Liverpool assistant manager Peter Krawietz has joked Jurgen Klopp’s first four years in charge are “not too bad so far” – and claims the German is well on his way to building a long-lasting legacy at Anfield.
Exactly four years ago Klopp was confirmed as Reds boss, inheriting a team which had lost its way under Brendan Rodgers.
The club were three points off the top four and six behind leaders Manchester City but, over the course of the next 48 months, the German has turned them into a force at home and abroad.
A sixth European Cup was secured in June as Klopp finally triumphed in his fourth final with the Reds, having just guided them to a record-breaking second-place points tally in being pipped to the Premier League title by a point.
Four years on from his arrival Liverpool sit top of the standings, having considerably turned the tables on City having already established an eight-point lead over the defending champions.
At his first press conference, Klopp, promising to change “doubters into believers”, pledged: “If we sit here in four years I think we win a title, I’m pretty sure.”
He has delivered on that with the Champions League triumph and has also put the team in a position to end their 30-year wait for a domestic championship.
But Krawietz insists the progress can be measured in more than trophies.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy, we didn’t expect it would be easy,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“We thought the things we want to invent take a bit of time – a long-term idea – and we’d come somewhere where we’d try to make an impact for the whole club, something that stays for longer even if you are not here any more.
“Something which stays – not only trophies and a good time – and that can go on.
“I would say it’s not too bad so far, a few things worked out pretty well. Today we are where we are and it was a good journey so far.”
There is no likelihood of complacency setting in, however, even if the club are at their highest level since the Rafael Benitez era, another Champions League-winning manager who came up just short in winning the title in 2009.
Four years of Klopp 🤗
Three European finals 📅
One major trophy 🏆
Multiple memorable press conference moments 💬pic.twitter.com/PD8rBq5LXj
— TEAMtalk (@TEAMtalk) October 8, 2019
Klopp has freshened up his long-standing successful coaching triumvirate of him, Krawietz and Zeljko Buvac, with the latter departing in April last year after a fall-out with the German to be replaced by the highly-rated coach Pep Lijnders.
He has also overhauled the squad by a process of evolution not revolution.
In his first transfer window he made just two signings: youngster Marko Grujic for £5.1million, who was immediately loaned back to Red Star Belgrade, and Steven Caulker, who barely featured, on loan.
The likes of Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum arrived the following summer, and 12 months later Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and arguably his best-value buy Andy Robertson (for £8m) were signed.
He suffered his first big-name loss in January 2017 when Philippe Coutinho was lured to Barcelona but that was offset by the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk, at the time the world’s most expensive defender at £75m.
The final pieces of the jigsaw arrived with the £65m signing of goalkeeper Alisson Becker, along with midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho.
Of the squad Klopp inherited those who remain are captain Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Divock Origi, Sheyi Ojo (on loan at Rangers) and Nathaniel Clyne, who has played just 10 times for Liverpool in the last two full seasons and would not still be at the club were he not currently injured.
Virtually all of that group have improved significantly under the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz coach’s stewardship.
“In the best case, people learn and develop,” added Krawietz.
“We changed and developed as well. You should always try to get better, that’s the interesting thing.The game is developing; we try to be inventive.
“Our philosophy, our style of play won’t change too much but the details are always interesting.
“With the energy and the fuel, you need to go on, try to proceed and try to stay successful.”
Get the latest personalised Reds products on our new TEAMtalk Liverpool shop!