The German has endured a mixed beginning to life at Anfield since taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October, with his side sitting in ninth in the Premier League. And in an interview with Sky Deutschland (h/t Jefferson Lake of Sky Sports), the manager insisted that, with some time, the club can recapture former glories:
I've been here for four months now and I really get the impression that everybody in this club is hungry for success. And despite everybody longing for a very quick success they all are ready to be patient and to invest a certain amount of time that is necessary to gain that success.
So I feel very comfortable over here. It's a special club, a special place. Anfield is a great stadium and you feel the history in every moment. It's an honour and it's great fun and a great adventure to be here.
Looking at the results Klopp has posted since taking over at Liverpool, you would be forgiven for thinking that little progress has been made during his four-month stint.
Indeed, as noted by Adam Crafton of the Daily Mail, in recent weeks the form of this team has left much to be desired, with the majority of wins coming against sides languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League table:
5 wins in last 18 games in all comps for #LFC and Klopp (wins v Exeter, one leg v Stoke in Cap One Cup, Norwich, Sunderland & Leicester)— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) February 9, 2016
However, there are extenuating circumstances to consider. Namely, this is not a group of players that the current boss assembled, the team has suffered with a spate of injuries since Klopp took over, and given the congested calendar, it’ll have been difficult for the manager to implement his principles.
The Reds didn’t go out and spend big to address some of the issues in January either. Klopp also claimed the clout of the top sides in the transfer market makes things difficult for the others.
“Both the Manchester clubs and a few London clubs invest a lot,” he said. “So if you make a few good decisions that doesn't necessarily mean that you make steps ahead on the Premier League table because these clubs are making the right decisions too.”
Liverpool have spent big, though, with high-profile names such as Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Clyne joining in the summer. They also reportedly pursued Alex Teixeira in January, having offered £24.6 million for the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder, per Marcus Christenson of the Guardian; he’s since signed for Jiangsu Suning.
Bleacher Report’s Ryan Bailey feels as though this group of players should be showing more and hinted that Klopp has been let off the hook a little:
Amazing how much benefit of the doubt Jurgen Klopp is getting compared to Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool remain incredibly inconsistent.— Ryan Bailey (@RyanJayBailey) February 2, 2016
Still, the German wasn’t brought in to make a difference in four months. This season will allow him to gauge which members of the playing staff he wants to keep in situ before delving into the summer window; then we’ll be able to offer a fairer judgement on the job being done at Anfield.
Klopp also alluded to the burden placed upon him, given just how significant the football club is in the city of Liverpool itself:
It's a really great club that had much success in the past. Everywhere you go, all around town you'll find special historic and football-related places.
And there are the club legends. Every time you speak in public or go to an event you can be sure there are club legends present. The club is important for the city. Problem is: the last big trophies have been won a few years ago. It's a problem that many great clubs have in the present. You have to deal with that because obviously there are reasons for that.
He also spoke about the importance of conducting yourself in the right way if you want to become a Liverpool icon. “That's the thing with Liverpool—you can't become someone in this club without being a great person.” he said. “For everyone in this club, football is important but they want the whole person.”
Has Klopp lived up to expectations at Liverpool so far?
Results aside, Klopp has done a lot of positive work. Primarily, his vibrant persona has enlivened a fanbase that had slipped into a malaise under the tutelage of Rodgers. At a football club who have made their name on winning big trophies, that’s vital.