Jurgen Kop – Why It Needs To Happen
As Brendan Rodgers edges closer and closer to an inevitable Anfield exit, the clamour for Jurgen Klopp to replace him grows louder amongst some Liverpool fans.
Indeed a group of supporters plan to dress up in Klopp costumes ahead of their match with Aston Villa to show their support for his possible appointment.
But would the former Borussia Dortmund boss be a good fit for Liverpool? And would he even be interested? We take a look.
Critics of Klopp point to his relegation with FSV Mainz 05 and his poor final season at Dortmund as indicators that he’s not the messiah he’s sometimes portrayed as. However, these criticisms overlook his earlier achievements at both clubs.
Klopp took over the reins at Mainz in 2001 as a 34-year-old novice, having just retired from the playing staff after eleven years at the club. He led the unfashionable club into the Bundesliga, and subsequently, the UEFA Cup for the first time. He managed a couple of 11th place finishes in the German top flight, before succumbing to relegation in 2007.
Klopp remained at the club but lost out on promotion by two points, before resigning. However, bigger clubs recognised his achievements with Mainz and Bayern Munich were said to be interested before he took over at Dortmund in 2008. It was at Die Schwarzgelben where he truly made his reputation.
After respectable 5th and 6th finishes in his first two seasons he led he club to two consecutive Bundesliga titles, breaking points records and clinching a first domestic double for the club in 2011/12. He decided to concentrate on the Champions League the following season, where they were beaten by Bayern Munich by a last-minute Arjern Robben goal in the final.
The club’s constant loss of their top players, especially to bitter rivals Bayern, resulted in a disappointing final season at Dortmund for Klopp. They were bottom of the table for long spells before eventually managing to finish seventh.
Brendan Rodgers finished sixth after a failed title bid. Jurgen Klopp finished seventh after winning two league titles and reaching a Champions League final.
Does Klopp’s poor last season at Dortmund look so bad now?
There have been murmurings that Liverpool’s owners FSG have been warned off Klopp, and there’s no doubt his personality may clash with their perceived preference of having a “Yes Man” in charge.
However, Klopp has no problem working under a Director of Football – a structure FSG had initially wanted under Rodgers – and should have no reservations in working with the club’s much-maligned transfer committee.
While Klopp didn’t oversee transfers at Dortmund he gave the nod to the signings of Mats Hummels, Lucasz Piszczek, Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gundogan, Shinji Kagawa, Neven Subotic and Sven Bender for around a total of what Rodgers shelled out for Christian Benteke.
The German showed admirable resilience at the persistent loss of key players at Dortmund, something Rodgers has so far struggled to do following the departures of the likes of Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard.
Most importantly, he’s won trophies – something that Brendan Rodgers has yet to do. He’s also done it with a sleeping giant against clubs with much more financial muscle. Liverpool need someone to manage a club with fervent support and bring them back to their former glories, while competing against rivals with much greater financial resources.
The question isn’t “is Klopp is suitable?”. It’s “surely there isn’t anyone more suitable?”
Would He Want The Job?
Klopp’s camp have stated he’d be willing to take over a club with no Champions League football and he’s not hidden his regard for English football in the past.
There are whispers that he’s holding out for the Bayern Munich job but it’s unlikely he’ll remain on a “sabbatical” until Pep Guardiola’s eventual departure.
Klopp speaks fluent English and has stated that he’d only manage in a country where he can speak the language – seemingly ruling out a move to La Liga or Serie A.
Insiders have stated that Klopp would find it hard to turn Liverpool down. The only question is, having reportedly approached him twice in the past, will FSG still recognise his blatant suitability for the job?