Non-negotiables: Rodgers - Courage in management has been very important for meSep 24 | 6 min read
Four more years of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool – The relentless winning machine Klopp has created and revived is targeting an historic quadruple
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool play host to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday evening, exclusively live on BT Sport.
Jurgen Klopp has the third-best win percentage of any Premier League manager with more than 200 games.
The Villarreal victory was a result which came off the back of an FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, and Premier League wins over rivals Manchester United and Everton by an aggregate score of 6-0.
Yet for most of the club’s supporters, the announcement that Klopp had put pen to paper was by far the most significant news in Liverpool’s outstanding April.
The deal has given everyone in the club a lift heading into the final stretch of the season, overshadowing even the nervousness around star forward Mohamed Salah’s deal.
The German has signed a two-year extension to his current deal, keeping him at the club until 2026. Should he stay for that long, he’ll surpass George Patterson and Bob Paisley to become the fourth longest-serving coach in the club’s history.
For Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has benefited as much as anyone from Klopp’s tutelage, it’s brilliant news.
“This season is a special one so far, going into this final run of fixtures and him really making something special for us,” the right-back said.
“Hopefully we’ve got four more years of these seasons to come. It always feels like there’s been an increase in success over every season we’ve had.”
The last sentence is the most pertinent. Liverpool appear to be getting better and better each season. In his first season, Klopp’s men fell short in the Carabao Cup and Europa League finals.
Liverpool made the Champions League final in 2018, but Klopp’s first silverware wasn’t until his fourth season when they won the Europe's most prestigious club competition.
In 2019/20 they won the Premier League, Super Cup and Club World Cup and after an anomalous year in 2020/21 due in part to serious injuries to key players, Liverpool are in with a serious chance of securing an historic quadruple with a month to go in the 2021/22 season.
The Reds have already claimed the Carabao Cup, they’re into the Champions League final and the FA Cup final and sit one point off leaders Manchester City in the Premier League table. Claiming all four major trophies on offer is looking more and more possible with each week of the campaign that passes.
The German’s win percentage year-on-year doesn’t necessarily reflect the same trend. In his first season in 2015/16, Klopp won just 43.5% of his Premier League matches in charge. This term he’s won 73.5%. It’s less than the 78.9% and 84.2% he managed in 2018/19 and 2019/20, but it’s a sharp increase from the 52.6% of last season.
But it demonstrates the German’s longevity and ability to steady the ship after a rocky 2020/21 campaign. If anything, Klopp has proven his ability to recover Liverpool’s form, to rediscover the relentlessness that saw them finish with 97 and 99 points in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Most coaches have dips in form, or their powers begin to wane. Most top-level managers can’t maintain the level of winning for such a long time. Most begin to lose their effectiveness, even lose the dressing room.
None of those accusations can be levelled at Klopp, a coach whose bond with his squad and supporters is visibly as strong as we’ve seen in the Premier League. Just look at the bear hugs he dishes out to the players on the pitch at full-time, at the series of synchronised fist bumps to celebrate each victory with the Anfield supporters.
At 64.2%, Klopp has the third-best win percentage of any Premier League coach with more than 200 games in the division, behind only Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferguson’s 27-year dynasty at Old Trafford will surely never be matched even if Guardiola has previously insisted he’s happy to stay at Manchester City “forever” or as long as they’ll have him.
Klopp is more realistic and less romantic about the situation. As recently as March, the 54-year-old said he was planning to “get to 2024 and say: ‘Thank you very much’”. Yet something has convinced him otherwise, perhaps the feeling that his powers are only getting stronger as the seasons roll by on Merseyside.
The nature of the results this season are particularly impressive. Liverpool find ways to win even when they aren’t playing well, as the doctrine for league-winning teams goes.
After dismantling Manchester United 4-0, Liverpool were far from their best in the Merseyside derby but emerged with a 2-0 win. On Tuesday night they threw away a 2-0 aggregate lead against Villarreal only to recover with three in reply to advance.
On Saturday, with Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Thiago and Fabinho all on the bench, Liverpool saw off in-form Newcastle, winning 1-0. “The performance was absolutely outstanding,” Klopp said. “I have to say, I loved it.”
Even in last month’s away league draw with City, Liverpool twice trailed and twice battled back to claim a point that could prove invaluable come the end of the season. That draw is the only time Liverpool have dropped points in their previous 14 Premier League matches.
Liverpool under Klopp are getting better and better at getting results. It’s why the quadruple is no longer a fantasy, but a serious possibility and perhaps even a probability.
It’s why Tottenham, who face Liverpool this Saturday night on BT Sport, will be dreading the trip to Anfield. It’s why Klopp signing a new four-year deal is very good news for Liverpool fans and bad news for everyone else in the division.