As Liverpool FC make the announcement that Jurgen Klopp has been named their latest manager, a lot has been written about whether he will be successful. I think that Liverpool have found an identikit manager for the way the club has been directed by Fenway Sports Group since they took over.
What do I mean?
Well, I can see big parallels between the running of Liverpool and that of Borussia Dortmund during Klopp’s time in charge there. Brendan Rodgers had to deal with losing big name players, and Klopp had the same pressures at Dortmund. Liverpool will probably maintain that they only lost their players under duress but the fact remains that some big stars departed the club:
When? Who? Notes
Summer 2015 Steven Gerrard Would have stayed if offered a coaching role
Summer 2015 Raheem Sterling Wanted Champions League football
Summer 2014 Luis Suarez Wanted Barcelona
Summer 2013 Andy Carroll Sold for £15 million
Borussia Dortmund couldn’t compete financially with the biggest clubs in Europe, with their national rivals Bayern Munich being one of those teams they couldn’t match Euro for Euro. They simply had to sell when the price was right, or when they couldn’t match the wages when the bigger clubs came in-
When? Who? Notes
Summer 2014 Robert Lewandowski – out of contract, went to Bayern Munich
Summer 2013 Mario Gotze – scored winner in World Cup Final
Summer 2012 Shinji Kagawa – has now returned
Summer 2011 Nuri Sahin – out of contract, Bundesliga player of the season
Unless Liverpool make major changes to their income, such as a new much bigger stadium or regular progress to the latter stages of the Champions League year after year then Klopp will be working under the same conditions again. He will have to act as Klopp The Dortmund manager when he is working as Klopp the Liverpool manager. And this is the main reason that I think in the long-term he will be a success. He will be operating in the same way under very similar conditions to these he experienced when he was successful.
Similarity is how top managers thrive. Mourinho has been successful with big money clubs – Porto (big money for the Portuguese league), Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid have all afforded him petty big transfer budgets and he has generally come up trumps. One of the main reasons I think that David Moyes failed at Manchester United. He had a defensive team working under a really tight budget and working his scouting team hard to find bargains at Everton. The jump to the world’s biggest club, fans expecting attacking, flowing football and the choice of the best players money could buy was too much for him. Klopp won’t have the same issues as he is swapping like for like.
The one quote that really stands out from his unveiling was the following “If I am sitting here in four years, we will win one title [piece of silverware] in this time.” This is a man of great confidence and someone who has done it before. I think that Klopp is a manager who has a vision for how he wants his team to play and he understands his matchbook. Borussia Dortmund played hard at the transition or breakdown and to achieve this, Klopp and his team worked on fitness levels. The players were able to get back into formation quickly and break at pace when they win the ball. I think that trying to achieve this mid-season is far more difficult to do than when putting in the ground work in pre-season. Because of this, I think that Liverpool may struggle with fitness levels this season and maybe the players will not be able to apply Klopp’s methods. After this season, I think that Klopp is right that he’ll at least be challenging for the Premier League title.