Jurgen Klopp on history-making mission at Liverpool
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 12/02/16 6:17am
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp remains fully aware his target has to be to restore the club's glory days but accepts the financial firepower of his Premier League rivals makes such a challenge more difficult than ever.
In a long interview with Sky Deutschland, Klopp spoke at length of his understanding of the rich history at Anfield, and how such expectations weigh on the shoulders of any manager at the club.
But he also said he feels "comfortable" in the Reds role and is confident the supporters and the powers-that-be in the Liverpool board room will give him time to establish a dynasty to match those created by his illustrious predecessors.
"There were great managers and great players working at Liverpool that have influenced the club's history," said Klopp, who has led Liverpool to ninth in the Premier League after taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October. "We are trying to bring that success back to the club.
Anfield is a great stadium and you feel the history in every moment. It's an honour and it's great fun and a great adventure to be here.
"Both the Manchester clubs and a few London clubs invest a lot. So if you make a few good decisions that doesn't necessarily mean that you make steps ahead on the Premier League table because these clubs are making the right decisions too.
"I've been here for four months now and I really get the impression that everybody in this club is hungry for success. And despite everybody longing for a very quick success they all are ready to be patient and to invest a certain amount of time that is necessary to gain that success.
"So I feel very comfortable over here. It's a special club, a special place. Anfield is a great stadium and you feel the history in every moment. It's an honour and it's great fun and a great adventure to be here."
Managing a club with a strong history is nothing new to Klopp - although he led Borussia Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final, the German side already had a strong reputation in domestic football and had won Europe's top club title in 1997.
Liverpool, despite not winning the league championship since 1991, enjoy a similar standing in English football - but the key difference, Klopp feels, is the way the club's history is ingrained into the very fabric of the city.
"It's a really great club that had much success in the past," he said. "Everywhere you go, all around town you'll find special historic and football-related places.
One of our rooms used to be Steven Gerrard's trophy room. Fortunately he took all the silver with him so I don't have to look at it the whole time.
"And there are the club legends. Every time you speak in public or go to an event you can be sure there are club legends present. The club is important for the city.
"Problem is: the last big trophies have been won a few years ago. It's a problem that many great clubs have in the present. You have to deal with that because obviously there are reasons for that."
Klopp has met a number of club legends, and acknowledges that the "passion for the club doesn't end with an expiring contract".
"(Jamie) Carragher and (Steve) McManaman are working for television so they are around a lot. And like everyone should have heard by now I'm living in a house that Steven Gerrard built.
"One of our rooms used to be his trophy room. Fortunately he took all the silver with him so I don't have to look at it the whole time. I met him and he is a great guy.
"That's the thing with Liverpool - you can't become someone in this club without being a great person. For everyone in this club, football is important but they want the whole person. Either you are that person or they make you that person, always caring about the club always humble.
That's the thing with Liverpool - you can't become someone in this club without being a great person. For everyone in this club, football is important but they want the whole person.
"I'm not so much into social media but of course I recognize who tweets or writes something if we win. That passion for the club doesn't end with an expiring contract."
Klopp is under no illusion that managing Liverpool is a "dream come true" and frames his assessment of the post in much less romantic terms, speaking instead of the day-to-day grind, albeit a grind which takes place in a "wonderful environment".
"The last thing you should be as a manager is to be a dreamer," he said. "Because reality will always catch up.
"In the beginning when Liverpool called me and we made the decision to take that offer we realized that it's really the sequel of a great managerial career to coach Liverpool after a great time in Mainz and Dortmund.
"But once you are here it's just going to work in the morning and going home in the evening. And in between you've had a hard day.
"I can't go on about how great it is to be here and to congratulate myself for taking the job. I've just got too much to do and too much to work on.
"But of course you love that especially because I'm doing it in a wonderful environment."
What has not been wonderful for Liverpool under Klopp has been their defending of set-pieces - a weakness which has become a regularly-cited Achilles heel for the Reds and rightly so, as they have conceded more goals (13) from that method than all but two other Premier League clubs, Norwich and Bournemouth.
Klopp feels the short preparation time between games is a hindrance in rectifying the problem and that it is just one of several issues he needs to iron out within the squad.
"We have had these problems," he admitted. "I think it's not that we have it all the time. We conceded a goal lately against West Ham but that was a brilliant header that you cannot defend perfectly. But of course you can work on it.
"The problem is that you have to improve until the next day or within a very short time because the next match is coming and that is not too easy. And there are many other things that we have to work on within the few practice sessions.
"In general you can say that dead-ball situations are even more important in the Premier League. Some people laugh at keepers that complain about being attacked in the box.
"Sometimes as a keeper I would ask myself why I should take on that fight if I'm not protected. Dead-balls are therefore more important and more difficult to defend over here.
"But it's true we didn't score enough goals from dead-balls ourselves and didn't always defend to good. So maybe it even became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"Every time an opponent has a good chance from a dead-ball the whole stadium isn't too comfortable and we feel that. But we are working on it and we are on a good way."