Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are match made in heaven with Champions League glory in reach – Andy Dunn


Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday night, aiming to win a seventh European Cup

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Jurgen Klopp previews Champions League final

Of life’s golden rules, the one that suggests if something seems too good to be true, then it is probably too good to be true has few exceptions.

But, in football, Jurgen Klopp is most definitely one.

Whatever your take on his place in the pantheon of great club managers – and it is far, far too early to make any sort of definitive judgment – there is an indisputable truth. In 21st-century professional football, there cannot be a case where a managerial appointment has seen character, club and community so sweetly aligned.

As he takes Liverpool to their third Champions League final in five years, Klopp has his faults, of course. Plenty of them. His treatment of officials often leaves a lot to be desired, his repeated berating of the fourth official a bad example to grassroots and Sunday League coaches up and down the land.

And, not unusually, he can be a bad loser, although that is often in the raw heat of a rare unsuccessful Liverpool performance. Hence his outburst against Antonio Conte’s tactics after the recent 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Klopp can also lose his cool with the media, but there is a caveat for that fault, as well. Everyone in the media wants a piece of as charismatic a manager as the Premier League has seen.


Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to yet another European final


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But what really matters is how Klopp is seen by his players … and it is fair to say that their respect and admiration for him is unanimous. Ah, but they are bound to say that in public, true. But you will not find one who would, off the record, cast doubt about Klopp’s methods and approach. Not one.

Klopp has been here for almost seven years and, during that time, quite a few football writers have been fortunate to spend time in his company away from the day job. And, to a man and to a woman, they would tell you, after a short while in his company, they would run through brick walls for Klopp.

So, no wonder those players, who are with Klopp day in, day out, do exactly that. It has always seemed as if too much store has been placed in the motivational powers of managers, but that is not the case in respect of Klopp. It goes without saying, though, that no matter how talismanic the manager, there is a host of other factors that contribute to the sort of excellence Liverpool have shown.

There is the attention to detail, whether by employing a throw-in coach or using an outside consultancy to help with penalty shoot-outs and even analytical data headgear used in training. There is also the encouragement of homegrown players – such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones – knowing it will have a stimulating effect on the club.

There is the tactical acumen. Klopp keeps it relatively simple, but it is very rare he selects an attacking combination that does not turn out to be right for the occasion. That is why his record shows that of his 380 matches across all competitions as Liverpool manager, he has won 234 and lost only 60.

One of those was against Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Kyiv in 2018. Avenging that defeat so relatively quickly would, for Liverpool fans, seem too good to be true. But that is what their manager specializes in.

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