Jurgen Klopp Already Delivering On Excitement That Surrounded His Arrival At Liverpool
By Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven)
If the Kopp weren’t completely enamoured with Jurgen Klopp before Liverpool’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal, they certainly were afterwards. The Reds now have a shot at a European final for the first time in nine years, but the evening at Anfield was about more than just continental success.
The comprehensive 3-0 win over the Spaniards felt like the moment Kloppism was truly embraced by the Merseyside club. Of course, they had already made a cult hero of the former Borussia Dortmund coach, but with a Europa League final to look forward to Liverpool firmly held him to their heart.
“It was beyond my expectations. As a non-native speaker I don’t have the right words for this performance,” Klopp gushed about his own team after the win. “It was nice to watch, nice to be part of it, the whole performance from the first second, from 6.45pm when we drove through the roads it was nice.
“The first half hour, what power. We lost a bit of patience and tried things differently, but in the second half it was back to the plan and still very emotional and very smart. Wonderful goals and well deserved.”
This was the kind of performance Klopp would have envisaged from his side when he first took charge of the club, with Villarreal hassled and harried right from the start. Liverpool were dynamic and exciting against the Liga side, with the re-introduction of Daniel Sturridge giving the Reds an extra dimension in the final third.
The result was never in any real doubt, even if things got somewhat nervy with the scoreline at 2-0 and Villarreal only an away goal from sucker punching their way into the final. On the whole there was an assurance to Liverpool’s play. This was a throwback to a time when the Anfield club truly belonged at the top of the European game.
Of course, the Europa League final gives Liverpool the chance to pull up a seat at continental soccer’s top table for next season, with a Champions League place up for grabs for the winners. But Klopp is keen to stress that he sees the competition not as a springboard, but as an opportunity to lift a European trophy.
But there could be an even more profound meaning to Liverpool’s win over Villarreal on Thursday evening. The Europa League semi-final second leg could prove a turning point for the Reds in their grand development under the German. It could go down as the moment the club finally got what Klopp is all about.
The summer will give Klopp the chance to make a real impression on this Liverpool team, signing the kind of players who will be able to implement his philosophy most effectively. Reports suggest that he could raid his former club Borussia Dortmund in the transfer window, with Mario Gotze also linked with a switch from the Bundesliga to Anfield.
Regardless of where Klopp picks up new signings this summer, Liverpool will be shaped in the German’s identity by the start of next season. The success he has enjoyed with a squad assembled by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers whets the appetite for what he might achieve with a team of his own.
Such is the hope concerning the future of Klopp at Liverpool a win over Sevilla in the Europa League final later this month would only be seen as a preview of what might follow. The German is viewed as one of the brightest and best coaches in the European game right now and he is expected to forge a team to fit his own reputation. It’s an exciting time to be a Liverpool supporter.