5 things Klopp needs to do to start Liverpool revival
Listening to Juergen Klopp outline his vision in the bowels of Anfield on Friday, it was difficult not to become enthused by his charisma. However, for the former Borussia Dortmund coach to live up to the hype, he must overcome several obstacles.
1 Cut his cloth accordingly
Liverpool's chief executive Ian Ayre warned that the near future would be "about what we have and what Juergen has to work with" - words by which the German will invariably be bound by over the next 12 months.
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) jettisoned Brendan Rodgers because they believe that, after pumping in £493 million ($860m) since their takeover five years ago, the Reds should be far better than their current standing.
Klopp, who had guided Borussia Dortmund to successive Bundesliga titles with an average annual budget of £22 million, is accustomed to operating within modest resources; something the Americans will be keen to ensure remains on-message.
2 End the transfer committee trade-off
Compromise spawned Liverpool's notorious transfer committee and became its staple over the past three years. In lieu of working with a sporting director, Rodgers found himself forced to accommodate players recruited at his superiors' behest.
Every Philippe Coutinho or Emre Can was offset by multiples of Lazar Markovic, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto.
Rodgers was similarly fallible; each Danny Ings or Christian Benteke was counter-balanced by a throng of Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Dejan Lovren.
To end the error-strewn transfer strategy, the continental model FSG reluctantly compromised for Rodgers must be restored. Continuing to paint by numbers will only repeat the pattern of the previous 12 months.
3 Close the gap first
During seven years at the Signal Iduna Park, Klopp famously declared: "You always want to be the team that can beat the one with more money."
His pledge to deliver a coveted league title to Anfield by 2019 would have been music to the ears of many long-suffering Kopites.
However, Reds fans must know that their team finished an average of 22 points behind the champions in the last five seasons, and it might take several leaps to reach the top.
Klopp must first bridge the gap on the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, before hoping to leapfrog them.
4 Impose a style and stick to it
What legacy Rodgers promised to leave behind became obliterated by a shape-shifting obsession.
A philosophy derived from Barcelona's "tiki-taka" brand of football, ironically, gave way to an approach not too dissimilar to that enjoyed by Dortmund under his eventual successor.
By the end of his reign, Liverpool were in the midst of an identity crisis.
Klopp has promised a brand of "full-throttle" football. Should that vision fail to follow the script early on, persistence will be key; not least with Benteke leading a front line facing an uncertain future a mere few months since it was assembled.
5 Integrate the old guard
Since Gary McAllister found himself downgraded from the coaching set-up, a queue of Liverpool legends willing to take his place has been steadily forming.
Robbie Fowler, notably, made no secret of his desire to work with Klopp, while Dietmar Hamann is widely expected to return, having briefed his compatriot on the club and the city.
Klopp will already have his own personnel lined up, but retaining a link with the old guard will allow him to truly tap into the raw emotion of Liverpool's footballing psyche.
BY THE NUMBERS
$47m Juergen Klopp guided Borussia Dortmund to successive Bundesliga titles despite an average annual budget of only £22 million ($47m). In contrast, Brendan Rodgers' average expenditure per season was £73m.
Neil Humphreys' guide for Juergen Klopp
1) DON'T BE TOO HONEST
Last year, Mr Klopp, you not only told a Cologne radio station that you'd watched a porn movie, you even provided details of the plot. Your honesty was shocking for two reasons.
First, professional managers do not discuss such private matters in public. And second, no one had ever heard of a porn movie with a plot before.
But this kind of thing doesn't really work in the stiff-upper-lip league. Good luck trying to ask Sir Alex Ferguson if he's ever watched a porn movie before. There's more chance of him appearing in one with Roy Keane.
2) CLEAN UP ON THE CLICHES
In 2005, you went on German TV as a pundit to discuss the Confederations Cup and proved to be a revelation.
Erudite, witty and insightful, you were like a German Gary Neville with a better haircut.
But you were far too clever for your own good. This will not do in the English Premier League.
Oh no. We love our cliches. So please stick to generous mentions of spirit, fight and commitment, a few "roll the sleeves up" and always refer to the players as "the boys".
Brendan Rodgers always referred to his Reds as "the boys", even when Steven Gerrard was 87 and falling over against Chelsea.
Most of all, players' names must be pluralised at all times. It's not Christian Benteke, Danny Ings or Daniel Sturridge. It's got to be "the Bentekes, the Ings' and the Sturridges."
And if you're ever faced with a tough question, always pivot and come back to the spirit, fight and commitment of the boys. That's essential for the Bentekes, the Ings and the Sturridges.
3) WATCH BACK TO THE FUTURE
Remember Marty McFly trapped in the past in the movie Back to the Future?
That'll be you, Klopp, at Anfield, an alternate reality where it's still 1984.
Everyone you meet will refer to Liverpool as a big club. Many will mention Liverpool being five-time European champions.
You will bump into Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush everywhere. There will be lots of blown-up photographs of men with big curly hair and even bigger big moustaches. (You'll think you're watching that porn movie again).
You will believe you are trapped in 1984. Don't worry. Many Liverpool fans are also still trapped in 1984. It's their happy place. It's where they go whenever they can't beat teams like Norwich.
On such traumatic occasions, these misguided souls will still insist Liverpool are a big club. Do not laugh. Just nod politely and try and find Doc Brown and his DeLorean.
4) LEARN THE LINGO
Get an old boy in the dugout. You need a Ryan Giggs-type figure, someone who's capable of knitting past and future together.
Steven Gerrard is unlikely as he loves the anonymity in Los Angeles, where he can walk the streets and no one recognises him. (Dejan Lovren can do the same thing every day in Liverpool).
So that means Jamie Carragher. But the communication barrier will be an issue because your English is better than his.
English may be a second language for you, but Scouse is a different language altogether for Carragher.
Learn Scouse quickly so you can sound like a modern Dietmar Hamann, who speaks with a surreal German-Scouse accent, and we can laugh at you on TV.
5) MATCH YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Your predecessor spent almost £300 million on the squad.
However, the first training session will reveal that the squad are worth no more than a couple of bowls of sauerkraut.
The famous German dish is mostly sour cabbages. The same could be said of your squad.
So don't judge them too harshly and there's always the January transfer window.
Maybe fix the defence first. To borrow another German food analogy, Liverpool's backline is like the bratwurst.
One is tall, stiff and frequently burnt. And the other's a sausage.
"Strong personality, very strong, very stubborn, determined and his performances, and his career at Dortmund was a stellar rise to the top ... I don’t like saying that, being Liverpool, because I’m worried about it but, no, he’ll do well."
— Former Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on Juergen Klopp’s appointment as Liverpool manager
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