Sunday, 8 May 2016

Leicester winning the league is a shock, but Liverpool getting Jurgen Klopp was the coup of the season

In persuading the brilliant German to manage a club that hasn't won the league in 26 years, the Reds pulled off a masterstroke.

The team of the season, Leicester City. Obviously – by an absolute mile.The coup of the season? Liverpool persuading Jurgen Klopp to manage a club that has not won a league title in 26 years.

And if there has been one little, ­unnoticed nugget in Herr Charisma’s goldmine of words, it came on Friday when all the talk was about another momentous European night at Anfield and about the ­prospect of sleepy Basel becoming Liverpool-on-the-Rhine for a day.

“I’m really looking forward to ­pre-season,” said Klopp.

The trips to the Capital One Cup Final and now the Europa League final?

Enjoyable quick hits ahead of the big project – making Liverpool a consistent, challenging force in football.

Liverpool is a project for Klopp, not just a job.

“Pushing the train, not jumping on the running train. That is what we need here,” he said recently, referring to the idea that top players would be ­reluctant to join Liverpool if the Champions League was not on the fixture list.

And Liverpool was not a running train when Klopp came over.

If he had wanted a running train, he could have waited.

At the time, early October, you didn’t have to be a ­soothsaying genius to know serious jobs would probably be available soon.


A couple of La Liga draws were enough to start putting the pressure on Rafa Benitez at Real Madrid, the hints were already strong Pep ­Guardiola would not renew at Bayern Munich, the jury still out on Louis van Gaal at Manchester United, ominous noises were heard around Chelsea after ­Southampton had given them a 3-1 pasting at the Bridge.


Klopp’s stock was rising during his inactivity.

But he committed to ­Liverpool and it told you everything you needed to know about the character that has shone though since his appointment. The challenge was ­everything.

That is why he is looking forward to pre-season and a summer of recruitment.

As they would say over there, ­Liverpool’s American owners lucked out when they got Klopp – now they have to back him unreservedly.

None of this transfer committee nonsense. First and last say to Klopp.

The Europa League exploits may convince Klopp that squad reinforcement doesn’t have to be as ­comprehensive as first thought.

Emre Can showed he could become the central midfield game-changer ­Liverpool need.

But Klopp still needs more ­defensive and midfield options. Prior to this ­weekend, Watford, West Brom and Crystal Palace had conceded fewer Premier League goals.

The statistics, on this ­occasion, do not lie.

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