Joined: October 2015
Honours: Premier League (2019-20), FIFA Club World Cup (2019), UEFA Super Cup (2019), Champions League (2019)
Jürgen Klopp made Liverpool champions of England, Europe and the world within five years of his appointment at Anfield in October 2015.
The charismatic German ended the Reds’ 30-year wait for a league title in the summer of 2020 as his relentless side, one carefully constructed throughout his tenure, emphatically secured top spot in the Premier League with seven games remaining.
Revered by fans from the earliest weeks of his spell on Merseyside, Klopp had already delivered the club’s sixth European Cup the previous year, when Tottenham Hotspur were defeated 2-0 in Madrid in the Reds’ second successive Champions League final appearance.
The UEFA Super Cup and a first ever FIFA Club World Cup have also been added to the trophy cabinet by a Liverpool squad that has perfectly adapted to the vision of one of the most forward-thinking coaches in the game.
Klopp’s CV already boasted two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup and a Champions League final appearance before he took the Reds reins, all earned during a seven-year stint at Borussia Dortmund.
His journey as a player had started – and in fact ended – with FSV Mainz 05, where he spent his entire career before retiring at 34.
As the man himself once admitted, he was not the most talented player in the world, but he found himself able to make up for any shortcomings thanks to a good understanding of the game.
“I never succeeded in bringing to the field what was going on in my brain,” he said. “I had the talent for the fifth division, and the mind for the Bundesliga. The result was a career in the second division.”
This ability to apply his experience was evident in a positional move from striker to centre-half as his career progressed, and it resulted in more than 300 professional appearances.
It also proved to be the perfect preparation for a career in coaching, which began in 2001 when he hung up his boots and moved straight into the dugout of a club he had already given 11 years’ service to.
Throughout Klopp’s time as a player, and indeed Mainz’s history, they had rarely troubled the upper echelons of German football – but he found himself in a position to change all that as the manager.
The Stuttgart-born boss ended a 41-year wait for Bundesliga football at the Stadion am Bruchweg when he oversaw promotion from the second tier in his third season in charge.
Three seasons in the top flight followed and, though Mainz eventually returned to the 2.Bundesliga, Klopp had already established himself as a coach of great repute.
As a result, it was little surprise to see Borussia Dortmund swoop in the summer of 2008 as they looked to bounce back from a 13th-place finish the season before.
After steadying the ship and taking the Westfalenstadion side to sixth and fifth in his first and second seasons respectively, Klopp masterminded back-to-back Bundesliga title wins.
Those successes, allied to a German Cup win in 2011-12, helped to re-establish Dortmund among their country’s elite, and by his fifth campaign at the helm Klopp was also proving himself capable in Europe.
In 2012-13, Dortmund reached the final of the Champions League, where they were defeated by rivals Bayern Munich, but a loss at the hands of better-resourced foes did the manager’s reputation little harm.
That is largely because it was not just the achievements of his team that caught the eye but also the relentless pressing and attractive attacking football that underpinned those successes.
As Klopp explained: “What I love is not serenity football, it’s fighting football – that’s what I like. What we call in Germany ‘English football’ – rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody is dirty in the face and they go home and can’t play football for the next four weeks.”
He arrived on Merseyside looking to apply that approach in its philosophical home of England, and oversaw an exciting first season at the helm punctuated by a series of exhilarating matches and performances.
Though Liverpool ultimately lost out in both the League Cup and Europa League finals, Klopp’s maiden campaign saw plenty of progress and featured an unforgettable win over former club Dortmund that will go down as one of Anfield’s greatest games.
Ahead of Klopp’s first full season in charge, the club announced the manager had signed a new, long-term contract extension.
And that show of faith was rewarded in 2016-17 as the Reds secured a top-four Premier League finish and a place in the next season’s Champions League qualifiers as a result.
Liverpool’s resurgence continued into the new campaign and their return to Europe’s elite club competition was marked by an unforgettable run all the way to the final in Kiev.
Heartbreak was inflicted by Real Madrid that night but another top-four placing meant Liverpool had the chance to exorcise those memories a year later.
And that they did, with the win over Spurs in Madrid being made possible by an unforgettable 4-0 semi-final second-leg victory against Barcelona in what was perhaps the greatest European night in Anfield’s history.
The Reds had been pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City in 2018-19 despite a club-record total of 97 points, but – just as they had used their near-miss in the European Cup as motivation – returned even stronger at the next opportunity.
Twenty-six wins out of 27 from the start of the campaign established Liverpool as runaway leaders and put Klopp, who had again prolonged his stay – to 2024 – during the season, and his players on the brink of history.
They sealed the club’s 19th league championship when Premier League football resumed after a three-month halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea on June 25, 2020 – the night after a trademark win over Crystal Palace at Anfield – confirming their title and Klopp’s legacy.