Comparing Brendan Rodgers’ and Jurgen Klopp’s European Records

Liverpool have become notorious strugglers in European competition over recent seasons, but the records of the two managers in Europe show the Reds are better prepared under Jurgen Klopp.


Two Europa League round of 32 exits under Brendan Rodgers – one after exiting the Champions League at the group stage – is all the Reds have to show for their most recent adventures.

The Northern Irishman consistently struggled in Europe and showed no signs of improving throughout his two continental adventures while in charge.

But that could all be about to change under Klopp who makes his eagerly anticipated Anfield debut on Thursday night against Rubin Kazan.

The German boasts an impressive record in comparison to his predecessor.

* excluding qualifiers
* excluding qualifiers

The statistics make for brutally clear reading.

While Klopp is more experienced on the European platform, most importantly, he has shown he is more capable, claiming a solid if unspecacular win percentage.

Though his side conceded on average 1.25 goals a game, the German knows how to find the net and claim big wins on the toughest stage while doing so.

Dortmund saw off Real Madrid, Arsenal, Napoli and Ajax in their Champions League adventures over that time to name a few.

That big-game know-how saw Klopp guide his side out of their group on three out of four occasions in Europe’s elite competition, reaching the latter stages twice, including a final appearance.

When Dortmund did exit earlier than hoped – in the last 16 and quarter-finals – it was to exceptional opposition, the runners-up, Juventus, and eventual winners, Real Madrid.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, October 1, 2014: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers before the UEFA Champions League Group B match against FC Basel at the St. Jakob-Park Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In stark comparison, Rodgers registered just six wins in 18 competition matches – an uninspiring amount beyond qualifying games.

The mere six wins came across two group stage phases in the Europa League and Champions League, as well as two round of 32 appearances in the secondary competition, making for a poor return.

Where Klopp’s teams found the net with ease, the Northern Irishman found goals hard to come by – scoring only 1.12 per-game – an all too familiar recipe for disaster with even more – 1.33 per game – being conceded down the other end.

Such a record made it almost impossible to succeed.

Liverpool failed to progress beyond the first knockout stages under Rodgers losing to Zenit St Petersburg and Besiktas on the big occasions in the Europa League.

The Reds were also eliminated after amassing only one win in the sole Champions League campaign undertaken – just overcoming Ludogorets at Anfield.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - Thursday, February 26, 2015: Besiktas JK's Tolgay Ali Arslan scores the first goal against Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 2nd Leg match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It must be acknowledged that it took Klopp three campaigns to get it right in Europe, but when he did the improvement was obvious and it became the benchmark for further progress.

After initial struggle, the 48-year-old showed he learned, improved and proved it with performances and results. The same simply cannot be said for Rodgers.

With a manager of such big-game expertise and European understanding, Liverpool undoubtedly look better placed to improve on their early exits and reach the business end of Europe’s tournaments.

A much needed victory on Thursday night would be the perfect beginning.\