When Liverpool signed Jurgen Klopp in October 2015, the German had a massive rebuilding job on his hands. For someone who was accustomed to building up proper working class clubs like the Reds, it was a big task indeed.
Liverpool had lost their best player in Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the money yielded from the sale was not used well. The side they had was in no way, fit enough to compete for top four. There was an identity in place though, something that could bind the team together in the rebuilding process.
Where Liverpool progressed was exposing and selling off deadwood at the right time. The players who were deemed to be not good enough were let go. And they were replaced by much better and consistent players who could perform at a level capable of helping Liverpool get top four.
They managed to fit into the high-pressing identity and they improved as players and as a team. The signings were spot on. Georginio Wijnaldum and Andy Robertson were signed from clubs that had suffered relegation and they were signed for small fees, making sure that the pressure on them to succeed was less.
Roberto Firmino- someone who Klopp saw as a potential player at Dortmund, was signed from Hoffenheim for a 29 million pounds fee. Sadio Mane was signed for a fee of 34 million pounds. It is crucial to remember that these players were not world-class or superstars at this point. They were just very good players who fit into the high-pressing system that Klopp that installed at the club.
James Milner’s ability to use his work-rate and commitment bound the side together, while Jordan Henderson’s leadership came up with crucial moments. The attacking bit of the side looked sparkingly bright. Liverpool played brilliant football going forward, but the problem arose when they had to defend.
They could not defend set pieces and got caught when pressing high. Without a top defender, they fell apart in big games and finished fourth in the 2016-17 campaign. Their defense always let them down.
But the club plugged the holes when Virgil van Dijk was signed from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender. In the summer, Alisson was signed for a world record fee for a goalkeeper from Roma, weeks after Loris Karius’ error had costed Liverpool a Champions League title.
More than that, Karius and Ragnar Klavan were allowed to leave, meaning that the deadwood was shipped out at the right time. Mohamed Salah had to carry forward from a miraculous season too.
And when Klopp lifted his first ever European title in Madrid, all of it would have come rushing back to his head like it is yesterday. While he deserves massive credit, Liverpool as a whole have worked like a well-oiled machine. They have backed Klopp to the helm even when it took pushing the limits. They bought the right players and only the players who would fit in the style of the manager.
In an era where managers and the board fall out so many times, Liverpool are a club that should be seen as an inspiration by others.