Today marks five years to the day that Liverpool Football Club took its first step into an entirely new era. Jurgen Klopp was unveiled as the Reds’ new manager on October 8, 2015 in a bid to patch up the wounds left by Brendan Rodgers.
After their ‘near miss’ season in 2014, it looked like Liverpool had missed their chance of becoming Premier League champions for the first time. Steven Gerrard left the club a year later after gradually becoming more and more of a fringe player under Rodgers. With the last remaining club icon gone and their chances of Champions League football dashed, the spirit on Merseyside was dampened.
Until out of the ashes rose not a phoenix, but a liverbird. The Klopp era had a buzz around it from the start and it was only a matter of time before he showed to the world why the club had chosen ‘The Normal One’ to take them to dizzy new heights.
In just five years, Klopp has built this Liverpool side into champions. The Reds have finally felt the glory of winning the Premier League and have also banked their sixth European title for good measure. Also as the reigning Club World Cup champions, the belief in the team has arguably never been higher.
“What a five years it’s been,” Neil Mellor told Football FanCast exclusively. “What Jurgen has brought to Liverpool is a togetherness, a connection. As an ex-player I feel connected to the current team, the supporters of the club feel connected to the first team and I think that’s unique.
“I look around the Premier League and I think many clubs would love to have that sort of connection.”
Indeed, Klopp has a clear and obvious bond with his players and it’s one he loves to show. In a recent interview with BBC Sport, Jordan Henderson relived the moments of celebration the team had with their manager following their historic Premier League win.
“Obviously when we win, he’s on the dance-floor and he’s partying but you should see him when we lose,” the Reds skipper revealed. “There’s been big games, big finals we’ve lost and the way he handles that is incredible really. And I’ve learned a lot from him, from that – how he reacted is so different to what everybody else would think.”
Mellor waxed lyrical over Klopp’s recent decisions to put his trust in the club’s Academy graduates. Trent Alexander-Arnold is a model example for someone walking in Gerrard’s footsteps after grafting his way up through the ranks of the club. Fellow teenagers Curtis Jones, Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott are also on their way to securing their regular spot in Klopp’s first team.
“That [connection to the Academy] has always been strained at times,” Mellor said. “Even at my time it was difficult for young players to have the chance to go down to Melwood and show the first team what they’re all about. Jurgen is now bringing the first team and the Academy together, which I think is great.
“He’s not going out and spending £50-60million all the time, he’s giving young players a chance. There’s a great feeling at Liverpool.”
After being given his chance to shine at Anfield, Alexander-Arnold is now the most valuable defender in the world and third highest valued young player – behind only Jadon Sancho and Kylian Mbappe, according to Transfermarkt. Soon enough, more young Liverpool players will be dominating the Premier League and beyond, guided by the genuine belief shown by Klopp.
A new wave of stars could be next to get their hands on some silverware as the German continues his mission to make Liverpool the best in the world.