When Jurgen Klopp was made Liverpool manager in 2015, he predicted that the Reds would have “won one title” in four years. They have now done so in four full seasons.
The fanfare surrounding Klopp’s appointment in October, almost five years ago, was justified; he was a proven top-level manager, perfectly placed to take the club to the next level.
Since then, he has underlined his credentials further, and until now the pinnacle of his achievements came with the Reds’ sixth European Cup, won in Madrid last summer.
Klopp has exceeded expectations from that day back in 2015, and recalling his words from the club’s unveiling press conference reveals a promise, technically, delivered.
“When I left Dortmund, my last sentence maybe was ‘it’s not so important what people think when you come in, it’s much more important what people think when you leave’,” he told reporters on his first day in charge.
“Please give us the time to work on it, so you think much more positively than today, about me and all of the people at LFC.
“If we want, this could be a really special day. If we want.
“And if you are prepared to work for it, if you are patient enough, all the things, if you want.
“Then we can start, in a very difficult league, the opponents are big, big and bigger maybe, but in a special Liverpool way we can be successful.
“We can wait for it, of course, but I don’t want to say you have to wait the next 20 years and I’m sitting here again.
“When I sit here in four years, I think we’ll have won one title in this time. I’m pretty sure.
“If not, the next [job for me]…maybe Switzerland!”
Four years later, Klopp had already led the Reds to Champions League success—a significant title in itself, given the club’s storied history in Europe—but now, in his fourth full season, he is a Premier League champion.
It is the title everyone associated with Liverpool has been craving for the past 30 years, with three fallow decades following the First Division triumph under Kenny Dalglish in 1989/90.
And it is a fitting accolade for Klopp, who was and remains the perfect man for the job—of course, there was little chance of him ever having to move to Switzerland.
Seven full-time managers came between Dalglish’s resignation and Klopp’s arrival, and three of those—Gerard Houllier, Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers—came close to winning the title during their reigns, finishing second.
If Klopp had failed and ended up in Switzerland, he could ironically have taken inspiration from the worst Liverpool boss of the past 30 years, Roy Hodgson.
Ahead of the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace that initially put Liverpool within two points of the title on June 24, Klopp revealed that, along with Arrigo Sacchi, Hodgson’s work with the Swiss national team was a model for him as a young coach.
“When I was a young coach, I had videos from my former coach who was my mentor, to learn more about football,” he explained.
“Most of them were about Arrigo Sacchi, but the others were of Roy, when he was working for Switzerland. I just told him and he liked it!”
For Liverpool fans it may seem an unlikely source of inspiration, but fortunately, Klopp did not have to head to the likes of Basel, Zurich or Young Boys to capture his next title.
That came, four full seasons later, with the Reds.