Jürgen Klopp is in no mood for offering any kind of appraisal after reaching the milestone of three years as Liverpool manager, but is convinced the club are on course to achieve success and believes everyone should enjoy the journey towards it.
The German marked the anniversary of his appointment on Merseyside in October 2015 on Monday, during which time he’s taken the reins of the Reds 166 times and firmly established them as a powerful force at home and abroad once again.
Despite reaching the finals of the League Cup, Europa League and, most recently, the Champions League, Klopp has yet to lift his first piece of silverware as Liverpool manager.
Nevertheless, he is certain the Reds are on the right track to end their six-year wait for a trophy – and he wants supporters to cherish the ride.
In an exclusive interview with Premier League Productions, published on JOE, Klopp was asked whether he would afford himself any time to reflect on his three years at Anfield so far.
He replied: “Not yet, I don’t want to do that, because why should I judge my time here before it’s over?
“Nobody wants to look back in 10 or 20 years and say ‘so the best time we had without winning anything was when Klopp was here. It was so funny and all that stuff’.
“That’s not really something you want to achieve, we still have time to do something special and we know that to underline the development and progress, we have to do it.
“Times change, and to be honest, it is much more difficult than it was in the past. If you think about it, we are maybe in the best moment for ages, but a few other clubs are the same and they made the same steps so that makes it really hard.
“It looks like we are really on a good way and the only thing I can guarantee is that we constantly develop. Our little problem is many other clubs develop as well so it’s never that you improve 20 per cent and the others get 20 per cent weaker. They try to do the same, to reach the next level, and that’s the challenge we all face. It is interesting, but tough as well.
“As I said in my first press conference here, if anybody thinks that I can perform wonders, then it could become really difficult in the future, because I can’t.
“I’m a pretty hard-working person, I’m pretty well paid, so I should work hard actually. That’s what I do, I try to find solutions for different problems or situations and that’s how I understand the job.
“The only thing I can do is to put all I have - my knowledge, passion, heart, experience, everything - I throw it into this club, 100 per cent.
“I don’t keep anything back and it should work actually at one point.
“You have to bring yourself in the best situation that you are able to and use it - that’s what we do.
“When we win something, this city will explode - I’m sure - in a very positive way.”
Klopp added: “I have said it a few times: I have no idea when we will win something, but I’m sure this club will win something.
“I don’t know when so let’s have the best times of our lives until then. Let's enjoy the world, let's enjoy the football, let's enjoy the journey and it’s what we did so far - it was a good time.”
Jürgen Klopp inspects the old Anfield dressing room ahead of his unveiling press conference in October 2015
During the interview, Klopp lifted the lid on his first team meeting at Melwood, in which he wrote ‘T.E.A.M.’ in large letters on a flip-board and invited members of club staff in to introduce themselves to the squad and detail their roles within the training-ground set-up.
“I remember I wrote in big letters on a paper the word ‘TEAM’ and I said that is what I want us to be,” the boss explained.
“I said 'T’ is for terrible to play against - I had not a better word unfortunately… I don’t know if I have a better one now. ‘E’ for enthusiastic. ‘A’ for ambitious. ‘M’ for mentally-strong machines.
“Sometimes, we are exactly that! We can be terrible opponents to face, we have this kind of excited - a bit crazy if you want - style with organisation. We are for sure very enthusiastic and very ambitious and we have become stronger and stronger mentality-wise. Pretty much all of my players work like machines too, so I have actually what I wanted.”
Fundamental to Klopp’s revolution of Liverpool over the past three years has been the impact of the supporters, who were influential in the Reds’ runs to the Europa League and Champions League finals.
It’s a message the 51-year-old has maintained steadfastly from the moment he inked his first contract with the club at a city centre hotel.
“I really wanted from the first day that the people know about their importance,” said Klopp. “In football, people always say it - that supporters are important - but then you don’t treat them like that so you have to make sure it’s really a healthy relationship.
“We know without them we wouldn’t play on our highest level, no chance. You have to appreciate that and it’s very easy for me. I know I am responsible for the performance, but the people are responsible for the atmosphere.
“So, it should be a win-win situation. When we play well, it’s easy to get the crowd going and when we don’t play well, we need you to encourage us - get on your feet, tell us ‘come on’ - you have to be the stars then.
“I want us to have the best atmosphere in world football and there is no limit to what we can do actually.
“I love it how people really are involved in the game, but there’s still space for improvement - from our side performance-wise, but also to keep the atmosphere really on the highest level.
“This is a fantastic moment to be a Liverpudlian, because it’s all so positive in a not-so-positive world.
“So yeah, you are welcome to be involved in any way that you want and I say it again, let’s really have the best time of our lives.”
Klopp continued: “Here, the enthusiasm of all the people involved, the involvement of all the people, the feeling of all people is brilliant. We have to keep that, it’s cool, that’s exactly how it should be, because there are more important things in the world out there than football.
“But, when you go to a match, there’s nothing more important because you’ve decided already, ‘I’m forgetting all other things, I go there to the stadium, I want to have the best 95 minutes of the week, of the month, of my life, whatever...
“I can still feel how special it is and how blessed I am that I am really part of that. In this moment, being a Liverpool supporter or employee is fantastic, it just feels great.”