Liverpool has become a mighty footballing force in the world for the last 2-3 years. The last time Liverpool was as dominant as it is today was probably the 80s. Though Liverpool won the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League, they failed to secure a top 4 finish in the Premier League and certainly wasn’t consistent enough.

Liverpool Before Klopp

The 2004-05 UEFA Champions League final triumph was the tactical brilliance of Rafael Benitez and the masterclass of Steven Gerrard. Let’s have a look at the situation of the Liverpool team since the start of the decade before the arrival of present manager, Jürgen Klopp. It was the 2010-11 season saw Liverpool, under Roy Hodgson and later Kenny Dalglish, finish sixth in the Premier League with a round-of-16 exit in the UEFA Europa League. The Reds saw an all-time low in the 2011-12 season as they finished eighth in the Premier League and didn’t play any European competition for the season. However, they qualified for the next UEFA Europa League by winning the League Cup.
Poor performances resulted in the sacking of Kenny Dalglish. Brendan Rodgers was appointed the new manager of Liverpool. The 2012-13 season saw Liverpool finish seventh in the Premier League and crash out of the Europa League in the Round of 32. 2013-14 saw a major improvement in the performances of the players and the tactics of Rodgers as Liverpool finished second in the Premier League astonishingly. The 2014-15 season was again a disastrous one as the Reds finished sixth in the league, crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage and finally crashed out of the UEFA Europa League in the round-of-32.
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Brendan Rodgers Downfall

To add to that, the 2015-16 season started with Rodgers as the manager but after poor display of tactics and management, he was fired on 4th October 2015. Jürgen Klopp has announced the manager of the Reds on 8th October 2015. Now, let’s have a glance at Klopp’s managerial career before joining Liverpool. He started as the coach of Mainz 05 in 2001 as soon as he retired as a player. The German helped them gain promotion to the first division of German club football, Bundesliga in 2004 after two seasons of narrowly missing promotion as they finished fourth. To add to that, he helped Mainz 05 stay afloat in the Bundesliga for two more seasons. Mainz was relegated in 2006-07 but Klopp chose to stay with them.
After failing to gain promotion in the next season, he resigned. Klopp signed a two-year contract for Borussia Dortmund despite offers from Bayern Munich. He helped Dortmund finish sixth in his first season at a charge. The next season saw Dortmund finish 5th in Bundesliga despite having the most inexperienced squad in the league. He helped Dortmund win the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Bundesliga titles. Dortmund won the 2012 DFB Pokal defeating Bayern 5-2. The next season saw Dortmund reach the UEFA Champions League final after tough competition from Real Madrid and Manchester City and finally lost to Bayern Munich in the final.
Despite that, the last couple of seasons weren’t as successful as the prior ones as Klopp faced unpleasant situations with players like Mario Götze, who moved to Bayern after they activated the release clause. Robert Lewandowski also moved to Bayern through a pre-contract agreement. Klopp left Dortmund in 2015. Klopp joined Liverpool on a three-year deal on the 8th October 2015, following Brendan Rodgers’s dismissal.

Liverpool Under Klopp

The first season of Klopp saw Liverpool finish eighth in the Premier League (due to poor performance of Liverpool at the start of the season). However, Liverpool proceeded to be the runners-up in the season’s UEFA Europa League losing to Sevilla in the final. Klopp had become a fan favourite and an essential part of the Liverpool team. He also signed a six-year extension at the club. In the season of 2016-17, Klopp made some essential transfers and promotions.
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He bought Sadio Mane from Southampton and Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle United. In addition, he signed Loris Karius from Mainz 05 and signed Joel Matip on a free transfer from Schalke 04. Further, he promoted Trent Alexander-Arnold from the youth academy. With these changes in the team and having players like Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge, Klopp managed Liverpool to a fourth finish in the Premier League.
Liverpool were playing UEFA Champions League after a hiatus and they were stronger this time. It was painful that the 2017-18 season started with a massive blow for Liverpool. Their star player Philippe Coutinho was bought by Barcelona. The transfer-free gained estimated from the transfer was €145m. Klopp fully utilised the gain as he bought Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for a record fee for a defender(€84.65m). He also added Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal and Andrew Robertson from Hull City. This season marked a new era of Liverpool’s dominance.

The Modified Kop

Though they finished fourth in the Premier League, they were the runners-up of the season’s UEFA Champions League, losing to Real Madrid in the final. Errors from Loris Karius had Liverpool suffer their loss and the season ended with heartbreak. The next season saw Liverpool become one of the dominant teams in the world. Klopp bought Alisson from AS Roma, Naby Keita from RB Leipzig, Fabinho from AS Monaco and Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City. This season saw Liverpool finish second in the Premier League with 97 points, only a point behind Manchester City. It was unbelievable as they lost the title by a single point. They had the third-highest points ever recorded in the Premier League. What a heartbreak! Liverpool didn’t lose hope.
This time, Liverpool emerged as the UEFA Champions League winners. The season included a beautiful comeback from Liverpool over Barcelona as they defeated them 4-0 at Anfield, to progress with a 4-3 margin. They had their dream sixth Champions League title and the reason behind that was Jürgen Klopp. He made the team world-class with his tactics and management. Alisson won the Best Goalkeeper of the Year award, Van Dijk finished second in the Ballon D’Or rankings and Sadio Mane fourth. Klopp won the Best Manager of the Year award. A dream season for the Reds and their greatest triumph after 15 years.

The Current Campaign

The ongoing season has been very successful for the Reds in terms of league football. They are first in the Premier League till now, with 82 points from 29 games, losing and drawing only one game each, being 25 points ahead of the second-placed Manchester City. Liverpool crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the round-of-16 after Atletico Madrid showed great defensive football. Though Liverpool hasn’t won a Premier League under Klopp till now, this season is probably the one Liverpool will cherish the moments of winning the Premier League.

Klopp focuses on his philosophy of Gegenpress. He believes in regaining possession by pressuring the opponents as soon as Liverpool have lost possession. The current formation of Liverpool is 4-3-3 with Alisson at goal, Trent Alexander-Arnold as the RB, Virgil van Dijk and either one of Joel Matip/Joe Gomez as the CBs, Andrew Robertson as the LB, Fabinho as the CDM, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum as the CMs, Mo Salah as the RW, Roberto Firmino as the CF and Sadio Mane as the LW.

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The Change Of Formation

A formational change to a 2-3-5 situation while attacking with Mane and Salah pushing inwards as the central forwards. Firmino dropped a little deeper, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold moving high up the pitch to put in dangerous crosses. Further, the structure changed to a 4-1-3-2 formation during defence as the full-backs fall back. Also, the CDM drops a little more and the CMs drop a little too with Firmino acting as CAM and Mane and Salah wide. This team is very different from every other team in the world. It was created by Klopp out of his brilliance in the understanding of talents and utilising them.

Though he did buy players who weren’t world-class when they joined Liverpool, he made them world-class. Also, he made Robertson and Alexander-Arnold use their ability to the fullest by using them during attack build-ups. He saw Virgil van Dijk’s brilliance as a centre-back and bought him. Klopp saw Fabinho’s defensive skills and used him perfectly in his lineup.

Salah and Mane’s dribbling and shooting abilities are used to the fullest as they cut in and act as central forwards. Firmino’s capabilities of passing and shooting were utilised by Klopp as he used him as a false nine. He was given the duty of linking up play without hampering his shooting skills. The current Liverpool team is a perfect example of the greatness of Jürgen Klopp. There is no doubt that he has the ability to understand a player’s ability and his eye for talent. It is no wonder, why Jürgen Klopp is considered one of the greatest managers of the era!