The opening stages of Jurgen Klopp‘s road to Liverpool have been detailed in a fascinating new interview, revealing how the Reds recruited their man.
Klopp has now been in charge of the Reds for three years, during which huge strides have been made since he replaced Brendan Rodgers in October 2015 – a level of progress that is still arguably underrated by some.
To some, the renowned German felt like an unattainable target at the time, given his status as one of the world’s top managers, so acquiring his services was a major coup for owners FSG.
When he arrived, the thought of regularly playing Champions League football felt a long way off, but Liverpool have qualified for Europe’s elite stage in each of Klopp’s full seasons in charge, and of course reached the final in his second full campaign.
Klopp is the subject of a superb interview with JOE‘s Melissa Reddy, in which Liverpool’s initial pursuit of the former Borussia Dortmund boss is outlined.
Reddy explains how Klopp’s agent, Marc Kosicke, received a call from then-chief executive Ian Ayre, enquiring about his client’s availability.
In order to establish the caller actually was Ayre, a Skye video call took place to discuss further and set up a face-to-face meeting with the Reds’ American owners.
That meeting subsequently arrived in New York a week before Klopp was officially unveiled at Anfield – and, interestingly, three days before Rodgers was sacked as manager after a 1-1 draw at Everton.
Reddy writes how Liverpool’s hierarchy of principal owner John W. Henry, chairman Tom Werner and FSG president Mike Gordon had prepared a 60-page dossier on Klopp’s “philosophy, training sessions, statistics, relationships with players and staff, interactions with the media and everything in-between.”
Klopp was subsequently appointed, amid enormous amounts of excitement from supporters and employees at the club.
And he immediately made his presence felt, as first-team coach Pepijn Lijnders explained of the new manager’s first meeting at Melwood with players and staff:
“His first big presentation was unbelievable,” praised Lijnders – who returned to Melwood this summer and has seemingly replaced Zeljko Buvac as Klopp’s assistant.
“In that meeting, he created the responsibility we had to each other, the responsibility to perform and he told us ‘everyone is responsible for everything’.”
This insight illustrates the special character that Klopp possesses and how he has got everyone at Liverpool pulling in the same direction.
Hopefully, his tenure is still in its relative infancy, having signed a new six-year deal in July 2016.
The magnitude of his appointment three years ago should never be downplayed.
* You can read Melissa’s full interview with Klopp, here.