Two huge defeats and a miracle – Five key moments that have defined Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool tenure


Jurgen Klopp was announced as Liverpool boss four years ago this week and he has honoured every single pledge he made on his arrival at Anfield.

The German promised to transform the Reds into a European powerhouse once more – and achieved this feat last year by winning the Champions League, whilst simultaneously amassing the Reds’ record points haul in the Premier League.

And despite being pipped to the crown by Manchester City last season, Liverpool have every chance to claim their first league title in almost 30 years this season, having already mounted an eight point lead over Pep Guardiola’s men with eight victories in eight matches.

However, Klopp’s transformation of Liverpool has been anything but plane-sailing.

The German inherited a team which were struggling to break into the top four, with the likes of Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho and Simon Mignolet still in his ranks.

With the help from his board, the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss was able to formulate his own team – and what a frighteningly good side they have become.

But what have been the defining moments of Klopp’s tenure? In light of his four year anniversary at Anfield, has identified five moments that have been key in Liverpool rise to the top under the eccentric manager…


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Europa League defeat 2017

“Two hours ago you all felt shit,” Klopp told his squad after they side surrendered a first-half lead to lose the Europa League final against Sevilla.

“This is just the start for us. We will play in many more finals.”

Since that defeat, Liverpool have reached a European final in every season under Klopp.

Defeat to the LaLiga side gave the players belief that they could go onto achieve big things.

Liverpool’s Europa League defeat to Sevilla was a welcome reminder that a lot more work needed to be done

“At that moment I sensed that he could see that, he was confident about getting to another final,” recalled Jordan Henderson of that night.

The following season Liverpool qualified for the Champions League for just the second time in seven years under Klopp

And the defeat to Sevilla in Basel may have been a blessing in disguise for the club as Klopp needed more time to get his methods across at Melwood, with his squad not yet ready for the top European tournament in his first full season.

Binning the deadwood

Although this may not exactly be a ‘defining moment’ in his tenure, the importance of Klopp’s cut-throat attitude to some of the deadweight in his squad cannot be understated.

Liverpool’s team were full of mediocre players when he arrived, and just like Guardiola at Manchester City, he wasted no time in showing them the Anfield door.

Klopp was ruthless in getting rid of some of Liverpool’s deadwood when he arrived

AFP – Getty

Klopp was ruthless in getting rid of some of Liverpool’s deadwood when he arrived

Jose Enrique and Kolo Toure were the first to go, and the sale of Martin Skrtel, Jordan Ibe, Joe Allen and Christian Benteke shortly followed.

Klopp had made a dramatic entrance but it was all part of a process that would eventually turn his team into a Champions League winning side.

Signing Virgil van Dijk

It is difficult to name a signing who has failed to deliver for Klopp,

In fact, almost every arrival has made an impact at the club – but no more so than Van Dijk.

Many eye brows were raised when Liverpool decided to splash £75m on the Dutchman – a then-world record fee for a defender – in January 2018.

Van Dijk has been phenomenal for Liverpool

Getty Images – Getty

Van Dijk has been phenomenal for Liverpool

But never has a defence transformed so much in quality following the arrival of just one player.

Van Dijk’s price tag now seems like an absolute bargain. The 28-year-old is by far and away the best defender on the planet at the moment and his performances have propelled him into Ballon d’Or contention.

Without Van Dijk, Liverpool would still be searching for their first trophy under Klopp.

Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid

Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in 2018 was Klopp’s third successive final loss as manager of the club –  and his sixth final defeat in a row in total.

Despite the loss, the German was once again defiant and never backed away from his belief that Liverpool’s time will come.

Shortly after the loss, a viral video circulated of him singing: “We saw the European Cup, Madrid had all the f***ing luck. We swear we’ll keep on being cool. And bring it back to Liverpool.”

Karius’ errors led to Liverpool’s defeat in the Champions League final

Getty Images – Getty

Karius’ errors led to Liverpool’s defeat in the Champions League final

The fans were rightfully frustrated because Liverpool weren’t outplayed by Real, they were let down by an individual horror show and an injury to their talisman Mohamed Salah.

But even the fans knew that they should trust the process and a year later they were rewarded for their patience.

Miracle at Anfield

Liverpool pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in European history under Klopp and after that it was destiny they would get their hands on their sixth European trophy.

The Reds battled from 3-0 down from the first leg to beat Lionel Messi and co 4-0 at Anfield – without their talisman Salah and No.9 Roberto Firmino.

It was Klopp who had instilled such belief in his tight-knit squad that they complete the comeback without two of their best players.

Midfielder Fabinho recently said Klopp approached him after the 3-0 first-leg loss at Camp Nou and asked: “Gini said we’ll get through next week. What do you think?”

Liverpool stunned Barcelona at Anfield last season in one of the most remarkable European comebacks in history

Getty – Contributor

Liverpool stunned Barcelona at Anfield last season in one of the most remarkable European comebacks in history

“I’m sure of it,” said the Brazilian. “Good. There’s three of us already!” said the boss.

But that night wasn’t the only memorable European night under Klopp. There was a stunning Europa League comeback against his former side Dortmund in the Europa League, as well as a 3-0 win over Manchester City in the Champions League and a stunning 5-0 blitzing of Roma in the Champions League semi-final in 2018.

It was these magical nights that really put Liverpool back on the map, and Klopp was the architect of their revival.

When he arrived at the the club, Klopp said: “If I sit here in four years, I am pretty confident we will have one title [trophy].”

How right he was.

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Chris Wright


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