What Liverpool can expect from Jurgen Klopp, the new King of the Kop

When he arrived for his introductory press conference, the media compared Klopp‘s popularity to Jose Mourinho arriving at Chelsea in 2004.

Told about how Mourinho famously referred to himself as the “Special One” at the Portuguese’s introductory press conference over a decade earlier, Klopp laughed at the absurd request of giving himself a title in the same vein as Mourinho.

“Does anyone in this room think that I can do wonder?” Klopp asked in response.

“No,” the German answered himself humbly and showed slight annoyance at his own silly query. “Let me do work. I’m a totally normal guy. I came from Black Forest. My mother may be sitting in front of this television and watching this press conference and saying ‘[he’s done] no work until now.’ ”

With that, Klopp earned a nickname that stuck on front pages across Britain and placed him on the exact opposite end of the spectrum as the Premier League’s favorite villain. Almost too naturally, Klopp is the hero; Mourinho is the villain.

The Liverpool Kop agrees whole-heartedly with this storyline, as the German already has his own song calling him the “King of the Kop.” This is all remarkable considering the 48-year-old has yet to make his Anfield debut as the Reds’ new boss. Not every manager even gets a song, as former Liverpool gaffer Roy Hodgson can relate. The German, however, has his tune before his managerial debut, and that is not “normal.”

Klopp is obviously more than a simple song and dance number. He has substance, but the rigors of the Premier League promise to test his stamina. The former Mainz 05 manger moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2008 and constructed a side that devastated Bayern Munich from 2010 to 2012 to the tune of two league titles and one German Cup.

In effect, Klopp got Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal kicked out at Bayern Munich, though the Dutchman played his own prominent part in the dismissal. So, Manchester United versus Liverpool, commonly referred to as the North-West derby, should be an even more splendid spectacle at Anfield on Jan. 16.

Contrary to popular belief, Klopp did not simply flame out at Dortmund.

After winning back-to-back league titles, Klopp finished second in the Bundesliga during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns, along with taking Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013. After Jupp Heynckes led Bayern to the treble in 2013, Pep Guardiola arrived at Bayern and devastated Germany with double-digit league victories in back-to-back seasons. Guardiola’s Bayern raiding stars like Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski assisted in dismantling and destructing Klopp’s Dortmund and the Bundesliga as a competition.

 

Going to his heavy grego, or wrapall, or dreadnaught

Klopp finished second in the Bundesliga

During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns, along with taking Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013. After Jupp Heynckes led Bayern to the treble in 2013, Pep Guardiola arrived at Bayern and devastated Germany with double-digit league victories in back-to-back seasons. Guardiola’s Bayern raiding stars like Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski assisted in dismantling and destructing Klopp’s Dortmund and the Bundesliga as a competition.

In his final season in Germany, Klopp went kaput. Dortmund spent significant time in the relegation zone before ultimately finishing seventh in the league and 23 points behind runaway champion Bayern Munich.

Still, the former striker’s passion and technical coaching ability hardly ever came into question. He built a team that performed in Germany and in Europe until it slowly broke apart beyond repair. His high energy style ultimately wore down due to missing parts rather than managerial ineptitude.

Juergen-Klopp-01

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At Liverpool, Klopp should get time to fix this team and replace parts to build his own side. Winning this season, however, would be the best advertisement for bringing in quality players over the summer. Qualifying for the Champions League would certainly help the cause.

On the pitch, though, Liverpool is further behind than the six points between it and league leader Manchester City or the three points separating the Reds from the final Champions League position. However, if Klopp manages to surpass expectations and snag a league title sooner rather than later, the “King of the Kop” would hardly be considered a “normal guy.

I now screwed my eyes hard towards the half hidden image, feeling but ill at ease meantime—to see what was next to follow. First he takes about a double handful of shavings out of his grego pocket, and places them carefully before the idol; then laying a bit of ship biscuit on top and applying the flame from the lamp, he kindled the shavings into a sacrificial blaze. Presently, after many hasty snatches into the fire, and still hastier withdrawals of his fingers (whereby he seemed to be scorching them badly), he at last succeeded in drawing out the biscuit; then blowing off the heat and ashes a little, he made a polite offer of it to the little negro. But the little devil did not seem to fancy such dry sort of fare at all; he never moved his lips. All these strange antics were accompanied by still stranger guttural noises from the devotee, who seemed to be praying in a sing-song or else singing some pagan psalmody or other, during which his face twitched about in the most unnatural manner. At last extinguishing the fire, he took the idol up very unceremoniously, and bagged it again in his grego pocket as carelessly as if he were a sportsman bagging a dead woodcock.

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