Thursday 22 August 2019

Owners want Klopp to build Liverpool's new dynasty

Jurgen Klopp is lifted in celebration by his Liverpool players after their victory in Madrid. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp is lifted in celebration by his Liverpool players after their victory in Madrid. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool's owners want Jurgen Klopp to build an Anfield dynasty after restoring the club to the pinnacle of European football and will be seeking to extend his contract following the club's Champions League triumph.

Klopp joined the list of Kop immortals by securing Liverpool's sixth European Cup, becoming the fourth Anfield manager to win the most coveted trophy in club football.

A city-wide party first postponed after the Europa League final in 2016, then cancelled after the defeat by Real Madrid last year and further delayed after they were pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City, finally hit the town yesterday.

An estimated 500,000 people lined the streets - city planners had anticipated half that - as the open-top bus parade made its way to Liverpool Pier Head where a pyrotechnic show awaited players and fans.

"I don't know exactly how many people live in Liverpool but there's not a lot of space for fans and supporters of other clubs, so it's incredible," said Klopp.

"This team is really doing so well and if you are a young kid which team would you support?" he asked.

"There are not a lot of other options and opportunities apart from Liverpool so it's really nice to see. You see in their eyes how much it means. It's unbelievable and it's so intense. Today, wow. It's crazy.

"I cannot really describe it because I cried a little bit as well because it's so overwhelming what the people are doing," he added.

"When you have a direct eye contact and you see how much it means to them that's touching to be honest. It's brilliant. It's really special."

The owners and directors of Fenway Sports Group were on a bus packed with players, backroom team members and executives, savouring the moment while planning ahead.

The dream is not only for Liverpool to add to their honours, but for Klopp to dedicate the peak of his coaching career to build a new era of dominance.

There is no intention of seeing the win in Estadio Metropolitano as the pinnacle of his Liverpool reign. The prime targets remains the Premier League title he was so close to securing this year.

Although Klopp's deal has three years left to run, that will not stop club owners FSG seeking to prolong their relationship with the manager they consider the best in the world - and certainly the most suited to the Merseyside club.

Alongside Pep Guardiola, the German coach is the most wanted in world football. No vacancy at an elite club can arise without representatives tentatively sounding him out, several having been rebuffed already during his Liverpool reign.

Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona and even Real Madrid would recruit Klopp in a heartbeat given the chance, yet he has never offered a hint of encouragement as he pushes on with the Liverpool renaissance.

Now FSG believe the manager has found the club where he has the freedom, power and resources to compete for the game's biggest honours as much as Liverpool's competitors.

That has been shown in the incremental improvement during his four years in charge, only the mega wealth of Manchester City standing in their way domestically.

Klopp has been a transformative presence since his arrival in 2015, with players, directors and supporters lining up to thank and pay tribute to his skills. Many departments of the club are functioning perfectly at the same time, but Klopp has been the catalyst. So sure of Klopp's credentials were FSG a year into his reign, they awarded him a six-year deal in the summer of 2016.

It was noted at the time that Klopp had completed seven-year stints at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, although he said that was by coincidence rather than design.

Liverpool are desperate to ensure history is not repeated with Klopp moving on in the summer of 2022, when he will have been at Anfield for seven years.

After rebuilding the side in the transfer market, FSG have moved into a period of retention rather than reconstruction. The vast majority of the budget for first-team matters has been allocated on contract renewals, with well over £100m spent to keep Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, among others, out of the clutches of European rivals.

Virgil van Dijk can expect to be added to that list at some point, his value soaring even after becoming the world's most expensive defender in January 2018.

Naturally, the tributes to Jurgen Klopp were heartfelt.

"When the players threw Jurgen in the air after our victory, they were acknowledging what all Liverpool fans know - he is beloved by all who appreciate football," said Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, also the co-managing partner of FSG. "Jurgen is a brilliant coach. But just as importantly, he is a humble and caring man who is happy today because he knows what it means to our supporters."

It was not the typical performance of a Klopp side as they overcame Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid, although the pragmatic approach underlined the growing maturity of the team over the past 12 months.

"We've got more experience and at the same time we're used to playing this type of game. It made it easier," said striker Sadio Mané. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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