Liverpool. It’s fair to say he has done exactly that.
Arriving at Anfield in 2015, the former Borussia Dortmund manager swiftly established himself as a firm fan favourite on Merseyside. The German’s vibrant personality quickly endeared him to supporters, while his high-octane football philosophy dazzled the Liverpool faithful and Premier League neutrals alike.
The journey may not be over quite yet, Liverpool potentially set to write some ‘new chapters’ together as Klopp rightly pointed out, but he will be an irreplaceable figure in the Anfield dugout upon his departure at the end of the season.
Having transformed Liverpool from relative mediocrity to world champions, here are the Reds’ best moments under Klopp.
- ‘The Normal One’
Already known for his larger than life persona, Klopp’s first interview as Reds boss was certainly fruitful in terms of soundbites. He made plenty of promises in his debut address to the club’s fans, all of which he delivered on, but he never hailed himself as Liverpool’s messiah.
When asked how he might describe himself, Klopp replied: “I am the Normal One. I was a very average player, became a manager in Germany at a special club, Mainz, then I had a great opportunity to take Dortmund, a special club for seven years. For both parties it was best to leave and now I am here. I hope to enjoy my work.
“Does anyone in this room think I can do wonders? No. I am a normal guy. I come from the Black Forest. My mother is probably sat at home now watching this, not able to understand a word of what I am saying but very proud.”
Despite his description of himself, Klopp’s reign at Liverpool was far from ‘normal’.
- A reunion with Borussia Dortmund
Klopp wasn’t handed a particularly promising squad when he walked through the doors at Anfield, with plenty of players at his disposal that would now be laughed out of a Liverpool team. However, it didn’t take him long to get his message across, with glimpses of the Reds’ potential during the 2015/16 season.
The highlight of Klopp’s first period in charge was Liverpool’s Europa League run, a competition that would ultimately end in disappointment come the final. However, the journey showed signs of what the German was cultivating at Anfield.
Liverpool were not handed a particularly favourable Europa League draw, facing Manchester United in the last 16 before setting up a reunion with Klopp’s old side Dortmund in the quarter-final. The Reds managed a 1-1 draw with the Bundesliga outfit at Signal Iduna Park in the first leg, Divock Origi scoring after hitting a purple patch of form.
But nobody could predict the bonkers nature of the second leg at Anfield that would follow. Liverpool found themselves 3-1 down after an hour, knowing they would need three goals of their own in the final half-hour to avoid being knocked out. Even two wouldn’t be enough due to the away goals rule in place at the time.
Philippe Coutinho pulled one back for the Reds but it was two unlikely heroes who would emerge from the rubble. Mamadou Sakho notched another to draw level on the night and, with Liverpool pushing and pushing in front of the Kop, it was Dejan Lovren who would head home at the far post in stoppage time to complete a remarkable turnaround that embodied the spirit of Klopp’s side.
- Sending a warning to Manchester City
Having now assembled his famous front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Klopp and Liverpool found themselves back in the Champions League for only the second time in eight seasons in 2017/18.
Again, it was a European campaign that would end in heartbreak, Liverpool losing to Real Madrid in that Loris Karius final. But the Reds laid down a marker en route to the last two against English rivals Manchester City, the sides meeting in the quarter-final.
With Pep Guardiola still hunting down a first Champions League trophy for Man City, they were significant favourites heading into the final eight meetings. But Liverpool blew the Cityzens away at Anfield in a blockbuster first leg, winning the game 3-0 after a hat-trick of strikes in the opening half-an-hour.
Liverpool conceded within just two minutes at the Etihad in the reverse leg, but, with a little fortune, managed to pour water on a Man City comeback. Salah and Firmino would both score in the second half to give the Reds a 5-1 aggregate victory, arguably the start of Klopp’s fierce rivalry with Guardiola at the summit of English football, and certainly a warning sign to the Manchester club.
- Becoming European champions
After disappointment in the Champions League final the season before, Liverpool would finish the 2018/19 campaign with a sixth European Cup under their belt – Klopp becoming one of just four managers to win the trophy at Anfield.
Having been at the club for a little over four years, the progress Liverpool had made under Klopp was simply astounding, with the Reds having learnt a harsh lesson or two from the previous campaign. They would make no mistake this time, however, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the final in Madrid.
But the journey was something special yet again, beginning with a commanding 3-1 victory in the knockout phase against Bayern Munich – Klopp’s old foes – at the Allianz Arena. The Reds would then hammer Porto over two legs, setting up a semi-final with Barcelona.
We all know what happened here, but it doesn’t make it any less remarkable. Liverpool suffered a 3-0 defeat to the Catalan giants at Camp Nou in the first leg, needing the mightiest of comebacks to make a second successive final.
Despite the absence of Firmino and Salah, Liverpool produced a truly astonishing turnaround, Origi opening the scoring in the first half. Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum produced two quickfire strikes to draw the Reds level on aggregate, with Origi netting his second ten minutes from time after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s quickly taken corner.
With their names more or less written on the trophy prior to the final, the Reds beat Spurs 2-0 at the Estadio Metropolitano to become European champions.
- Ending the 30-year wait
While European glory has always been the priority for Liverpool, their 30-year wait for a league title meant that lifting the Premier League would be the ultimate test of Klopp’s credentials. Having come within a point of doing so the season before, the pressure was on the Reds to go one better and usurp Man City.
Astonishingly, Liverpool would win 26 of their opening 27 matches to all but wrap up their Premier League triumph, although the coronavirus pandemic would bring the football world to a halt for several months.
When the English top flight returned in June after a three-month hiatus, it took Liverpool just two gameweeks to finalise their position as champions, Man City losing 2-1 at Chelsea to mathematically confirm it.
While Liverpool supporters were unable to celebrate their Premier League crown in the stadium or with an open-bus tour, nothing can dampen the relief and ecstasy of finally ending a three decade wait for a league title.
- Alisson in wonderland
Even in Liverpool’s darkest moments under Klopp – of which there haven’t been too many – there were always memorable moments and rays of sunshine.
Having made a disappointing attempt to retain their Premier League title during the 2020/21 season, not helped by a centre-back injury crisis and an empty Anfield, the Reds still managed to salvage some joy from the campaign.
Despite having found themselves way off the pace in the hunt for the top four, the Reds snuck into the Champions League spots just before the end of the campaign.
While there were plenty of redemptive matches for Klopp’s men, it was a trip to West Bromwich Albion that proved decisive. Liverpool needed to win to ensure the possibility of a top-four spot, finding themselves drawing 1-1 with the Baggies heading into stoppage time.
With the Reds relentlessly chasing a winner, up came goalkeeper Alisson from a last-minute corner, the Brazilian leaping above the West Brom defence and redirecting a perfect header beyond Sam Johnstone in the fifth minute of added time. One of the most bizarre moments in Premier League history, that’s for sure.
- A domestic cup double
Liverpool were fighting for an unprecedented quadruple heading into the final weeks of the 2021/22 season, and while they only ended the campaign with two trophies despite coming so close to unrivalled success, it remains an incredible achievement.
The Reds finished the campaign with a domestic cup double, beating Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals. Both games would finish goalless after regulation and extra-time, coming down to nerve-jangling penalty shootouts.
The Carabao Cup shootout proved particularly dramatic, with both sides scoring their first ten penalties each. The game then came down to the goalkeepers, Caoimhin Kelleher the unlikely hero after scoring his spot kick and seeing Kepa Arrizabalaga blast over the crossbar.
In the FA Cup final, there was another surprise saviour for Liverpool, Kostas Tsimikas netting the winning penalty after Mason Mount’s decisive miss.
- Humbling Manchester United
In his 19 matches with Man Utd as Liverpool boss, Klopp has lost on just four occasions, all of which came by just a one-goal margin. That can’t be said of the Red Devils during the 56-year-old’s Anfield reign, with the Manchester club having lost by an aggregate score of 21-4 over the last six meetings.
Klopp has enabled Liverpool supporters that once dreaded this fixture to head into derby day with optimism, hope and genuine excitement.
The Reds have secured their biggest home and away wins over Man Utd during Klopp’s time in charge, the former coming in that famous 7-0 victory at Anfield during the 2022/23 camapign. At Old Trafford, there was another memorable 5-0 victory, with Salah netting an impressive hat-trick on the road.
Man Utd fans certainly won’t be saddened by the news of Klopp’s end of season exit.
What we know
- Jurgen Klopp has won seven trophies since arriving at Liverpool in 2015
- The German has transformed the Reds from top to bottom
- Former Borussia Dortmund coach announced he will leave Anfield at the end of the season.