October 2015 was the start of a wonderful period in the history of Liverpool FC. That day, Jürgen Norbert Klopp signed his first deal as manager at Anfield.
At that time, Liverpool were 18-time champions, though their last league title had come in the 1989/90 season under the club’s only two-time manager, Kenny Dalglish.
Nine years, a drought-breaking 19th top-flight title, a sixth UEFA Champions League crown, and a wonderful club culture later, the German is set to depart Anfield.
But how does Jürgen Klopp compare to past Liverpool managers? We analyse his tenure.
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool story
Liverpool fans are unanimous in one thought: Only a few managers in their history can compare to Jürgen Klopp.
The man from Stuttgart built his reputation during spells at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before he made the career decision to coach a team in the most popular league in the world.
His switch to England was not much of a surprise. At the time, the Reds were struggling in the Premier League and sat tenth in the table after an underwhelming start to the 2015/16 campaign under Brendan Rodgers.
His arrival piqued interest, as reflected by the line of questioning directed at him during his first media appearance as Liverpool’s manager.
“I don’t want to describe myself,” he responded on 9 October 2015. “I’m a very normal guy from the Black Forest. I’m the normal one if you like.
“I don’t compare myself with these genius managers in the history of Liverpool. I don’t think about this, it’s really not important.
“It’s really cool that you guys are looking forward to the next months and years with me, but I don’t think about it. No one of these great managers said at his first press conference: ‘My goal is to be a legend at the end of my time here.
“We can wait for it [titles]. I don’t want to say we have to wait the next 20 years. When I sit here in four years, I think we’ve won one title in this time. I’m pretty sure. If not…maybe Switzerland!”
That journey has turned into a nine-year reign. He promised one title at the end of his initial four years and has delivered seven, with a further four runners-up medals. Most importantly, Liverpool are back at the top table of English and European football again.
“It is that I am, how can I say it, running out of energy,” Klopp gave as his reason for quitting Liverpool after nine successful years.
“I have no problem now, obviously, I knew it already for longer that I will have to announce it at one point, but I am absolutely fine now. I know that I cannot do the job again and again and again and again.
“After the years we had together and after all the time we spent together and after all the things we went through together, the respect grew for you, the love grew for you and the least I owe you is the truth – and that is the truth.”
It is now four months to what could be Klopp’s final game as the Reds’ manager. Liverpool are still in the running for a quadruple this season. His legacy could grow greater yet.
Jürgen Klopp vs Liverpool’s best
21 managers have taken charge of Liverpool since the club’s inception.
Of those 21, the club’s fans hold Bill Shankly, Kenny Dalglish and Bob Paisley in the highest esteem.
Shankly is revered for transforming Liverpool an English powerhouse, thanks to the 11 trophies he won in 15 years as the club’s manager. His reluctant successor, Paisley, built on that success to win 20 titles in nine years, including three European Cups, which remains one of the greatest achievements in the sport. Dalglish, meanwhile, is arguably the Reds’ finest ever footballer and a cult hero for his skills as both a player and a manager.
Klopp’s haul of seven titles in nine years puts him behind these men for most titles won, but it is the era in which he has won them that makes it special.
Football in England was dominated by Chelsea and Manchester City when he came on board. Arsenal and Manchester United also constantly kept Liverpool out of the title chase. In Europe, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid ran riot.
Klopp came, built for three years, and in six years, bagged seven titles. He also matched Real Madrid in Europe with three final appearances in four seasons. Only Paisley achieved more in a shorter time than Klopp did with Liverpool, when his rebuild was complete.
At the moment Liverpool, alongside AC Milan who take on Rennes in their next outing, are the bookmakers’ favourites to go all the way in the Europa League. Fans looking to get AC Milan vs Rennes tickets can always look out for them on ticket reselling sites.
A younger generation of Liverpool fans saw the likes of Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers fail to revive the Reds, with the Merseysiders a shadow of their former self before Klopp’s arrival. The outpouring of emotion since his exit announcement is evidence of his legacy at Liverpool.