On 9th October 1965, The Beatles went top of the charts with their hit single ‘Yesterday’. Exactly 50 years later, Liverpool Football Club hired Jurgen Klopp as manager who has steadily introduced his own brand of Rock ‘n Roll to the city.
‘Jurgen’ is derived from the Greek name ‘George’ meaning ‘to work’, while ‘Klopp’ translates as ‘to fight’. Fitting, there is no need to elaborate further. They say a successful football club is all about partnerships, both on and off the field; Liverpool and Klopp go together like The Beatles and ‘Yesterday’.
In almost three years, the two entities have become almost synonymous; a manifestation of the same thing. Klopp is Liverpool Football Club, Liverpool Football Club is Klopp. In just a short space of time, he has taken them from a fading force to the cusp of something special.
Playing a brand of football that is almost deliberately, rivetingly rambunctious and intoxicating simultaneously – you would be forgiven for thinking that even the mythical, emblematic Liver Bird was about to stir from a stupor and burst out of the club’s iconic crest.
Possessing arguably the best front three in Europe since Barcelona circa 2015 (Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar Jnr), the triumvirate of Roberto Firminio, Sadio Mane and the irrepressible Mohamed Salah, conducted by Klopp make music on the pitch well worthy of a BRIT award.
With a combined total of 93 goals in all competitions last season (Salah with 44 of those), Liverpool’s front three have emerged into being one of the most frightening in Europe. The dismantling of Roma and, of course Manchester City in last season’s Champions League showed that the Reds’ potential is virtually unlimited with steady progress.
Liverpool had arguably the best summer transfer window of any club in the Premier League and they have Klopp to thank. Financial resources aside, the brand of football that the German maestro has them playing was undoubtedly the catalyst when it came to attracting the kind of names and quality that they needed.
While Naby Keita agreed his move a year in advance, this speaks volumes, the kind of which has helped him integrate effortlessly into the first XI and strike the right notes immediately.
The arrival of Fabinho, who is yet to really feature was another coup. With all of the talent to develop into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, his powerful presence in the side will further add to the much talked-about spine that is so crucial to a football team.
Having addressed the issue at central defence in January, adding the equally solid Virgil van Dijk, plus Brazil number one Alisson Becker in goal, Liverpool now possess one of the most robust backbones in Europe.
World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren is still recovering from injury, though 21-year-old Joe Gomez has exceeded expectations; another admirable trait of Klopp – his ability to spot potential in youngsters and bring them through.
At Borussia Dortmund, he expertly identified, recruited and honed (at the time), young brilliance in Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, Nuri Sahin, Sven Bender, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski, developing one of the most exciting football teams of that particular era.
Evidence so far suggests a similar scenario evolving at Liverpool. His budget at Dortmund was shoestring, at Anfield he can fill his boots, though for Klopp, history shows it is more about the type of player, making sure they have the attributes that are crucial to the way he wants to play.
As such, the recruitment of Xherdan Shaqiri inspires intrigue. Adopting first and foremost a high intensity approach with emphasis on his players to work hard and quickly regain possession, the Swiss international has been criticised for his apparent unwillingness to put in the hard yards.
His quality cannot be questioned and Klopp clearly sees something that he can work with and having paid just £13 million, this is quite the deal in itself. Lyon lynchpin Nabil Fekir, who occupies a similar position to Shaqiri was linked nearly every week in the summer and in fact, had agreed personal terms, though the player failed a medical.
At around £40 million cheaper, Shaqiri could be the latest Klopp success story and there is no reason why he can’t be. Throw him into the mix with Mane, Salah and Firmino, if he realises his potential, there is no ceiling to what could be achieved with this squad.
On the subject of player revivals, Daniel Sturridge represents an exciting option for Klopp. You get the feeling that this is a ‘make or break’ season for the England international and if he stays fit and rediscovers his form of the ‘SAS’ days, Klopp can deservedly take credit as the ultimate Commander-In-Chief.
Paul McCartney once famously said: “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better. It’s a little better all the time.” For Klopp, this is just the beginning.