JÜRGEN Klopp at Liverpool for six years? I’ll take that. I’ll take that all day.
For days now I’ve been writing and rewriting an article for this site that isn’t really working how I’d like it so far. The idea was that it would accompany our recent podcast about Liverpool FC’s identity. The problem is that what makes up Liverpool FC’s identity is so wide ranging.
Part of it is ambition. Of wanting to win. It’s why we have endless debates on who we buy and who we don’t. We want the big name. The statement of intent. We want balls slapped on the table and two fingers stuck in the air. “We’re Liverpool. Fuck off.” That kind of thing. There hasn’t been enough of it. And there’s been too much of the opposite.
When Brendan Rodgers was sacked some fans celebrated the fact. They had grown sick of him. They magnified his faults and kicked away the good bits. Others did the opposite. What was clear was that from day one he wasn’t an appointment that could unite the fans. Even when his stock was at its highest, still some scowled at the salesman demeanour.
When his stock was at its lowest, Rodgers remained. A man who had overseen one of the worst Liverpool defeats in a lifetime remained in post. Then, fans looked above him. At the men who appointed him in the first place. At the men seemingly sitting on their hands and accepting the status quo after Stoke had hit a once proud club for six.
Now, those same men have recognised Liverpool are onto a good thing and made a very public statement about their belief. Jürgen Klopp is the man is what a six-year contract at Liverpool says. He is the leader. The be all and end all. The nouveaux Bill Shankly who can revamp and restructure a club struggling for relevance at the very top of the game.
Listen: Klopp contract reaction special
Klopp may end up being none of those things, of course that is always a possibility. But for now this is a Liverpool that will be built in the personality of a man who is loved, admired and, crucially, respected throughout the football world.
Some will say making him almost bulletproof is a dangerous game. But waiting around wondering has proved equally dangerous for Liverpool in the past. Right now I’m glad of the decisiveness. It helps to create a feeling that Liverpool have a direction. A vision. A plan.
For what feels like a very long time conversations around the club have come back to it appearing to be rudderless. Of it spinning around without a captain able to take control. Of too many people in too many places rowing in different directions leaving Liverpool floundering nowhere.
FSG have made Klopp all powerful with this decision — an old-school figurehead in a game increasingly obsessed with middle managers.
Can he handle it? Time will tell. But he’s signed it and he’s happy. And history and the evidence of last season suggests a man with the will to make things happen. This isn’t a chancer who has sold his way to a fortune with smoke and mirrors. This is Jürgen Klopp — a winner, and a man described as the most wanted manager in the world shortly before his Anfield appointment; a man with standing in the game, who commands respect and takes no shit.
All of that matters. The fans are united on the manager. The club is too. There are still ways out if the worst happens but how about we presume it doesn’t?
Klopp can now surely weed out anyone at the club that contributes to the playing side that can’t cut it. For everything else that might need doing might he need the help of a top-class football administrator? Someone with similar clout in the less public circles of the game as he has? He might. And it just so happens that Liverpool have a vacancy to fill on that score with the – albeit prolonged – departure of Ian Ayre.
When the conversations continue to find that person, as surely they have already started, won’t Liverpool now be speaking from a stronger position with Klopp contracted until 2022? With a bigger ground and a respected manager, doesn’t that make Liverpool FC of 2016 a more attractive proposition than the one of just a short time ago?
I’ll finish that identity piece one day. In the meantime, I’m happy that we have one of the best managers about on board, committed and contracted for the long term. It doesn’t fix everything, it doesn’t make it all alright overnight. But surely, even for the biggest misery arses out there, it can be seen as a step in the right direction?
I’d rather have Klopp wielding more power at Liverpool FC than a bloke who can’t even be arsed to do an interview and tell us what he thinks about the club. Hi, Mike Gordon. One day, yeah?
It feels like Klopp gets us. And now we get to keep Klopp. If we have more nights like Dortmund, more games like City away, more atmospheres like United in the Europa League then that will tell you all you need to know. That he’s getting it right. And if he gets it right, he will become the longest serving Liverpool manager since Bob Paisley.
Klopp asked us to believe and I’m believing. And I’m enjoying it. Jurgen Norbert Klopp? Boss tha’.
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