Jurgen Klopp has been long in the business of football coaching and he never had the best squad. He manages himself with a mediocre set of footballers and turned them into hard-working professionals. He managed Mainz 05, Borussia Dortmund, and managing Liverpool currently. But, he never had a team sheet to bring fear to opponents, and he still manages to trouble the world’s best teams. He has beaten the teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City to prove one point that’s “the world’s best can be beaten”. He has consistently tried to prove his point but after managing three clubs and defeating Fab Four (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City), he doesn’t need to prove his point further.
Klopp started his managerial career at his beloved club in Mainz, where he spent most of his playing days. His vision to become a successful football manager comes from his playing days. He used to play as a striker initially but he started playing as a defender in the latter half of his playing career. From that’s where “gegenpressing” style of football emerged.
In football, it’s often said that your best defense starts from your offensive players or forward line. It glued to Klopp’s mind and he transformed the world football with his gegenpressing style of football. He has made clear when you don’t have the ball; you need to get it back from your opponent as quick as possible. It forces forward to track back, dispossess the opponent player, and move forward to attack again.
Former Mainz player helped Mainz to earn a promotion to Bundesliga and qualification for the 2005-06 Uefa Cup during his stay there as manager. At Borussia Dortmund, he led his team to win two successive Bundesliga title in 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons despite Bayern Munich’s supremacy. He led Dortmund to reach Uefa Champions League final in 2012/13 season.
Dortmund were grouped alongside Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Ajax in the group of death. They topped the group with four victories and two draws. The Black & Yellow defeated Real Madrid 2-1 at home and then draw 2-2 at Santiago Bernabeu. They met again in semifinal and Dortmund registered 3-4 aggregate victory defeating Madrid 4-1 at home and losing 2-0 at Bernabeu.
However, they lose the final against archrival Bayern Munich at London. But, he has already left his mark on the world defeating Real Madrid twice in the same season. The subsequent seasons didn’t prove fruitful for him at Dortmund, he made a move to Liverpool in Oct 2015. He has yet to win a trophy at Liverpool but he has won the hearts of his fans.
In his first full season as in-charge, Liverpool goes undefeated against the top six Premier League clubs. He earned them a spot in Champions League finishing fourth. Klopp enjoys the European nights because it gives him a platform to prove his point and once again he was there to prove that the worlds best can be beaten”.
Liverpool topped their group and dismantle FC Porto 5-0 aggregate at last 16 stage. Now they were at Uefa Champions League quarterfinals stage and against the domestic superior rival Manchester City. Klopp wanted to make a point and he made his point by defeating City 3-0 at Anfield in first-leg.
Talking to UEFA.com before Liverpool vs Manchester City quarterfinals first-leg tie, Klopp told them that he never had the best squad. He makes the most of revealing the world about his coaching prowess. He talked about the difference between him and Pep Guardiola. The German manager said, “There is no big difference, actually. It’s just that Pep always had better teams than me. You can see that now with Manchester City – they have a lot more points [in the Premier League] than we do. However, that difference has never been as small as it is now. When we coached at Bayern and Dortmund respectively, that difference was really big.”
“And when he was coaching Barcelona I was at Mainz, so that was a completely different situation. They have got a lot more ball possession than I ever had in my coaching career. There were always world-class teams and we always had to improve a little bit.”
He adds, “His teams are always excellently positioned. He always has great teams which make excellent decisions. At Barcelona it was Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Lionel Messi and so on, just to mention the creative players from his time there. At Bayern, he had fantastic players who made a lot of great decisions. Now, with Gundogan, Silva, Aguero, Sane, Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, they are extraordinary.”
Yet, he has managed to defeat the so-called World’s best coach (Pep Guardiola) team numerous times. He leads the Klopp vs Guardiola battle with six victories, 3 draws, and only one defeat. And the latest 3-0 victory over Manchester City was the cherry on top. He proved his mark that worlds best can be beaten with a mediocre set of players with little more enthusiasm and confidence.
The German manager wanted football coaches around the world to watch this match in order to find a solution when playing against a better team. He said, “I think there will be plenty of coaches all over the world watching these games in order to find a solution for how to play well defensively, and by doing that also giving yourself the chance to become dangerous on the attack against the best teams like Barcelona and Manchester City.”
The message was clear. Jurgen Klopp wanted to pass the legacy of preparation to win against the best teams. He has been able to do this over the years and he wants young coaches to not lose faith. It doesn’t matter what you have at your disposal, it matters how you have used them to get the maximum out of it before they make a leap forward.