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How Jurgen Klopp Is Starting to Build Liverpool 2.0

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportDecember 17, 2019

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 10: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool celebrates victory during the UEFA Champions League group E match between RB Salzburg and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on December 10, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Major rebuilding jobs are currently taking shape across the Premier League, with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all attempting to rise again and compete at the very highest level.

Clubs are chopping and changing managers, with some desperately hoping for a boss who can bring an emotional bond as well as success.

At Liverpool, they are able to take a different route. They already have a man in charge who ticks every box—and he is the man they will be able to trust with the next rebuild.

Senior figures at the club have identified an opportunity to take advantage of the fact so many significant rivals are searching for an identity. As a result, they are giving their own house a remodel.

Last week, the club announced a new contract for manager Jurgen Klopp that extends his stay to 2024. It's a significant moment that will mean the next version of this great Liverpool team will be built by the management staff that envisioned the current project and that has put them on course for a first Premier League title.

Klopp's assistants, Peter Krawietz and Pep Lijnders, are also now signed through 2024. And we are already getting the first signs of how they intend to slowly adapt the squad to ensure the future years of their time on Merseyside are also successful.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Takumi Minamino of Red Bull Salzburg celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 3-2 during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and RB Salzburg at Anfield on October 2, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kin
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

We are heading into transfer season, and while the Reds usually try to steer clear of January business, a deal for Red Bull Salzburg's Takumi Minamino is on the cards. The sudden news of their pursuit, which broke last week, is a good example of how the club go quietly about their transfer negotiations these days.

There was no whisper about this in advance. No sign of what might be possible. In fact, by the time media outlets began reporting on it, Liverpool were in an extremely advanced position.

They are signing him by triggering a £7.25 million transfer clause that no other club was aware of, thanks largely to background work carried out by head of recruitment Dave Fallows.

Deals in January rarely offer good value, and premium quality players are often not available anyway. But sporting director Michael Edwards has been in conversations over Minamino for almost two months, and sources explained to Bleacher Report that his true value is felt to be at least four times the fee Liverpool will pay for him.

It's smart business—and also a nod to the good relationship that exists between RB Salzburg and Liverpool.

The club's new Kirkby training complex has been heavily influenced by Salzburg's state-of-the-art facilities, and staff from Merseyside have made regular visits to help decide on how to shape their new base.

They are spending more than £50 million on the training ground, which is due to fully open ahead of next season.

But the club are also open to spending big money on the squad in 2020, with the budget opening up again after their decision not to spend big last summer.

B/R insiders were cautious about guessing how the money would be spent, but they insisted some exciting names linked to the club—such as Jadon Sancho and Ousmane Dembele—should not be completely dismissed. 

This is because they know that, as part of transforming this exciting team, Klopp and his staff are eventually going to face the difficult task of replacing key players.

They are confident this crop will remain together for the next year—but beyond that it is difficult to know what might happen.

One source suggested to B/R there is a feeling among some staff that Mo Salah is likely to become the first high-profile player to leave this side. It's partly because he is so highly rated by other big clubs in Europe, including Real Madrid, but also because he has such high standards and wants to keep proving himself as one of the best players in the world.  

Liverpool have given themselves a fantastic opportunity to dominate the Premier League by keeping Klopp on board. There had been a feeling he might leave in 2021 and take a sabbatical, but his decision to stay gives them a great chance of keeping this spirit and momentum alive while they plot an eventual successor to their brilliant German coach.

All signs right now point to that man being club legend Steven Gerrard, with many staffers convinced already of his credentials after his time in the Liverpool academy and now with Glasgow Rangers.

But one major downfall of Man United and Arsenal has been the failure to successfully replace Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, so Liverpool are determined to make sure they use this period well and identify a variety of targets for when that time eventually arrives. 

In the meantime, Klopp will continue to recruit cleverly, promote from the academy and manage his big players carefully. The first stage of his reign has been almost perfect—but he still has the chance to make so much more history. 

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