Jurgen Klopp sets out blueprint for UberLiverpool
One of Europe's most coveted coaches was unveiled as the manager of Liverpool on Friday. Klopp has pledged to inject dynamism and verve into the Anfield outfit. The successor to Brendan Rodgers takes over a team with the potential to challenge for the biggest prizes in English football.
Klopp launched his charm offensive on Friday describing himself as "The Normal One" during his first rendez-vous with the media following his appointment on Thursday night.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho famously described himself as "a special one" in his first press conference in English football in 2004. The sobriquet has remained with the Portuguese ever since.
But 48-year-old Klopp eschewed such self-aggrandisement, telling a packed room of journalists at Anfield: "I don't want to describe myself. I'm a totally normal guy. I'm the normal one."
The former Borussia Dortmund head coach doth protest too much. He is acclaimed as one of Europe's most imaginative, tactically astute coaches.
Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have not sanctioned a 7-million-euro-a-year salary for their club to remain in the hinterland of English football. He has been drafted in by the hierarchy on a three-year contract to excel.
When Brendan Rodgers was sacked on 4 October following a 1-1 draw at Merseyside rivals Everton, Klopp was immediately installed as the favourite to take over from the Northern Irishman.
Rodgers' three-and-a-half-year tenure had brought the highs of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling cutting through opposition defences and a second-placed finish in 2014. But last season's meandering slump to sixth and a place in the Europa League meant that he was living on borrowed time despite being allowed to spend 70 million euros on new players over the summer.
"I am a normal guy from the Black Forest. I don't compare myself with genius managers in this club's history," added Klopp, who led Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles and an appearance in the 2013 Uefa Champions League final.
"It's cool that you're looking for that, but it's not my part to think about that. I don't think any manager starts by saying that they want to be a legend.
"I was a very, very average player. I was at a special club in Germany with Mainz 05 and then had a great opportunity to take Dortmund for seven years. Now I'm here and I hope to enjoy my work."
In an interview with the club's in-house television channel, LFC TV, Klopp described the job as "the biggest challenge ... in the world of football".
His first game at the helm will be a trip to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on 17 October.
Liverpool won the last of their 18 league titles in 1990 under the stewardship of Kenny Dalglish.
Rodgers led them to a second-place finish in 2014, but they finished sixth last season and are in 10th place in the table with 12 points from eight games.
While urging patience, he set himself the goal of winning a league title by 2019. "It's not so important what people think when you come in. It's important what people think when you leave. So please give us time.
"This could be a very special day, if you are patient. When I sit here in four years, I think we will win one title."
During his reign at Dortmund, Klopp innovated an energetic pressing game and he said he wanted to replicate that intensity. "I believe in a playing philosophy that is very emotional, very fast and very strong," he said. "My teams must play at full throttle and take it to the limit every single game."
He added: "Liverpool has extraordinary supporters and Anfield is a world-renowned home, with an incredible atmosphere.
"I want to build a great relationship with these supporters and give them memories to cherish. I hope we can feed off each other's energy and that we take this journey together.
"In Jurgen Klopp we have appointed a world-class manager with a proven track record of winning and someone who has the personality and charisma to reignite this football club and take the team forward," said Liverpool chairman Tom Werner. "Critically, he is also a winner and someone who can connect with and enthuse our supporters."
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