Tuesday 21 May 2019

Klopp's self-imposed trophy deadline draws near

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Reuters

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp is approaching a self-imposed trophy deadline at Liverpool. The German coach made a vow upon his appointment in 2015. "If we sit here in four years, I think we win one title. If not, the next one [for me] may be in Switzerland," Klopp said.

With respect to Basel and Zurich, they should not be on alert just yet. The fact that it was Klopp who volunteered this reminder is a reflection of how secure his position is, regardless of whether this year's Premier League and Champions League campaigns yield reward.

"A lot of people reminded me when I came here and signed a four-year contract that in four years we probably would have won something. It didn't happen yet," Klopp conceded ahead of tomorrow's trip to Cardiff. "The position we are now in, I am really happy with. Not that it is the final position we want to be, but the awareness from outside of the club - where we are, second time in Champions League semi-final - that is special.

"It is not where we want to be at the end. We want to improve. Our problem is the other teams do not sleep and have made a lot of good decisions as well."

There was another notable Klopp anniversary this week. Four years ago he announced his departure from Borussia Dortmund.

"It was emotional when the season was finished," he recalled. "When I look back, it was how it should be. If you leave friends you should be a bit sad and emotional, and we were. After four months this wonderful club came."

Objectives

Given Klopp spent seven years at Borussia Dortmund and seven at previous club Mainz, if his Anfield exit is choreographed at the end of his deal in 2022 the most accurate trophy deadline allows three years to meet his objectives.

"Crazy, eh? It looks like a big masterplan," said Klopp. "It should be [enough time]. Look, both sides - the club and myself - have a wonderful commitment that we try everything to make the club as successful as possible. How long it will take I have no clue. The only thing with the seven years is it is pure coincidence. When they offered me a contract I did not say, 'Yeah, that will take me to seven'.

"We still don't feel the pressure. We see and feel it as an opportunity. We have these unbelievably strong opponents. We have to win all our games, which is difficult enough, and on the other side our opponent is Man City.

"That makes life not easy. In the Champions League the situation is the same. We play Barcelona.

"There are not a lot of stronger teams in the world."

If trophies were handed out for global respect, Klopp would already be a serial winner on Merseyside.

Liverpool are a club others want to emulate again, aspirational boardrooms seeing the coaching, playing style and incremental squad investment as a more realistic template than Manchester City's.

Six games remain in Liverpool's season, seven if they make the Champions League final. "We are in it and now we want to win it," said Klopp, eager to meet that deadline.

© The Daily Telegraph

Telegraph.co.uk

The Throw-In: Limerick’s uphill task, Tipp’s ruthlessness and can Cork push on?

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport