I am not going to lie. Jurgen Klopp’s first press conference was an incredible event to follow. Not necessarily in terms of what he had to say, but definitely in the way it was covered. Klopp’s answers were rational, well thought out and quite predictable. The intrigue and excitement around a new manager is obvious especially considering it is for a club where most of its most famous players have strong ties to the media.
In all fairness, any manager who has been linked to Real Madrid tends to spark headlines, Manuel Pellegrini aside. Klopp has also benefited from what seems to be a magical serum for most football managers – a sabbatical. Pep Guardiola’s troublesome and draining final year with an incredibly talented squad was largely forgotten. Instead, an emphasis was rightly placed on the scintillating football they played during their peak. Likewise, Klopp’s Dortmund thrilled during their run to their Champions League final, and their famous ‘gegenpressing’ took the Bundesliga by storm during both the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons.
He has massively overachieved at the club he was at, and his experience in restoring a slumbering giant with a fervent fan base will be vital. Reiterating what countless pundits have already said, Dortmund when Klopp first took over in 2008 were in a very similar situation to the one Liverpool currently find themselves in. But has Klopp reinvented a style of football, i.e. a Guardiola? His final season with Dortmund was a tough one and has resulted in them being out of the Champions League.
Maybe I am being a bit too cynical. Klopp is a step above Rodgers in every possible way. While Rodgers seemed to be practiced, Klopp seems authentic. While Rodgers is always desperate to find one distinctive sound bite – Klopp’s suave charm and charisma couldn’t be more different. Klopp kept Dortmund’s competitive edge, even though their best players were constantly being picked off by better funded rivals. Sound familiar, Liverpool fans? Conversely, Rodgers’ constant complaints about the transfer committees and players he was saddled with often overshadowed the fact that Liverpool spent close to 300 million pounds during his reign.
I just don’t think that it is healthy for Liverpool to be fawning over a manger. Surely one of the most famous clubs in the world and one of the most successful clubs in football history should be attracting managers of such talent. Admittedly, it has been a grim time for fallen giants in Football. The Milan clubs are examples of how established European superpowers have lost much of their lustre. Klopp will undoubtedly bring a bit of the spark back to Liverpool. But managers should not be bigger than the club, especially when they are new arrivals – not just to the club, but to the league.
Personally, I think Klopp and the Kop are a brilliant fit. The promise of a title within four years may be slightly optimistic, but with the right investment, Klopp could definitely match or even go one better than Rodgers in 2012/13. But is he really worth all the hype? Let’s wait and find out.